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In this time of Covid-19, life in healthcare has changed immeasurably. It has rapidly been injected with an ‘all hands-on deck’ approach, to facilitate the necessary adaptations required to reduce the spread of the virus and deliver frontline clinical care. Inevitably aspects of these changes have disrupted the delivery of medical education, notably clinical placements have been cancelled and social distancing guidelines prohibit face-to-face teaching. The training of future doctors is an essential part of this effort. Indeed, the emergence of a global health threat has underlined its continued importance. For medical educators and students alike, we have been presented with a challenge. Concurrently, this presents us with an impetus and opportunity for innovation. For some time now, a transformation in medical education has been called for, with an increasing recognition of the need to prepare students for the changing landscape of healthcare systems. This has included a focus on the use of technology-enhanced and self-directed learning. As a team of educators and clinicians in psychiatry, working in the School of Medicine and Medical Sciences (SMMS) in University College Dublin (UCD), we will share how we have responded. We outline the adaptations made to our ‘Psychiatry’ module and consider the influence this may have on its future delivery. These changes were informed by direct student input.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects 20–30% of adults with intellectual disability. This group are vulnerable to challenging behaviour and mental health problems.
To explore the extent to which ASD affects challenging behaviour among specialist mental health service users with intellectual disability.
To identify predictors of challenging behaviour among adults who have intellectual disability.
A cross-sectional study of 92 participants from a specialist mental health service for adults with intellectual disability in the UK. The presence/absence of ASD was confirmed using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. Challenging behaviour was assessed using the Developmental Behaviour Checklist (DBC).
Participants with ASD (N=48) had higher total DBC scores than those without ASD (N=44; mean=54.2 vs. 29.2). ASD, severity of intellectual disability, age, presence of psychiatric disorder and total number of needs were entered as independent variables into a linear regression. The model accounted for 51% of the variance and was statistically significant (F(5,91)=18.1, p<0.001). Presence of ASD and total number of needs were the only significant predictors of challenging behaviour. Presence of ASD had the highest standardised coefficient (β=0.56).
Participants with ASD had significantly higher levels of challenging behaviour than those without ASD. Challenging behaviour was also independently associated with total number of needs. Understanding which service users with intellectual disability have higher levels of challenging behaviour than others despite receiving psychiatric treatment, and the extent to which having ASD is a contributing factor, should inform the development of more effective services and lead to improved outcomes.
The provision of support for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) within the community is improving as a consequence of policy and legislative changes. However, specialist services are not currently provided in prisons.
This aim of the study was to determine the extent of ASD and co-occurring mental health problems among prisoners. We tested the hypothesis that ASD traits would be unrecognised by prison staff and would be significantly associated with increased rates of anxiety, depression and suicidality.
ASD traits were measured among 240 prisoners in a resettlement prison in London, UK using the 20-item Autism Quotient (AQ-20). Anxiety, depression and suicidality were assessed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI).
There were 39 participants (16%) with an AQ-20 score ≥10; indicating significant autistic traits. Mental health data were available for 37 ‘high autistic trait’ participants and another 101 prisoners with no/low ASD traits. There was a significant positive association between AQ-20 and suicidality scores (r=.29, p=0.001). Participants with ASD traits had significantly higher suicidality scores (means=15.1 vs. 5, p= 0.001) and chi-square analysis showed that they were more likely to have a high suicidality rating (27% vs. 8%, p=0.003) than those without ASD traits. Moreover, those with ASD were significantly more likely to be experiencing a current episode of depression (30% vs. 6%, p<0.001) or Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) (27% vs. 11% p=0.019).
Our initial data suggests that severity of ASD traits is a risk factor for suicidality and common mental health problems among prisoners.
The role of APOE in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias has been intensively investigated. However APOE in delirium has only recently been investigated in studies with small samples. There is evidence that APOE relates to delirium by one or more of the following pathophysiological mechanism: a) inhibition of inflammation in the CNS during acute illness, with release of inflammatory mediators, b) modification of inflammatory responses in an isoform-specific manner, c) by blocking both nicotine and acetylcholine receptors causing the anticholinergic effect which is assumed in delirium.
A meta-analysis of the published pooled data seems timely to establish any relationship between APOE and delirium, and to determine further direction of research in this topic.
To find out if there is any direct relationship between the APOE epsilon 4 and the occurrence of delirium.
Pubmed, MEDLINE, EBSCOhost and Google Scholar have been searched with the relevant keywords, and from the references of relevant papers. Nine papers were found which examined the relationship between APOE and delirium. Data were extracted from 8 of them and were pooled for meta-analysis using random effects with R software.
Data from 1762 participants showed no heterogeneity (Q=13.55, df:7, p=0.06). The possession of the APOE epsilon 4 allele has a small (OR:1.17, CI:0.77-1.80), non-significant (p=0.45) effect in the presence of delirium.
