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Repetitive negative thinking (RNT), a cognitive process that encompasses past (rumination) and future (worry) directed thoughts focusing on negative experiences and the self, is a transdiagnostic construct that is especially relevant for major depressive disorder (MDD). Severe RNT often occurs in individuals with severe levels of MDD, which makes it challenging to disambiguate the neural circuitry underlying RNT from depression severity.
We used a propensity score, i.e., a conditional probability of having high RNT given observed covariates to match high and low RNT individuals who are similar in the severity of depression, anxiety, and demographic characteristics. Of 148 MDD individuals, we matched high and low RNT groups (n = 50/group) and used a data-driven whole-brain voxel-to-voxel connectivity pattern analysis to investigate the resting-state functional connectivity differences between the groups.
There was an association between RNT and connectivity in the bilateral superior temporal sulcus (STS), an important region for speech processing including inner speech. High relative to low RNT individuals showed greater connectivity between right STS and bilateral anterior insular cortex (AI), and between bilateral STS and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Greater connectivity in those regions was specifically related to RNT but not to depression severity.
RNT intensity is directly related to connectivity between STS and AI/DLPFC. This might be a mechanism underlying the role of RNT in perceptive, cognitive, speech, and emotional processing. Future investigations will need to determine whether modifying these connectivities could be a treatment target to reduce RNT.
An inflammation-induced imbalance in the kynurenine pathway (KP) has been reported in major depressive disorder but the utility of these metabolites as predictive or therapeutic biomarkers of behavioral activation (BA) therapy is unknown.
Serum samples were provided by 56 depressed individuals before BA therapy and 29 of these individuals also provided samples after 10 weeks of therapy to measure cytokines and KP metabolites. The PROMIS Depression Scale (PROMIS-D) and the Sheehan Disability Scale were administered weekly and the Beck depression inventory was administered pre- and post-therapy. Data were analyzed with linear mixed-effect, general linear, and logistic regression models. The primary outcome for the biomarker analyses was the ratio of kynurenic acid to quinolinic acid (KynA/QA).
BA decreased depression and disability scores (p's < 0.001, Cohen's d's > 0.5). KynA/QA significantly increased at post-therapy relative to baseline (p < 0.001, d = 2.2), an effect driven by a decrease in QA post-therapy (p < 0.001, uncorrected, d = 3.39). A trend towards a decrease in the ratio of kynurenine to tryptophan (KYN/TRP) was also observed (p = 0.054, uncorrected, d = 0.78). Neither the change in KynA/QA, nor baseline KynA/QA were associated with response to BA therapy.
The current findings together with previous research show that electronconvulsive therapy, escitalopram, and ketamine decrease concentrations of the neurotoxin, QA, raise the possibility that a common therapeutic mechanism underlies diverse forms of anti-depressant treatment but future controlled studies are needed to test this hypothesis.
Mental health and substance use disorders are the leading cause of long-term disability and a cause of significant mortality, worldwide. However, it is widely recognised that clinical practice in psychiatry has not fundamentally changed for over half a century. The Royal College of Psychiatrists is reviewing its trainee curriculum to identify neuroscience that relates to psychiatric practice. To date though, neuroscience has had very little impact on routine clinical practice. We discuss how a pragmatic approach to neuroscience can address this problem together with a route to implementation in National Health Service care. This has implications for altered funding priorities and training future psychiatrists. Five training recommendations for psychiatrists are identified.
Declaration of interest
J.D.S. receives direct funding from MRC Program Grant MR/S010351/1 aimed at developing machine learning-based methods for routinely acquired NHS data and indirect funding from the Wellcome Trust STRADL study. M.P.P. receives payments for an UpToDate chapter on methamphetamine and is principal investigator on the following grants: NIGMS P20GM121312 and NIDA U01 DA041089 and receives support from the William K. Warren Foundation.
Depression can impair the immunogenicity of vaccine administration in adults. Whereas many vaccinations are administered in childhood, it is not known whether adolescent or adult onset depression is associated with impairments in the maintenance of protection of childhood vaccines. This study tested the hypothesis that individuals with adolescent or adult onset mood disorders would display compromised immunity to measles, a target of childhood vaccination.
IgG antibodies to measles were quantified using a solid phase immunoassay in volunteers with bipolar disorder (BD, n = 64, mean age of onset = 16.6 ± 5.6), currently depressed individuals with major depressive disorder (cMDD, n = 85, mean age of onset = 17.9 ± 7.0), remitted individuals with a history of MDD (rMDD, n = 82, mean age of onset = 19.2 ± 8.6), and non-depressed comparison controls (HC, n = 202), all born after the introduction of the measles vaccine in the USA in 1963.
Relative to HC, both the cMDD group (p = 0.021, adjusted odds ratios (OR) = 0.47, confidence interval (CI) = 0.24–0.90), and the rMDD group (p = 0.038, adjusted OR = 0.50, CI = 0.26–0.97) were less likely to test seropositive for measles. Compared with unmedicated MDD participants, currently medicated MDD participants had a longer lifetime duration of illness and were less likely to test seropositive for measles.
Individuals with adolescent or adult onset MDD are less likely to test seropositive for measles. Because lower IgG titers are associated with increased risk of measles infection, MDD may increase the risk and severity of infection possibly because of impaired maintenance of vaccine-related protection from measles.
Human neuroimaging studies of reward processing typically involve tasks that engage decision-making processes in the dorsal striatum or focus upon the ventral striatum’s response to feedback expectancy. These studies are often compared to the animal literature; however, some animal studies include both feedback and nonfeedback events that activate the dorsal striatum during feedback expectancy. Differences in task parameters, movement complexity, and motoric effort to attain rewards may partly explain ventral and dorsal striatal response differences across species. We, therefore, used a target capture task during functional neuroimaging that was inspired by a study of single cell modulation in the internal globus pallidus during reward-cued, rotational arm movements in nonhuman primates. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, participants used a fiberoptic joystick to make a rotational response to an instruction stimulus that indicated both a target location for a capture movement and whether or not the trial would end with feedback indicating either a small financial gain or a neutral outcome. Portions of the dorsal striatum and pallidum demonstrated greater neural activation to visual cues predicting potential gains relative to cues with no associated outcome. Furthermore, both striatal and pallidal regions displayed a greater response to financial gains relative to neutral outcomes. This reward-dependent modulation of dorsal striatal and pallidal activation in a target-capture task is consistent with findings from reward studies in animals, supporting the use of motorically complex tasks as translational paradigms to investigate the neural substrates of reward expectancy and outcome in humans. (JINS, 2015, 21, 399–411)
Although evidence exists for abnormal brain function across various
anxiety disorders, direct comparison of neural function across diagnoses
is needed to elicit abnormalities common across disorders and those
distinct to a particular diagnosis.
To delineate common and distinct abnormalities within generalised anxiety
(GAD), panic and social anxiety disorder (SAD) during affective
Fifty-nine adults (15 with GAD, 15 with panic disorder, 14 with SAD, and
15 healthy controls) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging
while completing a facial emotion matching task with fearful, angry and
Greater differential right amygdala activation to matching fearful
v. happy facial expressions related to greater
negative affectivity (i.e. trait anxiety) and was heightened across all
anxiety disorder groups compared with controls. Collapsing across
emotional face types, participants with panic disorder uniquely displayed
greater posterior insula activation.
These preliminary results highlight a common neural basis for clinical
anxiety in these diagnoses and also suggest the presence of
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