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Addictions are challenging health and social problems that need to be addressed to preserve and promote good mental health and ensure that individuals within society lead healthy and productive lives. Tackling addictions is complex and requires communities, public health, specialist services, and local and national government to act in unison and implement evidence-based interventions. This editorial raises systemic issues that need attention and proposes a range of systemic options.
Declaration of interest
K.S.B. is Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Psychiatry. The other authors declare no conflict of interest.
Major depression is a complex disorder with no single, direct causal mechanism. Morbidity has been linked to genetic processes, developmental history, and unique environmental exposures. Epigenetic mechanisms, especially DNA methylation, are also likely important factors in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). A community-based twin sample has many advantages for epigenetic studies, given the shared genetic and developmental histories of same-sex twin pairs. This article describes the rationale and study design for the Mood and Methylation Study in which 133 twin pairs (101 monozygotic and 32 dizygotic), both discordant and concordant for lifetime history of MDD, were evaluated on a large number of variables related to MDD. The twins also provided blood samples for an epigenome-wide association study of differentially methylated regions (DMR) relevant to MDD. Although MDD is typically considered a disorder of the central nervous system, it is unfeasible to obtain a large sample of brain tissues. However, epigenetic variation is not limited to the affected tissue but can also be detected in peripheral blood leukocytes. Thus, this study focused on monocytes for the major analyses. Additional plans for the study include gene expression analysis from the same set of twins using RNA-seq and validation of significant DMRs in postmortem brain tissues from a separate sample. Moreover, sufficient samples have been collected to perform future ‘multi-omic’ analyses, including metabolome, microbiome, and transcriptome. Our long-term goal is to understand how epigenomic and other ‘omic’ factors can be manipulated for diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic purposes for MDD and its related conditions.
Better indicators of prognosis are needed to personalise post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatments.
We aimed to evaluate early symptom reduction as a predictor of better outcome and examine predictors of early response.
Patients with PTSD (N = 134) received sertraline or prolonged exposure in a randomised trial. Early response was defined as 20% PTSD symptom reduction by session two and good end-state functioning defined as non-clinical levels of PTSD, depression and anxiety.
Early response rates were similar in prolonged exposure and sertraline (40 and 42%), but in sertraline only, early responders were four times more likely to achieve good end-state functioning at post-treatment (Number Needed to Treat = 1.8, 95% CI 1.28–3.00) and final follow-up (Number Needed to Treat = 3.1, 95% CI 1.68–16.71). Better outcome expectations of sertraline also predicted higher likelihood of early response.
Higher expectancy of sertraline coupled with early response may produce a cascade-like effect for optimal conditions for long-term symptom reduction. Therefore, assessing expectations and providing clear treatment rationales may optimise sertraline effects.
Currently it is estimated that about 1 billion people globally have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition in which liver fat exceeds 5 % of liver weight in the absence of significant alcohol intake. Due to the central role of the liver in metabolism, the prevalence of NAFLD is increasing in parallel with the prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance and other risk factors of metabolic diseases. However, the contribution of liver fat to the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and CVD, relative to other ectopic fat depots and to other risk markers, is unclear. Various studies have suggested that the accumulation of liver fat can be reduced or prevented via dietary changes. However, the amount of liver fat reduction that would be physiologically relevant, and the timeframes and dose–effect relationships for achieving this through different diet-based approaches, are unclear. Also, it is still uncertain whether the changes in liver fat per se or the associated metabolic changes are relevant. Furthermore, the methods available to measure liver fat, or even individual fatty acids, differ in sensitivity and reliability. The present report summarises key messages of presentations from different experts and related discussions from a workshop intended to capture current views and research gaps relating to the points above.
Symptoms of anxiety relating to Parkinson's disease (PD) occur commonly and include symptomatology associated with motor disability and complications arising from PD medication. However, there have been relatively few attempts to profile such disease-specific anxiety symptoms in PD. Consequently, anxiety in PD is underdiagnosed and undertreated. The present study characterizes PD-related anxiety symptoms to assist with the more accurate assessment and treatment of anxiety in PD.
Ninety non-demented PD patients underwent a semi-structured diagnostic assessment targeting anxiety symptoms using relevant sections of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI-plus). In addition, they were assessed for the presence of 30 PD-related anxiety symptoms derived from the literature, the clinical experience of an expert panel and the PD Anxiety-Motor Complications Questionnaire (PDAMCQ). The onset of anxiety in relation to the diagnosis of PD was determined.
