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Performance monitoring entails rapid error detection to maintain task performance. Impaired performance monitoring is a candidate pathophysiological process in psychotic disorders, which may explain the broader deficit in executive function and its known associations with negative symptoms and poor functioning. The current study models cross-sectional pathways bridging neurophysiological measures of performance monitoring with executive function, symptoms, and functioning.
Data were from the 20-year assessment of the Suffolk County Mental Health Project. Individuals with psychotic disorders (N = 181) were originally recruited from inpatient psychiatric facilities. Data were also collected from a geographically and demographically matched group with no psychosis history (N = 242). Neural measures were the error-related negativity (ERN) and error positivity (Pe). Structural equation modeling tested mediation pathways.
Blunted ERN and Pe in the clinical cohort related to impaired executive function (r = 0.26–0.35), negative symptom severity (r = 0.17–0.25), and poor real-world functioning (r = 0.17–0.19). Associations with executive function were consistent across groups. Multiple potential pathways were identified in the clinical cohort: reduced ERN to inexpressivity was mediated by executive function (β = 0.10); reduced Pe to global functioning was mediated by executive function and avolition (β = 0.10).
This supports a transdiagnostic model of psychotic disorders by which poor performance monitoring contributes to impaired executive function, which contributes to negative symptoms and poor real-world functioning. If supported by future longitudinal research, these pathways could inform the development of targeted interventions to address cognitive and functional deficits that are central to psychotic disorders.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SCZ) are separate neurodevelopmental disorders that are both characterized by difficulties in social cognition and social functioning. Due to methodological confounds, the degree of similarity in social cognitive impairments across these two disorders is currently unknown. This study therefore conducted a comprehensive comparison of social cognitive ability in ASD and SCZ to aid efforts to develop optimized treatment programs.
In total, 101 individuals with ASD, 92 individuals with SCZ or schizoaffective disorder, and 101 typically developing (TD) controls, all with measured intelligence in the normal range and a mean age of 25.47 years, completed a large battery of psychometrically validated social cognitive assessments spanning the domains of emotion recognition, social perception, mental state attribution, and attributional style.
Both ASD and SCZ performed worse than TD controls, and very few differences were evident between the two clinical groups, with effect sizes (Cohen's d) ranging from 0.01 to 0.34. For those effects that did reach statistical significance, such as greater hostility in the SCZ group, controlling for symptom severity rendered them non-significant, suggesting that clinical distinctions may underlie these social cognitive differences. Additionally, the strength of the relationship between neurocognitive and social cognitive performance was of similar, moderate size for ASD and SCZ.
Findings largely suggest comparable levels of social cognitive impairment in ASD and SCZ, which may support the use of existing social cognitive interventions across disorders. However, future work is needed to determine whether the mechanisms underlying these shared impairments are also similar or if these common behavioral profiles may emerge via different pathways.
Chronic aggression and violence in schizophrenia are rare, but receive disproportionate negative media coverage. This contributes to the stigma of mental illness and reduces accessibility to mental health services. Substance Use Disorders (SUD), antisocial behavior, non-adherence and recidivism are known risk factors for violence. Treatment with antipsychotic medication can reduce violence. Aside from clozapine, long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAI) appear to be superior to oral antipsychotics for preventing violence, addressing adherence and recidivism. LAI also facilitate the implementation of functional skills training. For the high-risk recidivist target population with schizophrenia, better life skills have the potential to also reduce the risk for contact with the legal system, including an improved ability to live independently in supported environments and interact appropriately with others. High-risk patients who are resistant to treatment with other antipsychotics should receive treatment with clozapine due to its direct positive effects on impulsive violence, along with a reduction in comorbid risk factors such as SUDs.
Aggressive and violent behavior, including both verbal and physical aggression, have considerable adverse consequences for people with schizophrenia. There are several potential causes of violent behavior on the part of people with severe mental illness, which include intellectual impairments, cognitive and social-cognitive deficits, skills deficits, substance abuse, antisocial features, and specific psychotic features. This review explores the interventions that have been tested to this date. Computerized Cognitive Training (CCT) or Computerized Social-Cognitive Training (CSCT) have been associated with reductions in violence. Combined CCT and CSCT have been found to improve social cognition and neurocognition, as well as everyday functioning when combined with rehabilitation interventions. These interventions have been shown to reduce violence in schizophrenia patients across multiple environments, including forensic settings. The reductions in violence and aggression have manifested in various ways, including reduced violent thinking and behavior, reduced physical and violent assaults, and reduced disruptive and aggressive behaviors. Effects of cognitive training may be associated with improvements in problem-solving and the increased ability to deploy alternative strategies. The effect of social cognition training on violence reduction appears to be direct, with improvements in violence related to the extent of improvement in social cognition. There are still remaining issues to be addressed in the use of CCT and CSCT, and the benefits should not be overstated; however, the results of these interventions are very promising.
