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The objective was to examine the prospective relationship between folate and vitamin B12 (B12) status and incident depressive symptoms in a representative cohort of community-dwelling older people. This was a longitudinal study utilising the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging (n =3,849 aged ≥50 years) and investigated the relationship between blood plasma folate and B12 levels at baseline (wave 1) and incident depressive symptoms at 2 and 4 years (waves 2 and 3). Participants with depression at wave 1 were excluded. A score ≥9 on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale-8 at wave 2 or 3 was indicative of incident depressive symptoms. Plasma B12 and folate concentrations were determined by microbiological assay. B12 status profiles (pmol/l) were defined as: <185, deficient-low; 185 - <258, low normal; >258 - 601, normal and >601 high. Folate status profiles (nmol/l) were defined as: ≤10.0, deficient-low; >10 - 23.0, low normal; >23.0 - 45.0, normal; >45.0, high. Logistic regression models reporting odds ratios were used to analyse the longitudinal association of B-vitamin categories with incident depression. Both B12 and folate plasma concentrations were lower in the group with incident depressive symptoms vs. non depressed (folate: 21.4 vs. 25.1 nmol/L; P=0.0003); (B12: 315.7 vs. 335.9 pmol/L; P=0.0148). Regression models demonstrated that participants with deficient-low B12 status at baseline had a significantly higher likelihood of incident depression four years later (odds ratio 1.51, 95% CI 1.01-2.27, P=0.043). This finding remained robust after controlling for relevant covariates including physical activity, chronic disease burden, vitamin D status. cardiovascular disease and antidepressant use. No associations of folate status with incident depression were observed. Older adults with deficient-low B12 status had a 51% increased likelihood of developing depressive symptoms over 4 years. Given the high rates of B12 deficiency, these findings are important and highlight the need to further explore the low cost benefits of optimising vitamin B12 status for depression in older adults.
Human toxocariasis is a neglected tropical disease, which is actually global in distribution and has a significant impact on global public health. The infection can lead to several serious conditions in humans, including allergic, ophthalmic and neurological disorders such as epilepsy. It is caused by the common roundworm species Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati, with humans becoming accidentally infected via the ingestion of eggs or larvae. Toxocara eggs are deposited on the ground when infected dogs, cats and foxes defecate, with the eggs contaminating crops, grazing pastures, and subsequently food animals. However, transmission of Toxocara to humans via food consumption has received relatively little attention in the literature. To establish the risks that contaminated food poses to the public, a renewed research focus is required. This review discusses what is currently known about food-borne Toxocara transmission, highlighting the gaps in our understanding that require further attention, and outlining some potential preventative strategies which could be employed to safeguard consumer health.
People living with dementia (PLWD) in residential aged care homes (RACHs) are frequently prescribed psychotropic medications due to the high prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms, also known as behaviors and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). However, the gold standard to support BPSD is using psychosocial/non-pharmacological therapies.
This study aims to describe and evaluate services and neuropsychiatric outcomes associated with the provision of psychosocial person-centered care interventions delivered by national multidisciplinary dementia-specific behavior support programs.
A 2-year retrospective pre-post study with a single-arm analysis was conducted on BPSD referrals received from Australian RACHs to the two Dementia Support Australia (DSA) programs, the Dementia Behavior Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) and the Severe Behavior Response Teams (SBRT). Neuropsychiatric outcomes were measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) total scores and total distress scores. The questionnaire version “NPI-Q” was administered for DBMAS referrals whereas the nursing home version “NPI-NH” was administered for SBRT referrals. Linear mixed effects models were used for analysis, with time, baseline score, age, sex, and case length as predictors. Clinical significance was measured using Cohen’s effect size (d; ≥0.3), the mean change score (MCS; 3 points for the NPI-Q and 4 points for the NPI-NH) and the mean percent change (MPC; ≥30%) in NPI parameters.
