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While quantum accelerometers sense with extremely low drift and low bias, their practical sensing capabilities face at least two limitations compared with classical accelerometers: a lower sample rate due to cold atom interrogation time; and a reduced dynamic range due to signal phase wrapping. In this paper, we propose a maximum likelihood probabilistic data fusion method, under which the actual phase of the quantum accelerometer can be unwrapped by fusing it with the output of a classical accelerometer on the platform. Consequently, the recovered measurement from the quantum accelerometer is used to estimate bias and drift of the classical accelerometer which is then removed from the system output. We demonstrate the enhanced error performance achieved by the proposed fusion method using a simulated 1D accelerometer precision test scenario. We conclude with a discussion on fusion error and potential solutions.
Alcohol use is a risk factor for suicidal behaviour, yet the nature of the relationship is unclear. Most research on the topic is conducted in clinical populations, with few studies exploring this association across the general population.
We investigated the association between specific domains of alcohol use and suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts and non-suicidal self-harm in a general population sample.
A total of 14 949 adults who completed the 2007 or 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey were included. We measured alcohol use with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Domains of alcohol use relating to risk categories, weekly consumption, binge drinking, dependence symptoms, harmful effects and concern from others were derived from relevant AUDIT items. Self-reported past year suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts and non-suicidal self-harm were measured with the Clinical Interview Schedule, Revised.
We found a linear association between total AUDIT score and outcomes. Three of six specific domains of alcohol use (dependence symptoms, harmful effects of drinking and binge drinking) were associated with increased odds of all three outcomes. There was no association of outcomes with the other domains of alcohol use.
We found evidence of a linear association between total AUDIT score and suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts and non-suicidal self-harm in a representative English general population sample. Our analyses suggest that where alcohol use significantly disrupts day-to-day functioning, this may underpin the relationship between alcohol use and suicide-related outcomes to a greater extent than higher alcohol consumption. Longitudinal research is needed to further understand these relationships.
Little is known about the degree to which social factors interact with COVID-19-related adversity to increase the risk of self-harm thoughts and behaviours. Using data derived from a UK cohort study, Paul & Fancourt found that loneliness was associated with an increase in the odds of self-harm thoughts and behaviours, whereas high-quality social support protected against self-harm thoughts and behaviours. The authors concluded that it is the quality of social support and interactions, rather than the act of engaging in social interaction per se, that protects against self-harm in the context of adversity. The COVID-19 pandemic may exert longer-lasting effects on population mental health, and continued surveillance of mental health, including self-harm status, will be essential. If accompanied by appropriate measures of the availability and quality of social support, such monitoring could also inform the development of more effective adaptive interventions for those at risk of engaging in self-harm.
The potential for early interventions to reduce the later prevalence of common mental disorders (CMD) first experienced in adolescence is unclear.
To examine the course of CMD and evaluate the extent to which the prevalence of CMD could be reduced by preventing adolescent CMD, or by intervening to change four young adult processes, between the ages of 20 and 29 years, that could be mediating the link between adolescent and adult disorder.
This was a prospective cohort study of 1923 Australian participants assessed repeatedly from adolescence (wave 1, mean age 14 years) to adulthood (wave 10, mean age 35 years). Causal mediation analysis was undertaken to evaluate the extent to which the prevalence of CMD at age 35 years in those with adolescent CMD could be reduced by either preventing adolescent CMD, or by intervening on four young adult mediating processes: the occurrence of young adult CMD, frequent cannabis use, parenting a child by age 24 years, and engagement in higher education and employment.
At age 35, 19.2% of participants reported CMD; a quarter of these participants experienced CMD during both adolescence and young adulthood. In total, 49% of those with CMD during both adolescence and young adulthood went on to report CMD at age 35 years. Preventing adolescent CMD reduced the population prevalence at age 35 years by 3.9%. Intervening on all four young adult processes among those with adolescent CMD, reduced this prevalence by 1.6%.
In this Australian cohort, a large proportion of adolescent CMD resolved by adulthood, and by age 35 years, the largest proportion of CMD emerged among individuals without prior CMD. Time-limited, early intervention in those with earlier adolescent disorder is unlikely to substantially reduce the prevalence of CMD in midlife.
To determine the prevalence of anxiety and depression amongst participants with severe or complex obesity randomised and selected for bariatric surgery in a large multi-centre trial.
To describe the change in prevalence of anxiety and depression amongst participants who had undergone bariatric surgery, within 6 months of randomisation and at 12 months post-randomisation.
The By-Band-Sleeve (BBS) study is a multi-site randomised controlled trial evaluating the surgical management of severe or complex obesity and is the largest trial of its kind. Participants completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) on study enrolment (pre-randomisation) and at 12 months post-randomisation. In this sub-study, we describe provisional data concerning the baseline prevalence of anxiety and depression along with change in median HADS symptom score amongst those who actually underwent bariatric surgery.
