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Little is known about the prevalence of mental health outcomes in UK personnel at the end of the British involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
We examined the prevalence of mental disorders and alcohol misuse, whether this differed between serving and ex-serving regular personnel and by deployment status.
This is the third phase of a military cohort study (2014–2016; n = 8093). The sample was based on participants from previous phases (2004–2006 and 2007–2009) and a new randomly selected sample of those who had joined the UK armed forces since 2009.
The prevalence was 6.2% for probable post-traumatic stress disorder, 21.9% for common mental disorders and 10.0% for alcohol misuse. Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan and a combat role during deployment were associated with significantly worse mental health outcomes and alcohol misuse in ex-serving regular personnel but not in currently serving regular personnel.
The findings highlight an increasing prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder and a lowering prevalence of alcohol misuse compared with our previous findings and stresses the importance of continued surveillance during service and beyond.
Declaration of interest:
All authors are based at King's College London which, for the purpose of this study and other military-related studies, receives funding from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). S.A.M.S., M.J., L.H., D.P., S.M. and R.J.R. salaries were totally or partially paid by the UK MoD. The UK MoD provides support to the Academic Department of Military Mental Health, and the salaries of N.J., N.G. and N.T.F. are covered totally or partly by this contribution. D.Mu. is employed by Combat Stress, a national UK charity that provides clinical mental health services to veterans. D.MacM. is the lead consultant for an NHS Veteran Mental Health Service. N.G. is the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Lead for Military and Veterans’ Health, a trustee of Walking with the Wounded, and an independent director at the Forces in Mind Trust; however, he was not directed by these organisations in any way in relation to his contribution to this paper. N.J. is a full-time member of the armed forces seconded to King's College London. N.T.F. reports grants from the US Department of Defense and the UK MoD, is a trustee (unpaid) of The Warrior Programme and an independent advisor to the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD). S.W. is a trustee (unpaid) of Combat Stress and Honorary Civilian Consultant Advisor in Psychiatry for the British Army (unpaid). S.W. is affiliated to the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King's College London in partnership with Public Health England, in collaboration with the University of East Anglia and Newcastle University. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the National Health Service, the NIHR, the Department of Health, Public Health England or the UK MoD.
This study examined the effectiveness of a formal postdoctoral education program designed to teach skills in clinical and translational science, using scholar publication rates as a measure of research productivity.
Participants included 70 clinical fellows who were admitted to a master’s or certificate training program in clinical and translational science from 1999 to 2015 and 70 matched control peers. The primary outcomes were the number of publications 5 years post-fellowship matriculation and time to publishing 15 peer-reviewed manuscripts post-matriculation.
Clinical and translational science program graduates published significantly more peer-reviewed manuscripts at 5 years post-matriculation (median 8 vs 5, p=0.041) and had a faster time to publication of 15 peer-reviewed manuscripts (matched hazard ratio = 2.91, p=0.002). Additionally, program graduates’ publications yielded a significantly higher average H-index (11 vs. 7, p=0.013).
These findings support the effectiveness of formal training programs in clinical and translational science by increasing academic productivity.
The unique phenotypic and genetic aspects of obsessive-compulsive (OCD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among individuals with Tourette syndrome (TS) are not well characterized. Here, we examine symptom patterns and heritability of OCD and ADHD in TS families.
OCD and ADHD symptom patterns were examined in TS patients and their family members (N = 3494) using exploratory factor analyses (EFA) for OCD and ADHD symptoms separately, followed by latent class analyses (LCA) of the resulting OCD and ADHD factor sum scores jointly; heritability and clinical relevance of the resulting factors and classes were assessed.
EFA yielded a 2-factor model for ADHD and an 8-factor model for OCD. Both ADHD factors (inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms) were genetically related to TS, ADHD, and OCD. The doubts, contamination, need for sameness, and superstitions factors were genetically related to OCD, but not ADHD or TS; symmetry/exactness and fear-of-harm were associated with TS and OCD while hoarding was associated with ADHD and OCD. In contrast, aggressive urges were genetically associated with TS, OCD, and ADHD. LCA revealed a three-class solution: few OCD/ADHD symptoms (LC1), OCD & ADHD symptoms (LC2), and symmetry/exactness, hoarding, and ADHD symptoms (LC3). LC2 had the highest psychiatric comorbidity rates (⩾50% for all disorders).
