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Impairments in social cognition contribute significantly to disability in schizophrenia patients (SzP). Perception of facial expressions is critical for social cognition. Intact perception requires an individual to visually scan a complex dynamic social scene for transiently moving facial expressions that may be relevant for understanding the scene. The relationship of visual scanning for these facial expressions and social cognition remains unknown.
In 39 SzP and 27 healthy controls (HC), we used eye-tracking to examine the relationship between performance on The Awareness of Social Inference Test (TASIT), which tests social cognition using naturalistic video clips of social situations, and visual scanning, measuring each individual's relative to the mean of HC. We then examined the relationship of visual scanning to the specific visual features (motion, contrast, luminance, faces) within the video clips.
TASIT performance was significantly impaired in SzP for trials involving sarcasm (p < 10−5). Visual scanning was significantly more variable in SzP than HC (p < 10−6), and predicted TASIT performance in HC (p = 0.02) but not SzP (p = 0.91), differing significantly between groups (p = 0.04). During the visual scanning, SzP were less likely to be viewing faces (p = 0.0001) and less likely to saccade to facial motion in peripheral vision (p = 0.008).
SzP show highly significant deficits in the use of visual scanning of naturalistic social scenes to inform social cognition. Alterations in visual scanning patterns may originate from impaired processing of facial motion within peripheral vision. Overall, these results highlight the utility of naturalistic stimuli in the study of social cognition deficits in schizophrenia.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a neuroimaging technique increasingly used for both patient care and clinical research. This techniche provides a space-time high-resolution able to detect small changes in regional brain activation.Ojbectives: the aim of this study was to compare patterns of regional brain activation in patients with eating disorders (ED) and healthy volunteers during emotional stimulation.
Materials and methods
A group of 13 young female ED outpatients was selected using DSM-IV criteria and 13 young healthy female volunteers with no significant differences in sociodemographic or environmental data. fMRI was used to examine the neural responses after visual stimulation with neutral and fearful images, taken from the IAPS (International Affective Picture System) and selected a region of interest (ROI) aproach to examine the function of the amygdala in emotional processing.Data processing and higher level analysis were carried out using FSL (fMRI's Software Library).
ED patients showed significantly greater rigth amygdala activation to the fearful images versus neutral images than healthy control subjects (p < 0.02)
A higher right amygdala response to processing of fearful stimuli was observed in ED patients compared to healthy volunteers. This emotional dysregulation in the affective response to unpleasant stimuli would correlate with a maladaptative response and therefore justify disruptive behaviours in this patients.
Mixed Bipolar patients are those who have co-existing depressive symptoms during mania. These patients are supposed to have a worse evolution.
The objective of this study was to compare the long-term outcomes of patients who had at least one mixed episode with those who experienced only pure manic episodes.
169 outpatients diagnosed of Bipolar I disorder and treated at least during two years were included. 120 patients (71%) complited the follow-up over 10 years. Baseline demographic and clinical variables were included.
The patients with mixed episodes (37%) had a significantly younger mean age at onset comparing with those with manic episodes (25.3 years vs. 30.8 years; p=0.025) they also had more previous mood- incongruent psychotic symptoms χ2= 6.77, p=0.034), more number of hospitalizations (OR= 1.36, 95% CI = 1.14; -1.63; p< 0.001), and more number of episodes (OR= 1.21, 95% CI = 1.10-1.31; p< 0.001). There were no significant differences relating to depressive episodes, alcohol use, drug abuse, suicidal behaviour and suicide attempts.
Age at onset differed significantly between the mixed episode and pure mania groups, with mixed episode patients having a younger age of onset. This is interesting as one of the major results of the study we have found that age at onset mediates some of the factors classically related to outcome in mixed episodes like alcohol abuse and suicide attempts. However, independently of age at onset, these patients represent a especially severe type of bipolar disorder.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a relatively new imaging technique that is being increasingly used in different types of psychiatric patologies to characterize white matter microstructural organization in this kind of disorders. In the present study we use DTI to explore the structure of the white matter of borderline personality disorder (BPD) patients, using a novel voxel-based approach, tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS), to analyze the data.
Methods and materials
DTI was performed in a 1.5T MRI unit in 9 young male patients with a DSM-IV defined BPD and 14 healthy male control subjects (no significant age difference between groups).Voxel wise analysis was performed using TBSS (diffusion toolbox of FSL- functional MRI Software Library) to localize regions of white matter showing significant changes of fractional anisotropy (FA). Additional high resolution three dimensional datasets were also acquired and normalised white matter volume was estimated with SIENAX (part of FSL).
The TBSS analysis revealed a statistically significant decrease in FA at the anterior part of the body and the genu of the corpus callosum and frontal white matter. This finding is consistent with previously reported findings of subtle prefrontal white matter abnormalities in BPD.
Significant white matter tract alterations in patients with BPD where observed in frontal regions involved in emotional, behavioural and cognitive regulation, and these abnormalities may be linked to key aspects of psychopatology in these patients.
To study the changes in plasma concentration of homovanillic acid (pHVA) and its relation with clinical outcome during treatment of Bipolar I patients with olanzapine plus lithium.