A total of 5,914 referrals (55.9% female, age 82.3 ± 8.6 y) from 1,996 RACHs were eligible for analysis. The most common types of dementia were Alzheimer’s disease (37.4%) and vascular dementia (11.7%). The average case length in DSA programs was 57.2 ± 26.3 days. The NPI scores were significantly reduced as a result of DSA programs, independent of covariates. There were significant reductions in total NPI scores as a result of the DBMAS (61.4%) and SBRT (74.3%) programs. For NPI distress scores, there were 66.5% and 69.1% reductions from baseline for the DBMAS and SBRT programs, respectively. All metrics (d, MCS, MPC) were above the threshold set for determining a clinically significant effect.
Multimodal psychosocial interventions delivered by DSA programs are clinically effective as demonstrated by positive referral outcomes, such as improved BPSD and related caregiver distress.
Hallucinations and delusions that occur in the absence of a psychotic disorder are common in children and adolescents. Longitudinal phenomenological studies exploring these experiences are notably lacking. The objective of the current paper was to explore the phenomenology and characteristics of hallucinations and delusions from early adolescence to early adulthood.
Participants were 17 young people aged 18–21 years from the general population, all of whom had a history of childhood hallucinations and/or delusions. Longitudinal data on the phenomenological characteristics and attributions of reported hallucinatory and delusional phenomena spanning nine years were explored using content analysis.
Hallucinatory and delusional phenomena were transient for two-thirds of the sample. The remaining one-third reported reoccurring hallucinatory and delusional phenomena into early adulthood. In those, two typologies were identified: (1) Paranormal typology and (2) Pathological typology. The former was characterised by hallucinatory and delusional phenomena that were exclusively grounded in subcultural paranormal or spiritual belief systems and not a source of distress. The latter was characterised by delusion-like beliefs that were enmeshed with individuals’ mood states and a source of distress. The perceived source, the subcultural context and how young people appraised and integrated their experiences differentiated the Paranormal and Pathological typologies.
Not all hallucinatory and delusion-like experiences are psychotic-like in nature. To reliably differentiate between pathological and non-pathological hallucinations and delusions, assessments need to explore factors including the phenomenology of individuals’ experiences, how people make sense and appraise them, and the subcultural contexts within which they are experienced.
Abnormal body mass index (BMI) has been associated with development of psychopathology. This association in children is well documented, for both overweight and underweight children. However, the association between change in BMI and the development of psychopathology has been less investigated.
To investigate the association between change in BMI between childhood and adolescence and psychopathology in adolescence.
Data from the Growing Up in Ireland cohort were used. We investigated the ’98 cohort (also known as the child cohort) at age 9/13. BMI, defined using internationally recognised definitions as underweight, healthy or overweight, was used as the exposure, and abnormal Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire scores were used as the outcome. Logistic regression was undertaken for the analysis. All analyses were adjusted for confounders.
A change to overweight from healthy BMI was significantly associated with increased risk of psychopathology (adjusted OR 1.66; 95% CI 1.19–2.32). Both change from underweight to healthy (adjusted OR 0.12; 95% CI 0.03–0.43) or from overweight to healthy (adjusted OR 0.47; 95% CI 0.79–0.8) was associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing psychopathology.
As a child’s BMI returns to within the healthy range, their risk of adolescent psychopathology is reduced. Interventions to restore healthy BMI, in both underweight and overweight, children may reduce their risk of adolescent psychopathology.
Often referred to as psychotic experiences, unusual perceptual experiences, thoughts and beliefs (UPTBs) are not uncommon in youth populations. Phenomenological studies of these experiences are lacking. This study aimed to (1) describe the phenomenological characteristics of UPTBs in a sample of young adolescents and (2) explore how young people made sense of those experiences.
Participants were 53 young people aged 11–13 years from a population-based study of mental health. All met criteria for UPTBs following clinical interviews as part of the study. Documentary data on UPTBs in the form of transcribed notes, recorded during clinical interviews, were analysed using content analysis. Data on UPTBs were coded, organised into categorical themes and quantified using descriptive statistics. Qualitative themes on how participants made sense of their experiences were identified.