Symmetry/exactness, aggressive urges, fear-of-harm, and hoarding show complex genetic relationships with TS, OCD, and ADHD, and, rather than being specific subtypes of OCD, transcend traditional diagnostic boundaries, perhaps representing an underlying vulnerability (e.g. failure of top-down cognitive control) common to all three disorders.
A recent quantitative review in the area of stigma and help seeking in the armed forces has questioned the association between these factors (Sharp et al. 2015). To date, the contribution of qualitative literature in this area has largely been ignored, despite the value this research brings to the understanding of complex social constructs such as stigma. The aim of the current systematic review of qualitative studies was to identify appropriate literature, assess the quality and synthesize findings across studies regarding evidence of stigma-related barriers and facilitators to help seeking for mental health issues within the armed forces. A multi-database text word search incorporating searches of PsycINFO, MEDLINE, Social Policy and Practice, Social Work Abstracts, EMBASE, ERIC and EBM Review databases between 1980 and April 2015 was conducted. Literature was quality assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool. Thematic synthesis was conducted across the literature. The review identified eight studies with 1012 participants meeting the inclusion criteria. Five overarching themes were identified across the literature: (1) non-disclosure; (2) individual beliefs about mental health; (3) anticipated and personal experience of stigma; (4) career concerns; and (5) factors influencing stigma. The findings from the current systematic review found that unlike inconsistent findings in the quantitative literature, there was substantial evidence of a negative relationship between stigma and help seeking for mental health difficulties within the armed forces. The study advocates for refinement of measures to accurately capture the complexity of stigma and help seeking in future quantitative studies.
Because individuals develop dementia as a manifestation of neurodegenerative or neurovascular disorder, there is a need to develop reliable approaches to their identification. We are undertaking an observational study (Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative [ONDRI]) that includes genomics, neuroimaging, and assessments of cognition as well as language, speech, gait, retinal imaging, and eye tracking. Disorders studied include Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and vascular cognitive impairment. Data from ONDRI will be collected into the Brain-CODE database to facilitate correlative analysis. ONDRI will provide a repertoire of endophenotyped individuals that will be a unique, publicly available resource.
Accidental hypothermia can lead to untoward cardiac manifestations and arrest. This report presents a case series of severe accidental hypothermia with cardiac complications in three emergency patients who were treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and survived after re-warming. The aim of this discussion was to encourage more clinicians to consider ECMO as a re-warming therapy for severe hypothermia with circulatory collapse and to prompt discussion about decreasing the barriers to its use.
NiehausMT, PechulisRM, WuJK, FreiS, HongJJ, SandhuRS, GreenbergMR. Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) for Hypothermic Cardiac Deterioration: A Case Series. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016;31(5):570–571.
Background: Menkes disease is a rare, X-linked recessive disorder of the ATP7A gene, a copper transporter; resulting in systemic copper deficiency. The deficient function of copper-dependent enzymes manifests clinically with failure to thrive, seizures, hypotonia, coarse hair, connective tissue abnormalities, and neurodegeneration. Cerebral arteries are often elongated, tortuous, and fragile. Methods: This case report was prepared using the patient’s hospital chart, and a review of the literature undertaken using PubMed. Our case was subsequently compared and contrasted to known Menkes’ literature. Results: We present the case of a 2 month old male with Menkes disease who presented with new seizure onset in the setting of a Grade III intraventricular hemorrhage with hydrocephalus. He deteriorated into status epilepticus, and palliative care was instituted. On autopsy, pronounced tortuosity of his cerebral vasculature was noted, as well as a bilaterally cystic brain with an organizing hemorrhage on the ventral surface of the brainstem. Conclusions: Although Menkes disease often presents with seizures, neurologic deterioration, and abnormal cerebral vasculature; the quick demise subsequent to an intraventricular hemorrhage is somewhat unusual and discussed.
Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 became the predominant circulating strain in the United States during the 2013–2014 influenza season. Little is known about the epidemiology of severe influenza during this season.
A retrospective cohort study of severely ill patients with influenza infection in intensive care units in 33 US hospitals from September 1, 2013, through April 1, 2014, was conducted to determine risk factors for mortality present on intensive care unit admission and to describe patient characteristics, spectrum of disease, management, and outcomes.