A growing body of research has shown that two domains of cognition, neurocognition and social cognition, predict different domains of real-world outcomes in people with schizophrenia. Social cognition has been shown to predict social outcomes but not non-social outcomes (e.g. living independently), and neurocognition provides minimal prediction of social outcomes (e.g. interpersonal relationships). The differing predictive value of neurocognition and social cognition has led to an exploration of potential factors that interact with cognition to influence everyday outcomes. Functional skills, negative symptoms, and self-assessment have shown particularly promising relationships with cognitive ability. Several consensus studies have pinpointed valid performance-based assessments. High-contact informant ratings have additionally been shown to be highly accurate. The emerging understanding of divergent patterns of predicting outcomes and reliable assessments present an opportunity to improve treatment targets and real-world outcomes for individuals with schizophrenia. In particular, a recently defined component of metacognition has shown particular promise. Introspective accuracy (IA) addresses how well individuals evaluate their own abilities. Emerging research has found that IA of neurocognitive ability better predicts everyday functional deficits than scores on performance-based measures of neurocognitive skills and has found that IA of social cognition accounts unique variance in real world disability above social cognitive abilities. Intriguingly, IA of neurocognition appears to preferentially predict non-social outcomes while IA of social cognition predicts social outcomes.
During the past two decades, it has been amply documented that neuropsychiatric disorders (NPDs) disproportionately account for burden of illness attributable to chronic non-communicable medical disorders globally. It is also likely that human capital costs attributable to NPDs will disproportionately increase as a consequence of population aging and beneficial risk factor modification of other common and chronic medical disorders (e.g., cardiovascular disease). Notwithstanding the availability of multiple modalities of antidepressant treatment, relatively few studies in psychiatry have primarily sought to determine whether improving cognitive function in MDD improves patient reported outcomes (PROs) and/or is cost effective. The mediational relevance of cognition in MDD potentially extrapolates to all NPDs, indicating that screening for, measuring, preventing, and treating cognitive deficits in psychiatry is not only a primary therapeutic target, but also should be conceptualized as a transdiagnostic domain to be considered regardless of patient age and/or differential diagnosis.
Arachidonic acid (ARA) and DHA, supplied primarily from the mother, are required for early development of the central nervous system. Thus, variations in maternal ARA or DHA status may modify neurocognitive development. We investigated the relationship between maternal ARA and DHA status in early (11·7 weeks) or late (34·5 weeks) pregnancy on neurocognitive function at the age of 4 years or 6–7 years in 724 mother–child pairs from the Southampton Women’s Survey cohort. Plasma phosphatidylcholine fatty acid composition was measured in early and late pregnancy. ARA concentration in early pregnancy predicted 13 % of the variation in ARA concentration in late pregnancy (β=0·36, P<0·001). DHA concentration in early pregnancy predicted 21 % of the variation in DHA concentration in late pregnancy (β=0·46, P<0·001). Children’s cognitive function at the age of 4 years was assessed by the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence and at the age of 6–7 years by the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence. Executive function at the age of 6–7 years was assessed using elements of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Neither DHA nor ARA concentrations in early or late pregnancy were associated significantly with neurocognitive function in children at the age of 4 years or the age of 6–7 years. These findings suggest that ARA and DHA status during pregnancy in the range found in this cohort are unlikely to have major influences on neurocognitive function in healthy children.
The recent approval of treatments for tardive dyskinesia (TD) has rekindled interest in this chronic and previously recalcitrant condition. A large proportion of patients with chronic mental illness suffer from various degrees of TD. Even the newer antipsychotics constitute a liability for TD, and their liberal prescription might lead to emergence of new TD in patient populations previously less exposed to antipsychotics, such as those with depression, bipolar disorder, autism, or even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The association of TD with activity limitations remains poorly understood. We review potential new avenues of assessing the functional sequelae of TD, such as the performance of instrumental activities of daily living, residential status, and employment outcomes. We identify several mediating aspects, including physical performance measures and cognition, that may represent links between TD and everyday performance, as well as potential treatment targets.
Treatment resistance, along with its sibling partial response, remains a common phenomenon in schizophrenia, complicating the disability burden inherent in the disease. Antipsychotic medications are the mainstay of treatment, and treatment resistance has mainly been defined in terms of poor response to antipsychotic medication. At the same time, clozapine, the most effective antipsychotic, remains underutilized at the expense of exposing patients to polypharmacy. We review known causes of disability in schizophrenia, how they impact various areas of everyday functioning, and discuss potential treatment options including but not limited to pharmacological approaches aimed at maximizing treatment response and reducing treatment resistance.
Few studies have examined the impact of stimulant use on outcome in early psychosis. Ceasing substance use may lead to positive outcomes in psychosis.
To examine whether baseline cannabis or stimulant disorders and ongoing drug use predict readmission within 2 years of a first psychosis admission.
Predictors of readmission were examined with Cox regression in 7269 people aged 15–29 years with a first psychosis admission.