758 participants met the criteria for study inclusion with 716 (94.46%) and 712 (93.93%) individuals fully completing questionnaires for HADS-A and HADS-D. At pre-randomisation, the prevalence of possible (HADS A/D = 8-10) and probable (HADS A/D >11) anxiety or depression was 46.19% (n 330/716) and 48.17% (n 48.17%) respectively. Paired and complete HADS-A and HADS-D questionnaires were available for 70.25% (n 503/716) and 69.94% (n 498/712) participants. There was a highly statistically significant decrease in median HADS-A and HADS-D scores at 12 months post-randomisation (Wilcoxon signed-rank test p < 0.001). This was coupled with a statistically significant reduction in the proportion of cases with possible and probable anxiety (–9.54%, p < 0.001) and also depression (–22.21%, p < 0.001) at 12 months post-randomisation.
Our results characterise the high rate of psychological comorbidity amongst patients with severe or complex obesity selected for bariatric surgery. Whilst bariatric surgery remains the most clinically effective treatment for severe obesity, its effects on long-term post-operative mental health outcomes are less clear. These findings contribute to the growing body of evidence calling for increased pre/post-operative mental health surveillance and integrated care for this cohort of patients.
Self-harm and eating disorders are often comorbid in clinical samples but their co-occurrence in the general population is unclear. Given that only a small proportion of individuals who self-harm or have disordered eating present to clinical services, and that both self-harm and eating disorders are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, we aimed to study these behaviours at a population level.
We assessed the co-occurrence of self-harm and disordered eating behaviours in 3384 females and 2326 males from a UK population-based cohort: the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Participants reported on their self-harm and disordered eating behaviours (fasting, purging, binge-eating and excessive exercise) in the last year via questionnaire at 16 and 24 years. At each age we assessed how many individuals who self-harm also reported disordered eating, and how many individuals with disordered eating also reported self-harm.
We found high comorbidity of self-harm and disordered eating. Almost two-thirds of 16-year-old females, and two-in-five 24-year-old males who self-harmed also reported some form of disordered eating. Young people with disordered eating reported higher levels of self-harm at both ages compared to those without disordered eating.
As self-harm and disordered eating commonly co-occur in young people in the general population, it is important to screen for both sets of difficulties to provide appropriate treatment.
Although no drugs are licensed for the treatment of personality disorder, pharmacological treatment in clinical practice remains common.
This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of psychotropic drug use and associations with psychological service use among people with personality disorder.
Using data from a large, anonymised mental healthcare database, we identified all adult patients with a diagnosis of personality disorder and ascertained psychotropic medication use between 1 August 2015 and 1 February 2016. Multivariable logistic regression models were constructed, adjusting for sociodemographic, clinical and service use factors, to examine the association between psychological services use and psychotropic medication prescribing.
Of 3366 identified patients, 2029 (60.3%) were prescribed some form of psychotropic medication. Patients using psychological services were significantly less likely to be prescribed psychotropic medication (adjusted odds ratio 0.48, 95% CI 0.39–0.59, P<0.001) such as antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and antidepressants. This effect was maintained following several sensitivity analyses. We found no difference in the risk for mood stabiliser (adjusted odds ratio 0.79, 95% CI 0.57–1.10, P = 0.169) and multi-class psychotropic use (adjusted odds ratio 0.80, 95% CI 0.60–1.07, P = 0.133) between patients who did and did not use psychological services.
Psychotropic medication prescribing is common in patients with personality disorder, but significantly less likely in those who have used psychological services. This does not appear to be explained by differences in demographic, clinical and service use characteristics. There is a need to develop clear prescribing guidelines and conduct research in clinical settings to examine medication effectiveness for this population.
The occurrence of early childhood adversity is strongly linked to later self-harm, but there is poor understanding of how this distal risk factor might influence later behaviours. One possible mechanism is through an earlier onset of puberty in children exposed to adversity, since early puberty is associated with an increased risk of adolescent self-harm. We investigated whether early pubertal timing mediates the association between childhood adversity and later self-harm.
Participants were 6698 young people from a UK population-based birth cohort (ALSPAC). We measured exposure to nine types of adversity from 0 to 9 years old, and self-harm when participants were aged 16 and 21 years. Pubertal timing measures were age at peak height velocity (aPHV – males and females) and age at menarche (AAM). We used generalised structural equation modelling for analyses.