A total of 444 adults and 63 children were admitted to an intensive care unit in a study hospital; 93 adults (20.9%) and 4 children (6.3%) died. By logistic regression analysis, the following factors were significantly associated with mortality among adult patients: older age (>65 years, odds ratio, 3.1 [95% CI, 1.4–6.9], P=.006 and 50–64 years, 2.5 [1.3–4.9], P=.007; reference age 18–49 years), male sex (1.9 [1.1–3.3], P=.031), history of malignant tumor with chemotherapy administered within the prior 6 months (12.1 [3.9–37.0], P<.001), and a higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (for each increase by 1 in score, 1.3 [1.2–1.4], P<.001).
Risk factors for death among US patients with severe influenza during the 2013–2014 season, when influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 was the predominant circulating strain type, shifted in the first postpandemic season in which it predominated toward those of a more typical epidemic influenza season.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1251–1260
Although the military is considered to be a stressful occupation, there are remarkably few studies that compare the prevalence of common mental disorder (CMD) between the military and the general population. This study examined the prevalence of probable CMD in a serving UK military sample compared to a general population sample of employed individuals.
Data for the general population was from the 2003 and 2008 collections for the Health Survey for England (HSE) and for the serving military from phases 1 (2004–2006) and 2 (2007–2009) of the King's Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) cohort study. Probable CMD was assessed by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). The datasets were appended to calculate the odds of CMD in the military compared to the general population.
The odds of probable CMD was approximately double in the military, when comparing phase 1 of the military study to the 2003 HSE [odds ratio (OR) 2.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1–2.7], and phase 2 to the 2008 HSE (OR 2.3, 95% CI 2.0–2.6) after adjustment for sex, age, social class, education and marital status.
Serving military personnel are more likely to endorse symptoms of CMD compared to those selected from a general population study as employed in other occupations, even after accounting for demographic characteristics. This difference may be partly explained by the context of the military study, with evidence from previous research for higher reports of symptoms from the GHQ in occupational compared to population studies, in addition to the role of predisposing characteristics.
To examine the use of vitamin D supplements during infancy among the participants in an international infant feeding trial.
Information about vitamin D supplementation was collected through a validated FFQ at the age of 2 weeks and monthly between the ages of 1 month and 6 months.
Infants (n 2159) with a biological family member affected by type 1 diabetes and with increased human leucocyte antigen-conferred susceptibility to type 1 diabetes from twelve European countries, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Daily use of vitamin D supplements was common during the first 6 months of life in Northern and Central Europe (>80 % of the infants), with somewhat lower rates observed in Southern Europe (>60 %). In Canada, vitamin D supplementation was more common among exclusively breast-fed than other infants (e.g. 71 % v. 44 % at 6 months of age). Less than 2 % of infants in the USA and Australia received any vitamin D supplementation. Higher gestational age, older maternal age and longer maternal education were study-wide associated with greater use of vitamin D supplements.
Most of the infants received vitamin D supplements during the first 6 months of life in the European countries, whereas in Canada only half and in the USA and Australia very few were given supplementation.
Experts have proposed removing obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) from the anxiety disorders section and grouping it with putatively related conditions in DSM-5. The current study uses co-morbidity and familiality data to inform these issues.
Case family data from the OCD Collaborative Genetics Study (382 OCD-affected probands and 974 of their first-degree relatives) were compared with control family data from the Johns Hopkins OCD Family Study (73 non-OCD-affected probands and 233 of their first-degree relatives).
Anxiety disorders (especially agoraphobia and generalized anxiety disorder), cluster C personality disorders (especially obsessive–compulsive and avoidant), tic disorders, somatoform disorders (hypochondriasis and body dysmorphic disorder), grooming disorders (especially trichotillomania and pathological skin picking) and mood disorders (especially unipolar depressive disorders) were more common in case than control probands; however, the prevalences of eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia nervosa), other impulse-control disorders (pathological gambling, pyromania, kleptomania) and substance dependence (alcohol or drug) did not differ between the groups. The same general pattern was evident in relatives of case versus control probands. Results in relatives did not differ markedly when adjusted for demographic variables and proband diagnosis of the same disorder, though the strength of associations was lower when adjusted for OCD in relatives. Nevertheless, several anxiety, depressive and putative OCD-related conditions remained significantly more common in case than control relatives when adjusting for all of these variables simultaneously.
On the basis of co-morbidity and familiality, OCD appears related both to anxiety disorders and to some conditions currently classified in other sections of DSM-IV.