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Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) display cognitive deficits in acutely depressed and remitted states. Childhood maltreatment is associated with cognitive dysfunction in adults, but its impact on cognition and treatment related cognitive outcomes in adult MDD has received little consideration. We investigate whether, compared to patients without maltreatment and healthy participants, adult MDD patients with childhood maltreatment display greater cognitive deficits in acute depression, lower treatment-associated cognitive improvements, and lower cognitive performance in remission.
Healthy and acutely depressed MDD participants were enrolled in a multi-center MDD predictive marker discovery trial. MDD participants received 16 weeks of standardized antidepressant treatment. Maltreatment and cognition were assessed with the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse interview and the CNS Vital Signs battery, respectively. Cognitive scores and change from baseline to week 16 were compared amongst MDD participants with (DM+, n = 93) and without maltreatment (DM−, n = 90), and healthy participants with (HM+, n = 22) and without maltreatment (HM−, n = 80). Separate analyses in MDD participants who remitted were conducted.
DM+ had lower baseline global cognition, processing speed, and memory v. HM−, with no significant baseline differences amongst DM−, HM+, and HM− groups. There were no significant between-group differences in cognitive change over 16 weeks. Post-treatment remitted DM+, but not remitted DM−, scored significantly lower than HM− in working memory and processing speed.
Childhood maltreatment was associated with cognitive deficits in depressed and remitted adults with MDD. Maltreatment may be a risk factor for more severe and persistent cognitive deficits in adult MDD.
Individuals experiencing different medical conditions, as well as healthy volunteers, may often be interested in trial participation, and researchers similarly need to find participants to advance medical knowledge. The ResearchMatch (RM) Trials Today clinical trial searching tool leverages clinicaltrials.gov data to enable potential participants to look for trial opportunities relevant to their situation. To facilitate expanded use of this tool, we undertook a national digital public awareness campaign to increase awareness of Trials Today among members of the general public.
The awareness campaign promoted Trials Today using Facebook and digital banner messages in 2017, encompassing nine cities across the USA. The digital strategy was complemented by print media in several outlets. We employed descriptive statistics to summarize campaign metrics and site usage data during the campaign.
The campaign was successful in increasing visits to Trials Today, with 142,303 sessions logged during its run, as compared to pre-campaign data indicating 104,688 total sessions during the entire 2-year period since the site’s inception. The city-specific click-through rate for all digital impressions, combining Facebook and banner messaging, ranged from 0.50% to 1.09%, resulting in a cost-per-click range of $0.69–$1.15. In addition, visitors conducted 29,697 searches and viewed individual trial records 173,512 times.
The public awareness campaign was successful in increasing use of the RM Trials Today clinical trial searching tool. Our findings support the value of digital media messaging as a cost-effective vehicle for promoting clinical trial awareness, especially for chronic ailments.
Global inequity in access to and availability of essential mental health services is well recognized. The mental health treatment gap is approximately 50% in all countries, with up to 90% of people in the lowest-income countries lacking access to required mental health services. Increased investment in global mental health (GMH) has increased innovation in mental health service delivery in LMICs. Situational analyses in areas where mental health services and systems are poorly developed and resourced are essential when planning for research and implementation, however, little guidance is available to inform methodological approaches to conducting these types of studies. This scoping review provides an analysis of methodological approaches to situational analysis in GMH, including an assessment of the extent to which situational analyses include equity in study designs. It is intended as a resource that identifies current gaps and areas for future development in GMH. Formative research, including situational analysis, is an essential first step in conducting robust implementation research, an essential area of study in GMH that will help to promote improved availability of, access to and reach of mental health services for people living with mental illness in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). While strong leadership in this field exists, there remain significant opportunities for enhanced research representing different LMICs and regions.
In an effort to optimize patient outcomes, considerable attention is being devoted to identifying patient characteristics associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and its responsiveness to treatment. In the current study, we extend this work by evaluating whether early change in these sensitivities is associated with response to antidepressant treatment for MDD.