There is no association between APOE and the occurrence of delirium. Confirmation and clarification in larger studies could have important clinical implications for predicting prognosis and for treatment of delirium.
The thickness of glaciers in High-Mountain Asia (HMA) is critical in determining when the ice reserve will be lost as these glaciers thin but is remarkably poorly known because very few measurements have been made. Through a series of ground-based and airborne field tests, we have adapted a low-frequency ice-penetrating radar developed originally for Antarctic over-snow surveys, for deployment as a helicopter-borne system to increase the number of measurements. The manoeuvrability provided by helicopters and the ability of our system to detect glacier beds through thick, dirty, temperate ice makes it well suited to increase greatly the sample of measurements available for calibrating ice thickness models on the regional and global scale. The Bedmap Himalayas radar-survey system can reduce the uncertainty in present-day ice volumes and therefore in projections of when HMA's river catchments will lose this hydrological buffer against drought.
Clozapine is licensed for treatment-resistant schizophrenia and when clozapine is not able to be used, less evidence based practices may be required. Full remission may require combinations or high doses of psychotropic medications having greater potential for interactions and side effects. If this is not successful, symptoms may persist and long-term disability may occur.
To explore safety and efficacy of a rechallenge of clozapine in a patient with treatment resistant schizoaffective disorder, who previously developed pericardial effusion. Collateral history reported best improvement with clozapine compared to other medications.
To improve level of functioning and reduce need for less evidence based choices of medication.
Initial consultation with clozapine monitoring service over prospects of rechallenge. Full medication history and review. Consultation with a cardiologist regarding validity of local monitoring strategy. Obtain consent from the patient and his family. Titrate clozapine slowly. Once clozapine initiated, measure temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate and monitoring of symptoms of pericarditis including chest pain, cough and dyspnoea daily. ECG and echocardiography at baseline and 2 and 4 weeks after initiation of the rechallenge. ECGs monthly thereafter, with a further echocardiogram at 3 months. Weekly troponin and CRP for three months to monitor developing myocarditis and pericarditis.
Successful rechallenge of clozapine with significant reduction in psychopathology, improvement in functioning and no adverse events reported. Reduction of risk enabled transfer to open ward conditions.
There is increasing evidence of successful rechallenges of clozapine however, further research is necessary to aid such clinical decisions.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
To explore if emotional instability is a useful construct in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID).
The current diagnostic criteria for ASD and ID will be outlined and related to any relevant literature on emotional instability in those with ASD or ID. Recent cross-sectional studies in a clinic and a prison of adults with ASD and/or ID using standardised screening and diagnostic tools will be described.
Current literature indicates there is little research on emotional instability in adults with ASD and ID. Studies across clinic and forensic settings indicate high levels of comorbidity such as attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and mood disorders in adults with ASD and ID.
At present emotional instability as a construct may not have validity for adults with ASD and ID but may do in the context of other comorbid conditions such as ADHD.
Disclosure of interest
The author has not supplied his declaration of competing interest.
Studies of the association between blood BDNF levels and delirium are very few and have yielded mixed results.
To investigate the blood BDNF levels in the occurrence and recovery of delirium.
Prospective, longitudinal study. Participants were assessed twice weekly with MoCA, DRS-R98, APACHE-II. BDNF levels of the same were estimated with ELISA method. Delirium has been define as per DRS-98R (cut-off > 16) and recovery of delirium as at least two consequently assessments without delirium prior to discharge.
No differences in the levels of BDNF between those with delirium and those who never developed it. Excluding those who never developed delirium (n = 140), we analysed the effects of BDNF and the other variables on delirium resolution and recovery. Of the 58 remained with delirium in the subsequently observations (max = 8) some of them continue to be delirious until discharge or death (n = 39) while others recovered (n = 19). BDNF levels and MoCA scores were significantly associated with both delirium cases who became non-delirious (resolution) during the assessments and with overall recovery. BDNF (Wald χ2 = 11.652, df: 1 P = .001), for resolution. For recovery Wald χ2 = 7.155; df: 1, P = .007. No significant association was found for the other variables (APACHE-II, history of dementia, age or gender)
BDNF do not have a direct effect in the occurrence of delirium but for those delirious of whom the levels are increased during the hospitalisation they are more likely to recover from delirium.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Ergothioneine (ERG) is an unusual thio-histidine betaine amino acid that has potent antioxidant activities. It is synthesised by a variety of microbes, especially fungi (including in mushroom fruiting bodies) and actinobacteria, but is not synthesised by plants and animals who acquire it via the soil and their diet, respectively. Animals have evolved a highly selective transporter for it, known as solute carrier family 22, member 4 (SLC22A4) in humans, signifying its importance, and ERG may even have the status of a vitamin. ERG accumulates differentially in various tissues, according to their expression of SLC22A4, favouring those such as erythrocytes that may be subject to oxidative stress. Mushroom or ERG consumption seems to provide significant prevention against oxidative stress in a large variety of systems. ERG seems to have strong cytoprotective status, and its concentration is lowered in a number of chronic inflammatory diseases. It has been passed as safe by regulatory agencies, and may have value as a nutraceutical and antioxidant more generally.
