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Stress and mental health problems is common among medical students, but we lack studies of intervention programmes during medical school.
Design and Methods
The students participated in one of two group session programmes during their third year at medical school. One option was a self-development programme delivered by trained group therapists. Alternatively the students chose a programme focusing on themes of special relevance to doctors. The format was one and a half hours' group sessions, once weekly, altogether 12 times. The baseline data were gathered before the intervention (T1).We studied the effect 3 months post intervention (T2), in this first follow-up paper. One class (N= 128) of medical students were given the group intervention programmes. The next year class (comparison group) received no intervention (N= 152). The main outcome of this study was Perceived Medical School Stress (PMSS), which has been linked to anxiety and depression, as well as need for treatment. We used multilevel linear model (repeated measures) to test for differences over time.
Both the intervention and the comparison groups showed a decline in PMSS from T1 to T2. There was an interaction between time and the intervention, and this indicates a significant effect (P=0.01) of the intervention. We found this effect due to the participation in the self-development groups (P=0.009). All effects were controlled for age and gender.
The self-development groups have a beneficial effect on stress among the students in a three months follow-up.
Psychiatric training in the European Union is undergoing a process of harmonization of national curricula in order to establish a common postgraduate training framework. The Research Group of the European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees (EFPT) is conducting a multi-national study on psychiatry education of trainees among the European countries in regard to the Union Européenne Des Médecins Spécialistes (UEMS) 2009 competencies framework.
The aims are to raise awareness on these competencies, compile data on trainees‘ experience of their training and assessment methods, opinions on level of confidence, and on relevance of these competencies.
This study surveyed trainees from 15 EFPT countries using a questionnaire developed specifically for this research.
Psychiatric training in Europe differs significantly regarding length, with a training duration ranging from 4 to 8 years. Only 26,7% of the trainees were well acquainted with the UEMS competencies and trainees from only 8 countries declared to have a competency based national training curriculum. These results reveal that trainees have different experiences and opinions on competencies and assessment methods depending on their country of residence.
A limitation of the results may be that our respondents are the EFPT representatives’ and probably have better knowledge on the educational issues.
The combined quantitative and qualitative outlook on national training programmes from the trainees point of view enhances our understanding and perspective of the dynamic processes of psychiatric education in Europe. Data obtained from this research study contributes to the efforts to unify psychiatric training curricula.
There is a shortage of psychiatrists worldwide. Within Europe, psychiatric trainees can move between countries, which increases the problem in some countries and alleviates it in others. However, little is known about the reasons psychiatric trainees move to another country.
Survey of psychiatric trainees in 33 European countries, exploring how frequently psychiatric trainees have migrated or want to migrate, their reasons to stay and leave the country, and the countries where they come from and where they move to. A 61-item self-report questionnaire was developed, covering questions about their demographics, experiences of short-term mobility (from 3 months up to 1 year), experiences of long-term migration (of more than 1 year) and their attitudes towards migration.
A total of 2281 psychiatric trainees in Europe participated in the survey, of which 72.0% have ‘ever’ considered to move to a different country in their future, 53.5% were considering it ‘now’, at the time of the survey, and 13.3% had already moved country. For these immigrant trainees, academic was the main reason they gave to move from their country of origin. For all trainees, the overall main reason for which they would leave was financial (34.4%), especially in those with lower (<500€) incomes (58.1%), whereas in those with higher (>2500€) incomes, personal reasons were paramount (44.5%).
A high number of psychiatric trainees considered moving to another country, and their motivation largely reflects the substantial salary differences. These findings suggest tackling financial conditions and academic opportunities.
The aim of the Avera Twin Register (ATR) is to establish a prospective longitudinal repository of twins, multiples, siblings and family members’ biological samples to study environmental and genetic influences on health and disease. Also, it is our intention to contribute to international genome-wide association study (GWAS) twin consortia when appropriate sample size is achieved within the ATR. The ATR is young compared with existing registers and continues to collect a longitudinal repository of biological specimens, survey data and health information. Data and biological specimens were originally collected via face-to-face appointments or the postal department and consisted of paper-informed consents and questionnaires. Enrollment of the ATR began on May 18, 2016 and is located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a rural and frontier area in the Central United States with a regional population of approximately 880,000. The original target area for the ATR was South Dakota and the four surrounding states: Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and Nebraska. The ATR has found a need to expand that area based on twin and multiple siblings who live in various areas surrounding these states. A description of the state of the ATR today and its transition to online data collection and informed consent will be presented. The ATR collects longitudinal data on lifestyle, including diet and activity levels, aging, plus complex traits and diseases. All twins and multiples participating in the ATR are genotyped on the Illumina Global Screening Array and receive zygosity results.
