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Individuals with schizophrenia have deficits in social cognition that are associated with poor functional outcome. Unfortunately, current treatments result in only modest improvement in social cognition. Oxytocin, a neuropeptide with pro-social effects, has significant benefits for social cognition in the general population. However, studies examining the efficacy of oxytocin in schizophrenia have yielded inconsistent results. One reason for inconsistency may be that oxytocin has typically not been combined with psychosocial interventions. It may be necessary for individuals with schizophrenia to receive concurrent psychosocial treatment while taking oxytocin to have the context needed to make gains in social cognitive skills.
The current study tested this hypothesis in a 24-week (48 session) double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that combined oxytocin and Cognitive-Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST), which included elements from Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT). Participants included 62 outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia (placebo n = 31; oxytocin n = 31) who received 36 IU BID, with supervised administration 45 min prior to sessions on CBSST group therapy days. Participants completed a battery of measures administered at 0, 12, and 24 weeks that assessed social cognition.
CBSST generally failed to enhance social cognition from baseline to end of study, and there was no additive benefit of oxytocin beyond the effects of CBSST alone.
Findings suggest that combined CBSST and oxytocin had minimal benefit for social cognition, adding to the growing literature indicating null effects of oxytocin in multi-dose trials. Methodological and biological factors may contribute to inconsistent results across studies.
Antineuronal antibodies are associated with psychosis, although their clinical significance in first episode of psychosis (FEP) is undetermined.
To examine all patients admitted for treatment of FEP for antineuronal antibodies and describe clinical presentations and treatment outcomes in those who were antibody positive.
Individuals admitted for FEP to six mental health units in Queensland, Australia, were prospectively tested for serum antineuronal antibodies. Antibody-positive patients were referred for neurological and immunological assessment and therapy.
Of 113 consenting participants, six had antineuronal antibodies (anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antibodies [n = 4], voltage-gated potassium channel antibodies [n = 1] and antibodies against uncharacterised antigen [n = 1]). Five received immunotherapy, which prompted resolution of psychosis in four.
A small subgroup of patients admitted to hospital with FEP have antineuronal antibodies detectable in serum and are responsive to immunotherapy. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical to optimise recovery.
Volumetric atrophy and microstructural alterations in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures of the hippocampus have been reported in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, no study to date has jointly investigated concomitant microstructural and volumetric changes of the hippocampus in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
A total of 84 subjects (23 MCI, 17 DLB, 14 AD, and 30 healthy controls) were recruited for a multi-modal imaging (3T MRI and DTI) study that included neuropsychological evaluation. Freesurfer was used to segment the total hippocampus and delineate its subfields. The hippocampal segmentations were co-registered to the mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) maps obtained from the DTI images.
Both AD and MCI groups showed significantly smaller hippocampal volumes compared to DLB and controls, predominantly in the CA1 and subiculum subfields. Compared to controls, hippocampal MD was elevated in AD, but not in MCI. DLB was characterized by both volumetric and microstructural preservation of the hippocampus. In MCI, higher hippocampal MD was associated with greater atrophy of the hippocampus and CA1 region. Hippocampal volume was a stronger predictor of memory scores compared to MD within the MCI group.
Through a multi-modal integration, we report novel evidence that the hippocampus in DLB is characterized by both macrostructural and microstructural preservation. Contrary to recent suggestions, our findings do not support the view that DTI measurements of the hippocampus are superior to volumetric changes in characterizing group differences, particularly between MCI and controls.
We studied neuroinflammation in individuals with late-life, depression, as a
risk factor for dementia, using [11C]PK11195 positron emission
tomography (PET). Five older participants with major depression and 13
controls underwent PET and multimodal 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
with blood taken to measure C-reactive protein (CRP). We found significantly
higher CRP levels in those with late-life depression and raised
[11C]PK11195 binding compared with controls in brain regions
associated with depression, including subgenual anterior cingulate cortex,
and significant hippocampal subfield atrophy in cornu ammonis 1 and
subiculum. Our findings suggest neuroinflammation requires further
investigation in late-life depression, both as a possible aetiological
factor and a potential therapeutic target.
This qualitative study describes expectations, concerns, and needs regarding long-term care (LTC) homes and home care services of 12 older lesbian and gay couples living in Canada. Our findings reflect four major themes: discrimination, identity, expenditure of energy, and nuanced care. Discrimination involved concerns about covert discrimination; loss of social buffers as one ages; and diminished ability to advocate for oneself and one’s partner. Identity involved anticipated risk over disclosing one’s sexual identity; the importance of being identified within a coupled relationship; and the importance of access to reference groups of other gay seniors. We conclude that partners were burdened by the emotional effort expended to hide parts of their identity, assess their environments for discrimination, and to placate others. Nuanced care involved a mutual level of comfort experienced by participants and their health care providers. These themes inform understandings of LTC homes and home care services for lesbian and gay older couples.
Background: A definitive diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), as distinct from a clinically isolated syndrome, requires one of two conditions: a second clinical attack or particular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings as defined by the McDonald criteria. MRI is also important after a diagnosis is made as a means of monitoring subclinical disease activity. While a standardized protocol for diagnostic and follow-up MRI has been developed by the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centres, acceptance and implementation in Canada have been suboptimal. Methods: To improve diagnosis, monitoring, and management of a clinically isolated syndrome and MS, a Canadian expert panel created consensus recommendations about the appropriate application of the 2010 McDonald criteria in routine practice, strategies to improve adherence to the standardized Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centres MRI protocol, and methods for ensuring effective communication among health care practitioners, in particular referring physicians, neurologists, and radiologists. Results: This article presents eight consensus statements developed by the expert panel, along with the rationale underlying the recommendations and commentaries on how to prioritize resource use within the Canadian healthcare system. Conclusions: The expert panel calls on neurologists and radiologists in Canada to incorporate the McDonald criteria, the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centres MRI protocol, and other guidance given in this consensus presentation into their practices. By improving communication and general awareness of best practices for MRI use in MS diagnosis and monitoring, we can improve patient care across Canada by providing timely diagnosis, informed management decisions, and better continuity of care.
The Cambridge Handbook of Applied Perception Research covers core areas of research in perception with an emphasis on its application to real-world environments. Topics include multisensory processing of information, time perception, sustained attention, and signal detection, as well as pedagogical issues surrounding the training of applied perception researchers. In addition to familiar topics, such as perceptual learning, the Handbook focuses on emerging areas of importance, such as human-robot coordination, haptic interfaces, and issues facing societies in the twenty-first century (such as terrorism and threat detection, medical errors, and the broader implications of automation). Organized into sections representing major areas of theoretical and practical importance for the application of perception psychology to human performance and the design and operation of human-technology interdependence, it also addresses the challenges to basic research, including the problem of quantifying information, defining cognitive resources, and theoretical advances in the nature of attention and perceptual processes.