Participants included 210 patients with MDD who were treated with 8 weeks of escitalopram and 112 healthy comparison participants. Of the original 210 patients, 90 non-responders received adjunctive aripiprazole for an additional 8 weeks. Symptoms of depression and anhedonia were assessed at the beginning of treatment and 8 weeks later in both samples. Reward and punishment sensitivity were assessed using the BIS/BAS scales measured at the initiation of treatment and 2 weeks later.
Individuals with MDD exhibited higher punishment sensitivity and lower reward sensitivity compared with healthy comparison participants. Change in reward sensitivity during the first 2 weeks of treatment was associated with improved depressive symptoms and anhedonia following 8 weeks of treatment with escitalopram. Similarly, improvement in reward responsiveness during the first 2 weeks of adjunctive therapy with aripiprazole was associated with fewer symptoms of depression at post-treatment.
Findings highlight the predictive utility of early change in reward sensitivity during antidepressant treatment for major depression. In a clinical setting, a lack of change in early reward processing may signal a need to modify a patient's treatment plan with alternative or augmented treatment approaches.
Heightened reactivity to unpredictable threat (U-threat) is a core individual difference factor underlying fear-based psychopathology. Little is known, however, about whether reactivity to U-threat is a stable marker of fear-based psychopathology or if it is malleable to treatment. The aim of the current study was to address this question by examining differences in reactivity to U-threat within patients before and after 12-weeks of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Participants included patients with principal fear (n = 22) and distress/misery disorders (n = 29), and a group of healthy controls (n = 21) assessed 12-weeks apart. A well-validated threat-of-shock task was used to probe reactivity to predictable (P-) and U-threat and startle eyeblink magnitude was recorded as an index of defensive responding.
Across both assessments, individuals with fear-based disorders displayed greater startle magnitude to U-threat relative to healthy controls and distress/misery patients (who did not differ). From pre- to post-treatment, startle magnitude during U-threat decreased only within the fear patients who received CBT. Moreover, within fear patients, the magnitude of decline in startle to U-threat correlated with the magnitude of decline in fear symptoms. For the healthy controls, startle to U-threat across the two time points was highly reliable and stable.
Together, these results indicate that startle to U-threat characterizes fear disorder patients and is malleable to treatment with CBT but not SSRIs within fear patients. Startle to U-threat may therefore reflect an objective, psychophysiological indicator of fear disorder status and CBT treatment response.
Many medications administered to patients with schizophrenia possess anticholinergic properties. When aggregated, pharmacological treatments may result in a considerable anticholinergic burden. The extent to which anticholinergic burden has a deleterious effect on cognition and impairs ability to participate in and benefit from psychosocial treatments is unknown.
Seventy patients were followed for approximately 3 years. The MATRICS consensus cognitive battery (MCCB) was administered at baseline. Anticholinergic burden was measured with the Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden (ACB) scale. Ability to benefit from psychosocial programmes was measured using the DUNDRUM-3 Programme Completion Scale (D-3) at baseline and follow-up. Psychiatric symptoms were measured using the PANSS. Total antipsychotic dose was measured using chlorpromazine equivalents. Functioning was measured using the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS).
Mediation analysis found that the influence of anticholinergic burden on ability to participate and benefit from psychosocial programmes was completely mediated by the MCCB. For every 1-unit increase on the ACB scale, change scores for DUNDRUM-3 decreased by −0.27 points. This relationship appears specific to anticholinergic burden and not total antipsychotic dose. Moreover, mediation appears to be specific to cognition and not psychopathology. Baseline functioning also acted as mediator but only when MCCB was not controlled for.
Anticholinergic burden has a significant impact on patients’ ability to participate in and benefit from psychosocial treatment programmes. Physicians need to be mindful of the cumulative effect that medications can have on patient cognition, functional capacity and ability to benefit from psychosocial treatments.
Cognitive dysfunction is common in major depressive disorder (MDD) and a critical determinant of health outcome. Anhedonia is a criterion item toward the diagnosis of a major depressive episode (MDE) and a well-characterized domain in MDD. We sought to determine the extent to which variability in self-reported cognitive function correlates with anhedonia.