To date, there are no recent studies identifying the prevalence of parasites of human and veterinary importance in dogs and cats in Ireland. The interaction between pets and wildlife species in the environment is an important source of parasite exposure to canids and felines, and one likely to be heightened in the stray animal population. This study aimed to establish the prevalence of endoparasites in unowned dogs and cats in County Dublin, Ireland. Feces from stray dogs (n = 627) and cats (n = 289) entering a rehoming centre were collected immediately after defecation. The main parasitic agents detected were ascarids (15.52 and 30.26%), Cystoisospora (3.27 and 3.69%), Giardia spp. (6.02 and 1.84%) and lungworms (0.64 and 2.08%), in dogs and cats respectively. Animals younger than 3 months of age were more likely to be infected with ascarids (P < 0.001) and Cystoisospora spp. (P = 0.008 and P = 0.014) than older animals. All lungworms were morphologically identified and dogs were infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum (0.48%) and Crenosoma vulpis (0.16%) whereas cats were only infected with Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (2.08%). This represents the first prevalence study of stray animals in Ireland. Data collected will inform the treatment and in addition, the future monitoring and control studies of parasite populations.
Background Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is among the most common psychiatric disorders of childhood that often persists into adulthood and old age. Yet ADHD is currently underdiagnosed and undertreated in many European countries, leading to chronicity of symptoms and impairment, due to lack of, or ineffective treatment, and higher costs of illness.
Methods The European Network Adult ADHD and the Section for Neurodevelopmental Disorders Across the Lifespan (NDAL) of the European Psychiatric Association (EPA), aim to increase awareness and knowledge of adult ADHD in and outside Europe. This Updated European Consensus Statement aims to support clinicians with research evidence and clinical experience from 63 experts of European and other countries in which ADHD in adults is recognized and treated.
Results Besides reviewing the latest research on prevalence, persistence, genetics and neurobiology of ADHD, three major questions are addressed: (1) What is the clinical picture of ADHD in adults? (2) How should ADHD be properly diagnosed in adults? (3) How should adult ADHDbe effectively treated?
Conclusions ADHD often presents as a lifelong impairing condition. The stigma surrounding ADHD, mainly due to lack of knowledge, increases the suffering of patients. Education on the lifespan perspective, diagnostic assessment, and treatment of ADHD must increase for students of general and mental health, and for psychiatry professionals. Instruments for screening and diagnosis of ADHD in adults are available, as are effective evidence-based treatments for ADHD and its negative outcomes. More research is needed on gender differences, and in older adults with ADHD.
To investigate the uptake of and attitudes towards a voluntary government-led energy (calorie) menu labelling initiative in Ireland among a representative sample of food-service businesses and to inform further actions that may need to be undertaken to facilitate successful implementation.
A mixed-methods approach, incorporating a national telephone survey, structured observation visits and semi-structured interviews.
Twenty-six counties in the Republic of Ireland.
A random selection of food-service businesses (n 604) participated in the telephone survey. Businesses which indicated that they did display calories were selected to participate in structured observation visits (n 42), along with a random sample (n 38) of businesses that did not display calories. A purposive sample of thirteen food-service business owners who participated in the telephone survey participated in semi-structured interviews.
In the telephone survey, 7 % (n 42) of food businesses reported displaying calories and the observation visits revealed that of these businesses, 10 % (n 4) were not displaying calorie information. Three major themes emerged from the semi-structured interviews: uncertainty, impact on business and consumer nutrition knowledge. Participants expressed concerns regarding inaccuracies in the calorie information, cost and time implications, mistrust in the food-service industry and poor nutritional knowledge among consumers. These concerns impeded the implementing of calorie menu labelling.
A multifactorial approach that incorporates guidance and support (training/tax incentives), practical assistance (user-friendly calorie calculation software), a reasonable legislative structure and a standardised monitoring system is needed to facilitate the successful implementation of calorie menu labelling.
Silicon carbide together with amorphous carbon are the main components of dust grains in the atmospheres of C-rich AGB stars. Small gaseous Si-C bearing molecules (such as SiC, SiCSi, and SiC2) are efficiently formed close to the stellar photosphere. They likely condense onto dust seeds owing to their highly refractory nature at the lower temperatures (i.e., below about 2500 K) in the dust growth zone which extends a few stellar radii from the photosphere. Beyond this region, the abundances of Si-C bearing molecules are expected to decrease until they are eventually reformed in the outer shells of the circumstellar envelope, owing to the interaction between the gas and the interstellar UV radiation field. Our goal is to understand the time-dependent chemical evolution of Si-C bond carriers probed by molecular spectral line emission in the circumstellar envelope of IRC+10216 at millimeter wavelengths.