Baseline cannabis and stimulant disorders did not predict readmission. A stimulant disorder diagnosis prior to index psychosis admission predicted readmission, but a prior cannabis disorder diagnosis did not. Ongoing problem drug use predicted readmission. The lowest rate of readmission occurred in people whose baseline drug problems were discontinued.
Prior admissions with stimulant disorder may be a negative prognostic sign in first-episode psychosis. Drug use diagnoses at baseline may be a good prognostic sign if they are identified and controlled.
The aim of this analysis was to compare the effects of 2 atypical antipsychotic agents, lurasidone (80 mg/d or 160 mg/d) and quetiapine XR (600 mg/d), on daytime alertness, and to evaluate the effects of daytime sleepiness on treatment outcomes in patients with an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia.
Patients who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria for schizophrenia were randomized to 6 weeks of double-blind treatment with fixed doses of lurasidone 80 mg/d (n = 125), lurasidone 160 mg/d (n = 121), quetiapine XR 600 mg/d (n = 119), or placebo (n = 121), all dosed once daily in the evening, with food. Daytime sleepiness was assessed using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS).
Daytime sleepiness improved in the lurasidone and placebo-treated groups but worsened in the quetiapine XR treatment group when compared to placebo (p = 0.001) and to either dose of lurasidone (both p < 0.01). Sedation associated with quetiapine XR treatment mediated an improvement in agitation [assessed by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale—Excitement (PANSS-EC) subscale] and a worsening in functional capacity [assessed by the University of California–San Diego (UCSD) Performance-Based Skills Assessment—Brief Version (UPSA-B) total score]; these mediating relationships were not observed for the lurasidone or placebo treatment groups.
In this 6-week double-blind study, treatment with lurasidone 80 mg or 160 mg, administered once daily in the evening, was associated with a reduction in daytime sleepiness similar in magnitude to placebo, while quetiapine XR 600 mg/d was associated with a significant increase in daytime sleepiness, compared to both lurasidone dose groups and placebo. Daytime sleepiness was associated with improvement in agitation and worsening in functional capacity for quetiapine XR, but not lurasidone or placebo-treated patients.
We recently showed that restraint and seclusion differed in children and adolescents (n = 2411) who were receiving treatment as psychiatric inpatients, with children experiencing more episodes of both of these interventions of shorter duration. In this report, we examine restraint and seclusion in members of that sample (n = 471) who experienced a readmission within two years.
The initial database included two years of data on a total of 2411 child and adolescent inpatients, with 20% being readmitted within that period. Statistical analyses examine the characteristics of the sample at the readmission, including correlations between satisfaction with treatment at discharge from the readmission and the comparisons of the frequency of restraint and seclusion at both admissions. These analyses were performed separately for the samples of children and adolescents.
In the cases who experienced restraint or seclusion at their first admission there was a 22% reduction in occurrence of restraint at the second admission for children and 44% for adolescents. Comparisons of the patients who did and did not experience restraint and seclusion across admissions suggested that these are different populations with different overall risk for restraint seclusions. Risk for seclusion and the number of seclusions was correlated across admissions. Length of stay was shorter at readmission for patients who experienced seclusion or restraint during their first admission. Patients who experienced restraint or seclusion at their readmission did not differ in their satisfaction with treatment at discharge from their readmission from those who did not.
Children and adolescents who experienced restraint and seclusion during a psychiatric admission had a reduced risk of seclusion at a readmission, but were still at higher risk than cases without restraint and seclusion at the first admission. These reductions in risk, as well as a shorter length of stay at readmission, suggest potentially beneficial effects. The lack of increased dissatisfaction with treatment also indicates that these cases did not see themselves as excessively coerced or victimised by the experience. Nonetheless, the high rate of occurrence of restraint and seclusion suggests that alternative treatment interventions are clearly important.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.
Although neurocognition is commonly described in terms of different functional domains, some factor analytic studies have suggested a simpler dimensional structure for neuropsychological (NP) tests in patients with schizophrenia. Standardized tasks of everyday functioning, or tests of “functional capacity” (FC), are viewed differently from traditional NP tests, and are hence used as a co-primary measure in treatment studies. However, FC and NP tests have been found to be highly correlated. In fact, a recent study of ours suggested that performances on these different types of tasks constituted a single latent trait in a cross-sectional analysis. The current study examined the longitudinal factor structure of a combined set of NP and FC tests. Patients with schizophrenia (n = 195) were examined at two assessment occasions separated by periods ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months. Participants were assessed with the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) and two performance-based assessments of FC. A single latent trait was extracted using full information maximum likelihood procedures, and its temporal stability was examined in terms of: stability of the latent trait scores, the inter-correlations of the three indicators of the latent trait, and the stability of loadings for the FC and NP items underlying the latent trait at the two measurement occasions. All indices of temporal stability were confirmed, with stability not related to follow-up duration. Variation in clinical symptoms and treatments across the measurement occasions was negligible. These findings raise the question of whether cognitive abilities measured by NP tests and FC instruments are tapping a single ability construct, which might have shared causal influences as well. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–8)