Frequent (>25%) PD-specific anxiety symptoms included distress, worry, fear, agitation, embarrassment, and social withdrawal due to motor symptoms and PD medication complications, and were experienced more commonly in patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for an anxiety disorder. The onset of common anxiety disorders was observed equally before and after a diagnosis of PD. Patients in a residual group of Anxiety Not Otherwise Specified had an onset of anxiety after a diagnosis of PD.
Careful characterization of PD-specific anxiety symptomatology provides a basis for conceptualizing anxiety and assists with the development of a new PD-specific measure to accurately assess anxiety in PD.
Adequate Zn and Mg intakes may be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. We aimed to investigate the prospective association between dietary intakes of Zn and Mg and internalising and externalising behaviour problems in a population-based cohort of adolescents.
Prospective analysis (general linear mixed models) of dietary intakes of Zn and Mg assessed using a validated FFQ and mental health symptoms assessed using the Youth Self-Report (YSR), adjusting for sex, physical activity, family income, supplement status, dietary misreporting, BMI, family functioning and energy intake.
Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study.
Adolescents (n 684) at the 14- and 17-year follow-ups.
Higher dietary intake of Mg (per sd increase) was significantly associated with reduced externalising behaviours (β=−1·45; 95 % CI −2·40, −0·50; P=0·003). There was a trend towards reduced externalising behaviours with higher Zn intake (per sd increase; β=−0·73; 95 % CI −1·57, 0·10; P=0·085).
The study shows an association between higher dietary Mg intake and reduced externalising behaviour problems in adolescents. We observed a similar trend, although not statistically significant, for Zn intake. Randomised controlled trials are necessary to determine any benefit of micronutrient supplementation in the prevention and treatment of mental health problems in adolescents.
Internalised stigma in young people meeting criteria for at-risk mental states (ARMS) has been highlighted as an important issue, and it has been suggested that provision of cognitive therapy may increase such stigma.
To investigate the effects of cognitive therapy on internalised stigma using a secondary analysis of data from the EDIE-2 trial.
Participants meeting criteria for ARMS were recruited as part of a multisite randomised controlled trial of cognitive therapy for prevention and amelioration of psychosis. Participants were assessed at baseline and at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months using measures of psychotic experiences, symptoms and internalised stigma.
Negative appraisals of experiences were significantly reduced in the group assigned to cognitive therapy (estimated difference at 12 months was −1.36 (95% Cl −2.69 to −0.02), P = 0.047). There was no difference in social acceptability of experiences (estimated difference at 12 months was 0.46, 95% Cl −0.05 to 0.98, P = 0.079).
These findings suggest that, rather than increasing internalised stigma, cognitive therapy decreases negative appraisals of unusual experiences in young people at risk of psychosis; as such, it is a non-stigmatising intervention for this population.
Collaborative care is a well-studied and effective model of integrating behavioural healthcare into primary care medical settings. Despite evidence of its effectiveness, it has been difficult to implement into the US healthcare system. The upcoming reorganisation of US healthcare will rely heavily on adaptations of this model to improve its uptake and cost-effectiveness.
Some data suggest that older adults with anxiety disorders do not respond as well to treatment as do younger adults.
We examined age differences in outcomes from the Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management (CALM) study, an effectiveness trial comparing usual care to a computer-assisted collaborative care intervention for primary care patients with panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and/or social anxiety disorder. This is the first study to examine the efficacy of a collaborative care intervention in a sample that included both younger and older adults with anxiety disorders. We hypothesised that older adults would show a poorer response to the intervention than younger adults.
We examined findings for the overall sample, as well as within each diagnostic category (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00347269).
The CALM intervention was more effective than usual care among younger adults overall and for those with generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder. Among older adults, the intervention was effective overall and for those with social anxiety disorder and PTSD but not for those with panic disorder or generalised anxiety disorder. The effects of the intervention also appeared to erode by the 18-month follow-up, and there were no significant effects on remission among the older adults.
These results are consistent with the findings of other investigators suggesting that medications and psychotherapy for anxiety disorders may not be as effective for older individuals as they are for younger people.
The theme of this paper can be introduced in this way: does a pluralist approach to religion entail a pluralist approach to religion? My theme is not that odd, because I have two notions of pluralism in mind. There is what I will call ‘tolerant pluralism’ and what I will call ‘religious pluralism’. And thus my question is ‘Does tolerant pluralism re religion entail religious pluralism?’