Participants reported UPTBs across four domains: auditory verbal, auditory non-verbal, non-auditory perceptual experiences and unusual thoughts and beliefs. UPTBs were phenomenologically rich and diverse. Young people sought to make sense of their experiences in multiple ways: normalising them, externalising them by attributing them to paranormal entities and distancing them from psychiatric explanations. Uncertainty about the source of UPTBs was identified as a superordinate theme.
Findings from this study offer new insights into the phenomenological qualities and characteristics of UPTBs in young adolescents. They also reveal that early adolescents may not make sense of their experiences within a psychiatric framework. These findings highlight the need to develop a more phenomenologically sensitive and nuanced approach to studying UPTBs in young people.
Introduction: Emergency care serves as an important health resource for First Nations (FN) persons. Previous reporting shows that FN persons visit emergency departments at almost double the rate of non-FN persons. Working collaboratively with FN partners, academic researchers and health authority staff, the objective of this study is to investigate FN emergency care patient visit statistics in Alberta over a five year period. Methods: Through a population-based retrospective cohort study for the period from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2017, patient demographics and emergency care visit characteristics for status FN patients in Alberta were analyzed and compared to non-FN statistics. Frequencies and percentages (%) describe patients and visits by categorical variables (e.g., Canadian Triage Acuity Scale (CTAS)). Means and standard deviations (medians and interquartile ranges (IQR)) describe continuous variables (e.g., distances) as appropriate for the data distribution. These descriptions are repeated for the FN and non-FN populations, separately. Results: The data set contains 11,686,288 emergency facility visits by 3,024,491 unique persons. FN people make up 4.8% of unique patients and 9.4% of emergency care visits. FN persons live further from emergency facilities than their non-FN counterparts (FN median 6 km, IQR 1-24; vs. non-FN median 4 km, IQR 2-8). FN visits arrive more often by ground ambulance (15.3% vs. 10%). FN visits are more commonly triaged as less acute (59% CTAS levels 4 and 5, compared to non-FN 50.4%). More FN visits end in leaving without completing treatment (6.7% vs. 3.6%). FN visits are more often in the evening – 4:01pm to 12:00am (43.6% vs. 38.1%). Conclusion: In a collaborative validation session, FN Elders and health directors contextualized emergency care presentation in evenings and receiving less acute triage scores as related to difficulties accessing primary care. They explained presentation in evenings, arrival by ambulance, and leaving without completing treatment in terms of issues accessing transport to and from emergency facilities. Many factors interact to determine FN patients’ emergency care visit characteristics and outcomes. Further research needs to separate the impact of FN identity from factors such as reasons for visiting emergency facilities, distance traveled to care, and the size of facility where care is provided.
Facial expression is an independent and objective marker of affect. Basic emotions (fear, sadness, joy, anger, disgust and surprise) have been shown to be universal across human cultures. Techniques such as the Facial Action Coding System can capture emotion with good reliability. Such techniques visually process the changes in different assemblies of facial muscles that produce the facial expression of affect.
Recent groundbreaking advances in computing and facial expression analysis software now allow real-time and objective measurement of emotional states. In particular, a recently developed software package and equipment, the Imotion Attention Tool™, allows capturing information on discreet emotional states based on facial expressions while a subject is participating in a behavioural task.
Extending preliminary work by further experimentation and analysis, the present findings suggests a link between facial affect data to already established peripheral arousal measures such as event related potentials (ERP), heart rate variability (HRV) and galvanic skin response (GSR) using disruptively innovative, noninvasive and clinically applicable technology in patients reporting suicidal ideation and intent compared to controls. Our results hold promise for the establishment of a computerized diagnostic battery that can be utilized by clinicians to improve the evaluation of suicide risk.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Cognitive impairment impacts on patient outcomes  but is under-recognised in acute hospitals . Data on rates and degree of impairment among hospital inpatients remain sparse. This information is vital for strategic planning of health services as the European population ages.
To examine the rates and degree of cognitive impairment among patients aged 65 and older who were admitted to an acute general hospital and to assess its impact on patient outcomes.