Background: Despite the global impact of bipolar disorder (BD), treatment success is limited. Challenges include syndromal and subsyndromal mood instability, comorbid anxiety, and uncertainty around mechanisms to target. The Oxford Mood Action Psychology Programme (OxMAPP) offered a novel approach within a cognitive behavioural framework, via mental imagery-focused cognitive therapy (ImCT). Aims: This clinical audit evaluated referral rates, clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction with the OxMAPP service. Method: Eleven outpatients with BD received ImCT in addition to standard psychiatric care. Mood data were collected weekly from 6 months pre-treatment to 6 months post-treatment via routine mood monitoring. Anxiety was measured weekly from start of treatment until 1 month post-treatment. Patient feedback was provided via questionnaire. Results: Referral and treatment uptake rates indicated acceptability to referrers and patients. From pre- to post-treatment, there was (i) a significant reduction in the duration of depressive episode relapses, and (ii) a non-significant trend towards a reduction in the number of episodes, with small to medium effect size. There was a large effect size for the reduction in weekly anxiety symptoms from assessment to 1 month follow-up. Patient feedback indicated high levels of satisfaction with ImCT, and underscored the importance of the mental imagery focus. Conclusions: This clinical audit provides preliminary evidence that ImCT can help improve depressive and anxiety symptoms in BD as part of integrated clinical care, with high patient satisfaction and acceptability. Formal assessment designs are needed to further test the feasibility and efficacy of the new ImCT treatment on anxiety and mood instability.
Salmonella is a leading cause of bacterial foodborne illness. We report the collaborative investigative efforts of US and Canadian public health officials during the 2013–2014 international outbreak of multiple Salmonella serotype infections linked to sprouted chia seed powder. The investigation included open-ended interviews of ill persons, traceback, product testing, facility inspections, and trace forward. Ninety-four persons infected with outbreak strains from 16 states and four provinces were identified; 21% were hospitalized and none died. Fifty-four (96%) of 56 persons who consumed chia seed powder, reported 13 different brands that traced back to a single Canadian firm, distributed by four US and eight Canadian companies. Laboratory testing yielded outbreak strains from leftover and intact product. Contaminated product was recalled. Although chia seed powder is a novel outbreak vehicle, sprouted seeds are recognized as an important cause of foodborne illness; firms should follow available guidance to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination during sprouting.
White matter (WM) impairments have been reported in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) and those at high familial risk of developing BD. However, the distribution of these impairments has not been well characterized. Few studies have examined WM integrity in young people early in the course of illness and in individuals at familial risk who have not yet passed the peak age of onset.
WM integrity was examined in 63 BD subjects, 150 high-risk (HR) individuals and 111 participants with no family history of mental illness (CON). All subjects were aged 12 to 30 years.
This young BD group had significantly lower fractional anisotropy within the genu of the corpus callosum (CC) compared with the CON and HR groups. Moreover, the abnormality in the genu of the CC was also present in HR participants with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) (n = 16) compared with CON participants.
Our findings provide important validation of interhemispheric abnormalities in BD patients. The novel finding in HR subjects with recurrent MDD – a group at particular risk of future hypo/manic episodes – suggests that this may potentially represent a trait marker for BD, though this will need to be confirmed in longitudinal follow-up studies.