A post hoc analysis was conducted using data from (N=369) participants with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR)-defined diagnosis of MDD who were enrolled in the International Mood Disorders Collaborative Project (IMDCP) between January 2008 and July 2013. The IMDCP is a collaborative research platform at the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, and the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Measures of cognitive function, anhedonia, and depression severity were analyzed using linear regression equations.
A total of 369 adults with DSM-IV-TR–defined MDD were included in this analysis. Self-rated cognitive impairment [ie, as measured by the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS)] was significantly correlated with a proxy measure of anhedonia (r=0.131, p=0.012). Moreover, total depression symptom severity, as measured by the total Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score, was also significantly correlated with self-rated measures of cognitive dysfunction (r=0.147, p=0.005). The association between anhedonia and self-rated cognitive dysfunction remained significant after adjusting for illness severity (r=0.162, p=0.007).
These preliminary results provide empirical data for the testable hypothesis that anhedonia and self-reported cognitive function in MDD are correlated yet dissociable domains. The foregoing observation supports the hypothesis of overlapping yet discrete neurobiological substrates for these domains.
This work considers debris disks whose spectra can be modelled by dust emission at two different temperatures. These disks are typically assumed to be a sign of multiple belts, but only a few cases have been confirmed via high resolution observations. We derive the properties of a sample of two-temperature disks, and explore whether this emission can arise from dust in a single narrow belt. While some two-temperature disks arise from single belts, it is probable that most have multiple spatial components. These disks are plausibly similar to the outer Solar System's configuration of Asteroid and Edgeworth-Kuiper belts separated by giant planets. Alternatively, the inner component could arise from inward scattering of material from the outer belt, again due to intervening planets. For either scenario, the ratio of warm/cool component temperatures is indicative of the scale of outer planetary systems, which typically span a factor of about ten in radius.
The public health burden of alcohol is unevenly distributed across the life course, with levels of use, abuse, and dependence increasing across adolescence and peaking in early adulthood. Here, we leverage this temporal patterning to search for common genetic variants predicting developmental trajectories of alcohol consumption. Comparable psychiatric evaluations measuring alcohol consumption were collected in three longitudinal community samples (N = 2,126, obs = 12,166). Consumption-repeated measurements spanning adolescence and early adulthood were analyzed using linear mixed models, estimating individual consumption trajectories, which were then tested for association with Illumina 660W-Quad genotype data (866,099 SNPs after imputation and QC). Association results were combined across samples using standard meta-analysis methods. Four meta-analysis associations satisfied our pre-determined genome-wide significance criterion (FDR < 0.1) and six others met our ‘suggestive’ criterion (FDR <0.2). Genome-wide significant associations were highly biological plausible, including associations within GABA transporter 1, SLC6A1 (solute carrier family 6, member 1), and exonic hits in LOC100129340 (mitofusin-1-like). Pathway analyses elaborated single marker results, indicating significant enriched associations to intuitive biological mechanisms, including neurotransmission, xenobiotic pharmacodynamics, and nuclear hormone receptors (NHR). These findings underscore the value of combining longitudinal behavioral data and genome-wide genotype information in order to study developmental patterns and improve statistical power in genomic studies.
Major depressive disorder is associated with significant impairment in occupational functioning and reduced productivity, which represents a large part of the overall burden of depression.
To examine symptom-based and work functioning outcomes with combined pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy treatment of major depressive disorder.
Employed patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of major depressive disorder were treated with escitalopram 10–20mg/day and randomised to: (a) telephone-administered cognitive-behavioural therapy (telephone CBT) (n = 48); or (b) adherence-reminder telephone calls (n = 51). Outcomes included the Montgomery-åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), administered by masked evaluators via telephone, and self-rated work functioning scales completed online. (Registered at clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00702598.)
After 12 weeks, there were no significant between-group differences in change in MADRS score or in response/remission rates. However, participants in the telephone-CBT group had significantly greater improvement on some measures of work functioning than the escitalopram-alone group.
Combined treatment with escitalopram and telephone- administered CBT significantly improved some self-reported work functioning outcomes, but not symptom-based outcomes, compared with escitalopram alone.