All patients aged over 65 who were admitted over a 2-week period were invited to participate. Those who met the inclusion criteria were screened for delirium then underwent a cognitive screening battery. Normative values for age and level of education were obtained from the TILDA study . Demographic and outcome data were obtained from medical records.
One hundred and forty-eight patients underwent cognitive screening. Thirty-nine over 148 (26%) met the DSM-IV criteria for dementia of whom only 16 (41%) had a previously-documented impairment. Thirty over 148 (20%) had evidence of cognitive impairment that did not meet criteria for dementia, only 3 (10%) of whom were previously documented. Seventy-three over 148 (49%) were normal. Six over 148 (4%) were not classifiable. The impact of cognitive status on length of hospital stay, number of readmissions in 6 months and discharge destination was investigated. Impact on length of stay was significant (P = 0.017) but significance was not achieved against number of readmissions or discharge destination.
Cognitive impairment is pervasive and under-recognised in the acute hospital and impacts on length of hospital stay. Longer interval analysis is necessary to investigate further implications.
References 1–3 available upon request.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Psychotic experiences (PEs) are reported by a significant minority of adolescents and are associated with the development of psychiatric disorders. The aims of this study were to examine associations between PEs and a range of factors including psychopathology, adversity and lifestyle, and to investigate mediating effects of coping style and parental support on associations between adversity and PEs in a general population adolescent sample.
Cross-sectional data were drawn from the Irish centre of the Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe study. Students completed a self-report questionnaire and 973 adolescents, of whom 522 (53.6%) were boys, participated. PEs were assessed using the 7-item Adolescent Psychotic Symptom Screener.
Of the total sample, 81 (8.7%) of the sample were found to be at risk of PEs. In multivariate analysis, associations were found between PEs and number of adverse events reported (OR 4.48, CI 1.41–14.25; p < 0.011), maladaptive/pathological internet use (OR 2.70, CI 1.30–5.58; p = 0.007), alcohol intoxication (OR 2.12, CI 1.10–4.12; p = 0.025) and anxiety symptoms (OR 4.03, CI 1.57–10.33; p = 0.004). There were small mediating effects of parental supervision, parental support and maladaptive coping on associations between adversity and PEs.
We have identified potential risk factors for PEs from multiple domains including adversity, mental health and lifestyle factors. The mediating effect of parental support on associations between adversity and PEs suggests that poor family relationships may account for some of this mechanism. These findings can inform the development of interventions for adolescents at risk.
Migrant youths endure many challenges. Such challenges can be stressful and lead to psychological difficulties. We investigated the relationship between migration, psychopathology and stressful events in children and adolescents. We hypothesised that migrant youths would show higher levels of psychopathology and more stressful life events than non-migrant youths.
Using the Child cohort (Cohort ‘98) of the ‘Growing up in Ireland’ study we investigated psychopathology, as measured by the Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) at age 9 and 13 and stressful life events in migrant and non-migrant youths.
There was no significant difference between the proportion of migrant and non-migrant youths reporting psychopathology in childhood (p>0.05) or adolescence (p>0.05). Analysis of the SDQ subscales revealed that a significantly greater proportion of migrant youths had hyperactivity problems in childhood (p = 0.04) but a greater proportion of non-migrant youths had emotional problems in early adolescence (p = 0.04). We found that migrant youths experienced significantly more stressful life events than their non-migrant counterparts (p<0.01), however, once ‘Moving house/country‘ was removed as a stressor, there was no difference between the groups (p>0.27).
Contrary to our hypothesis, we observed that there were few differences between migrant and non-migrant youths in the levels of psychopathology. Migrant youths experienced a greater number of stressful life events, however, this was attributable to stressors relating to moving. An increased understanding of the factors promoting resilience, as demonstrated by the migrant youths, could aid health professionals and policy makers to effectively tailor interventions for mental health promotion.
Motorcycle helmet laws are perceived to infringe upon individual rights even though they reduce mortality and health care costs. We describe proposed helmet legislation that protects individual rights and provides incentives for helmet use through a differential motorcycle registration fee that requires higher fees for those who wish to ride without a helmet.