Common pharmacological treatments of mood disorders aim to modulate serotonergic neurotransmission and enhance serotonin levels in the brain. Brain serotonin levels are dependent on the availability of its food-derived precursor essential amino acid tryptophan (Trp). We tested the hypothesis that delivery of Trp via food may serve as an alternative treatment, and examined the effects of a Trp-rich, bioavailable dietary supplement from egg protein hydrolysate on cognitive and emotional functions, mood state, and sleep quality. In a randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel trial, fifty-nine mentally and physically healthy women aged 45–65 years received placebo (n 30) or the supplement (n 29) (both as 0·5 g twice per d) for 19 d. Emotional processing was significantly changed by supplementation, exhibiting a shift in bias away from negative stimuli. The results for the Affective Go/No-Go Task exhibited a slowing of responses to negative words, suggesting reduced attention to negative emotional stimuli. The results for the Facial Emotional Expression Rating Task also supported a shift away from attention to negative emotions and a bias towards happiness. An increase in arousal-like symptoms, labelled ‘high energy’, shorter reaction times and a slight benefit to sustained attention were observed in the treated subjects. Finally, when the supplement was taken 60–90 min before bedtime, a feeling of happiness before going to bed was consistently reported. In summary, daily consumption of a low-dose supplement containing bioavailable Trp may have beneficial effects on emotional and cognitive functions.
Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) are characterized by maladaptive responses to both positive and negative outcomes, which have been linked to localized abnormal activations in cortical and striatal brain regions. However, the exact neural circuitry implicated in such abnormalities remains largely unexplored.
In this study 26 unmedicated adults with MDD and 29 matched healthy controls (HCs) completed a monetary incentive delay task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analyses probed group differences in connectivity separately in response to positive and negative outcomes (i.e. monetary gains and penalties).
Relative to HCs, MDD subjects displayed decreased connectivity between the caudate and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) in response to monetary gains, yet increased connectivity between the caudate and a different, more rostral, dACC subregion in response to monetary penalties. Moreover, exploratory analyses of 14 MDD patients who completed a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial after the baseline fMRI scans indicated that a more normative pattern of cortico-striatal connectivity pre-treatment was associated with greater improvement in symptoms 12 weeks later.
These results identify the caudate as a region with dissociable incentive-dependent dACC connectivity abnormalities in MDD, and provide initial evidence that cortico-striatal circuitry may play a role in MDD treatment response. Given the role of cortico-striatal circuitry in encoding action–outcome contingencies, such dysregulated connectivity may relate to the prominent disruptions in goal-directed behavior that characterize MDD.
The host range of a mixture of Choristoneura fumiferana (Clemens) nucleopolyhedroviruses (CfMNPV and CfDefNPV) was investigated using a per os bioassay of larvae of 29 species of Lepidoptera and adult males of Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Using a whole-genomic DNA probe, positive results were obtained in 8 of 10 Tortricidae: Archips cerasivorana (Fitch), Choristoneura fractivittana (Clemens), C. fumiferana, Choristoneura occidentalis Freeman, Choristoneura pinus pinus Freeman, Choristoneura rosaceana (Harris), Clepsis persicana (Fitch), and Cydia pomonella (L.); one Crambidae: Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner); one arctiine Erebidae: Estigmene acrea (Drury); and two Noctuidae: Oligia illocata (Walker) and Pyrrhia exprimens (Walker). Mortality rates were highest among C. fumiferana, C. occidentalis, C. pinus pinus, A. cerasivorana, and C. pomonella. Sequenced polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplicons from infected individuals from several species confirmed that the primer sets amplified the target viruses. CfMNPV was consistently found in virus-fed C. fumiferana; whereas, CfDefNPV was present only occasionally. The presence of CfMNPV and CfDefNPV in A. cerasivorana was confirmed by PCR and DNA sequencing. Significant treatment-mortality rates were induced in the noctuids P. exprimens and Acronicta impleta Walker; PCR determined that both viruses were present in treated P. exprimens but only CfMNPV was present in A. impleta. No virus was detected in M. rotundata.
The introduction of a centralized system for recording cattle movements in the UK has provided a framework for network-based models for disease spread. However, there are many types of non-reportable contacts between farms which may play a role in disease spread. The lack of real pathogen data with which to test network models makes it difficult to assess whether reported data adequately captures the risk-potential network between farms and improves the accuracy of disease forecasts. A novel multi-disciplinary approach is described whereby network-based models, built upon reported cattle movements and non-reportable local contacts between study farms, are parameterized using field data on bovine Staphylococcus aureus strains. Reported cattle movements were found to play a role in strain spread between farms, but other contacts via farm visitors were also correlated with strain distribution, suggesting that parameterizing contact networks using cattle-tracing data alone may not adequately capture the disease dynamics.