For every additional type of adversity; participants had an average 12–14% increased risk of self-harm by 16. Relative risk (RR) estimates were stronger for direct effects when outcomes were self-harm with suicidal intent. There was no evidence that earlier pubertal timing mediated the association between adversity and self-harm [indirect effect RR 1.00, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00–1.00 for aPHV and RR 1.00, 95% CI 1.00–1.01 for AAM].
A cumulative measure of exposure to multiple types of adversity does not confer an increased risk of self-harm via early pubertal timing, however both childhood adversity and early puberty are risk factors for later self-harm. Research identifying mechanisms underlying the link between childhood adversity and later self-harm is needed to inform interventions.
The COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures are likely to have a marked effect on mental health. It is important to use longitudinal data to improve inferences.
To quantify the prevalence of depression, anxiety and mental well-being before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, to identify groups at risk of depression and/or anxiety during the pandemic.
Data were from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) index generation (n = 2850, mean age 28 years) and parent generation (n = 3720, mean age 59 years), and Generation Scotland (n = 4233, mean age 59 years). Depression was measured with the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire in ALSPAC and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 in Generation Scotland. Anxiety and mental well-being were measured with the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment-7 and the Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.
Depression during the pandemic was similar to pre-pandemic levels in the ALSPAC index generation, but those experiencing anxiety had almost doubled, at 24% (95% CI 23–26%) compared with a pre-pandemic level of 13% (95% CI 12–14%). In both studies, anxiety and depression during the pandemic was greater in younger members, women, those with pre-existing mental/physical health conditions and individuals in socioeconomic adversity, even when controlling for pre-pandemic anxiety and depression.
These results provide evidence for increased anxiety in young people that is coincident with the pandemic. Specific groups are at elevated risk of depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is important for planning current mental health provisions and for long-term impact beyond this pandemic.
In September 2014, as part of a national initiative to increase access to liaison psychiatry services, the liaison psychiatry services at Bristol Royal Infirmary received new investment of £250 000 per annum, expanding its availability from 40 to 98 h per week. The long-term impact on patient outcomes and costs, of patients presenting to the emergency department with self-harm, is unknown.
To assess the long-term impact of the investment on patient care outcomes and costs, of patients presenting to the emergency department with self-harm.
Monthly data for all self-harm emergency department attendances between 1 September 2011 and 30 September 2017 was modelled using Bayesian structural time series to estimate expected outcomes in the absence of expanded operating hours (the counterfactual). The difference between the observed and expected trends for each outcome were interpreted as the effects of the investment.
Over the 3 years after service expansion, the mean number of self-harm attendances increased 13%. Median waiting time from arrival to psychosocial assessment was 2 h shorter (18.6% decrease, 95% Bayesian credible interval (BCI) −30.2% to −2.8%), there were 45 more referrals to other agencies (86.1% increase, 95% BCI 60.6% to 110.9%) and a small increase in the number of psychosocial assessments (11.7% increase, 95% BCI −3.4% to 28.5%) per month. Monthly mean net hospital costs were £34 more per episode (5.3% increase, 95% BCI −11.6% to 25.5%).
Despite annual increases in emergency department attendances, investment was associated with reduced waiting times for psychosocial assessment and more referrals to other agencies, with only a small increase in cost per episode.
National guidance cautions against low-intensity interventions for people with personality disorder, but evidence from trials is lacking.
To test the feasibility of conducting a randomised trial of a low-intensity intervention for people with personality disorder.
Single-blind, feasibility trial (trial registration: ISRCTN14994755). We recruited people aged 18 or over with a clinical diagnosis of personality disorder from mental health services, excluding those with a coexisting organic or psychotic mental disorder. We randomly allocated participants via a remote system on a 1:1 ratio to six to ten sessions of Structured Psychological Support (SPS) or to treatment as usual. We assessed social functioning, mental health, health-related quality of life, satisfaction with care and resource use and costs at baseline and 24 weeks after randomisation.
A total of 63 participants were randomly assigned to either SPS (n = 33) or treatment as usual (n = 30). Twenty-nine (88%) of those in the active arm of the trial received one or more session (median 7). Among 46 (73%) who were followed up at 24 weeks, social dysfunction was lower (−6.3, 95% CI −12.0 to −0.6, P = 0.03) and satisfaction with care was higher (6.5, 95% CI 2.5 to 10.4; P = 0.002) in those allocated to SPS. Statistically significant differences were not found in other outcomes. The cost of the intervention was low and total costs over 24 weeks were similar in both groups.
SPS may provide an effective low-intensity intervention for people with personality disorder and should be tested in fully powered clinical trials.
Self-harm in young people is associated with later problems in social and emotional development. However, it is unknown whether self-harm in young women continues to be a marker of vulnerability on becoming a parent. This study prospectively describes the associations between pre-conception self-harm, maternal depressive symptoms and mother–infant bonding problems.
The Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study (VIHCS) is a follow-up to the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study (VAHCS) in Australia. Socio-demographic and health variables were assessed at 10 time-points (waves) from ages 14 to 35, including self-reported self-harm at waves 3–9. VIHCS enrolment began in 2006 (when participants were aged 28–29 years), by contacting VAHCS women every 6 months to identify pregnancies over a 7-year period. Perinatal depressive symptoms were assessed with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale during the third trimester, and 2 and 12 months postpartum. Mother–infant bonding problems were assessed with the Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire at 2 and 12 months postpartum.
Five hundred sixty-four pregnancies from 384 women were included. One in 10 women (9.7%) reported pre-conception self-harm. Women who reported self-harming in young adulthood (ages 20–29) reported higher levels of perinatal depressive symptoms and mother–infant bonding problems at all perinatal time points [perinatal depressive symptoms adjusted β = 5.40, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.42–7.39; mother–infant bonding problems adjusted β = 7.51, 95% CI 3.09–11.92]. There was no evidence that self-harm in adolescence (ages 15–17) was associated with either perinatal outcome.
Self-harm during young adulthood may be an indicator of future vulnerability to perinatal mental health and mother–infant bonding problems.
The mental health of university students, especially medical students, is of growing concern in the UK.
To estimate the prevalence of mental disorder in health sciences students and investigate help-seeking behaviour.
An online survey from one English university (n = 1139; 53% response rate) collected data on depression (using the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire), anxiety (seven-item Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment), alcohol use (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test), self-harm and well-being, as well as help seeking.
A quarter of the students reported symptoms of moderate/severe depression and 27% reported symptoms of moderate/severe anxiety. Only 21% of students with symptoms of severe depression had sought professional help; the main reason for not seeking help was fear of documentation on academic records.
The study highlights the extent of mental health problems faced by health science students. Barriers to help seeking due to concerns about fitness-to-practise procedures urgently need to be addressed to ensure that this population of students can access help in a timely fashion.
Illegal wildlife trade is one of the major threats to Neotropical psittacids, with nearly 28% of species targeted for the illegal pet trade. We analysed the most comprehensive data set on illegal wildlife trade currently available for Venezuela, from various sources, to provide a quantitative assessment of the magnitude, scope and detectability of the trade in psittacids at the national level. We calculated a specific offer index (SO) based on the frequency of which each species was offered for sale. Forty-seven species of psittacids were traded in Venezuela during 1981–2015, of which 17 were non-native. At least 641,675 individuals were traded, with an overall extraction rate of 18,334 individuals per year (35 years of accumulated reports). Amazona ochrocephala was the most frequently detected species (SO = 3.603), with the highest extraction rate (10,544 individuals per year), followed by Eupsittula pertinax (SO = 1.357) and Amazona amazonica (SO = 1.073). Amazona barbadensis, Ara ararauna and Ara chloropterus were the fourth most frequently detected species (SO = 0.564–0.615). Eleven species were involved principally in domestic trade (> 60% of records). Our approach could be the first step in developing a national monitoring programme to inform national policy on the trade in psittacids. Patterns and numbers provided may be used to update the official list of threatened species, and could also be used in planning conservation actions.
Imagine asking yourself the question, “How would I describe a typical pregnant woman who uses drugs?” You might reply that she comes from a different social class, cannot think beyond the pregnancy, uses jargon, and doesn’t listen or care about the welfare of the child. However, my experience when asking drug-using women what they thought about the typical obstetrician is that they say the doctor was from a different social class, could not think beyond the pregnancy, used jargon, and didn’t listen or care about the welfare of the child.
We aimed to evaluate the availability and nature of services for people affected by personality disorder in England by conducting a survey of English National Health Service (NHS) mental health trusts and independent organisations.
In England, 84% of organisations reported having at least one dedicated personality disorder service. This represents a fivefold increase compared with a 2002 survey. However, only 55% of organisations reported that patients had equal access across localities to these dedicated services. Dedicated services commonly had good levels of service use and carer involvement, and engagement in education, research and training. However, a wider multidisciplinary team and a greater number of biopsychosocial interventions were available through generic services.
There has been a substantial increase in service provision for people affected by personality disorder, but continued variability in the availability of services is apparent and it remains unclear whether quality of care has improved.
The use of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in assessing decision-making capacity in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is inconsistent. We believe this may stem from persisting confusion regarding the nosological status of personality disorder and also a failure to recognise the fact that emotional dysregulation and characteristic psychodynamic abnormalities may cause substantial difficulties in using and weighing information. Clearer consensus on these issues is required in order to provide consistent patient care and reduce uncertainty for clinicians in what are often emergency and high-stakes clinical scenarios.