Patients and Methods:
Fifty six (33 women and 23 men) Bipoar I patients, age 35.1±9.4 (SD) years, diagnosed according to DSM-IV, were treated initially with 10mg/day of olanzapine for 4 days and subsequently with 20 mg/day. On the 8th day lithium was added until a concentration of 0.6 to 1.2 mEq/L was reached in plasma. Patients were, at least, a week without neuroleptic or mood stabilizer medication.
Their clinical state was evaluated before and during 28 days of treatment with the Young scale and with the Clinical Global Impression.
Morning fasting levels of pHVA were analyzed the same days that scales were passed.
Plasma HVA after 28 days of treatment does not decline as habitually happens with neuroleptic treatment alone. Moreover, there was a trend toward significance of a Positive Correlation between pHVA and clinical improvement.
The addition of Lithium to Olanzapine altered the pattern of pHVA response from the first days of treatment up to day 28, suppressing the habitual decline in pHVA concentration. These results are similar to those observed by Bowers et al. (1992) when lithium was combined with perphenazine. The correlation between changes in pHVA concentration during 28 days of treatment and clinical outcome was the opposite to that found in schizophrenic patients treated with neuroleptics alone.
To describe validation process of the new apathy scale for institutionalized dementia patients (APADEM-NH).
100 elderly, institutionalized patients with diagnosis of probable Alzheimer Disease (AD) (57%), possible AD (13%), AD with cerebral vascular disease (CVD) (17%), Lewy Bodies Dementia (11%) and Parkinson associated to dementia (PDD) (2%). All stages of the disease severity according to the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) and Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) were assessed. The Apathy Inventory (AI), Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), Cornell scale for depression, and the tested scale were applied. Re-test and inter-rater reliability was carried out in 50 patients. The feasibility and acceptability, reliability, validity, and measurement precision were analyzed.
APADEM-NH final version consists of 26 items and 3 dimensions: Deficit of Thinking and Self-Generated behaviors (DT): 13 items, Emotional Blunting (EB): 7 items, and Cognitive Inertia (CI): 6 items. Mean application time was 9.56 minutes and 74% of applications were fully computable. All subscales showed floor and ceiling effect lower than 15%. Internal consistency was excellent for each dimension (Cronbach’s α DT = 0.88, α EB = 0.83, α CI= 0.88);Test-retest reliability for the items was kW=0,48-0,92; Inter-rater reliability reached kW values 0.84-1.00; The APADEM-NH total score showed a low/moderate correlation with apathy scales (Spearman ρ, AI =0.33; NPI-Apathy= 0,31), no correlation with depression scales (NPI-Dementia = -0.003; Cornell= 0,10), and high internal validity (ρ =0.69 0.80).
APADEM-NH is a brief, psychometrically acceptable, and valid scale to assess apathy in patients from mild to severe dementia and discerning between apathy and depression.
Natural polyamines (putrescine, spermidine and spermine) are low molecular weight highly protonated aliphatic molecules that physiologically modulate NMDA, AMPA/kainate glutamatergic receptors and limbic dopaminergic neurotransmission. Previous studies had demonstrated that polyamine metabolism might be disrupted in schizophrenia, what could potentially be linked to glutamatergic dysfunction. In particular, polyamine levels in blood and fibroblast cultures from patients with schizophrenia had previously been found to be higher than in healthy controls. Indeed, a significant positive correlation between blood polyamine levels and severity of illness may exist.
In order to test potential differences in blood polyamine levels between drug-free schizophrenia in-patients (n = 12), and healthy controls (n = 26, blood donors), spermidine (spd), spermine (spm), and spermidine/spermine index (spd/spm) were determined using HPLC after dansylation.
No significant differences were found between groups (t = 0,974; df = 36; P = 0,337 for spd, t = l0, 52; df = 36; P = 0,959 for Spm, and, t = 0, 662; df = 36; P = 0,512 for spd/spm).
Though we couldn’t replicate previous findings suggesting disturbances in blood polyamine levels in schizophrenia, this issue may be a promising target. Future research should take into account possible factors such as sex, nutritional state, and stress.
Social cognition is presently an important focus in rehabilitation of patients wish schizophrenic psychoses. Emotion recognition in one of its different components, the Training of Affect Recognition (TAR) is a therapy program specifically developed aiming at improving affect recognition.
To test if the material of the TAR program in terms a series of facial affect cards is reliable for emotion recognition in a Spanish control population.
A sample of Spanish control subjects were shown the TAR's series of facial affect cards. It includes the following emotions: happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, angry and disgust, and the neutral facial affect. Reliability was assessed by means of the kappa coefficient. Kappa values higher than 0.4 were considered reliable, the following criterion was accepted: kappa values < 0.4, low reliability; 0.4 to 0.75, moderate reliability; > 0.76, strong reliability.
The sample was formed by subjects from the general population with no previous history of psychiatric disorders (n = 20). The following kappa values were obtained: happiness, 0.8406 (CI 0.7744–0.9068), sadness, 0.6171 (CI 0.5377–0.6964), surprise, 0.6582 (CI 0.5859–0.7304), fear, 0.4509 (CI 0.3569–0.5448), angry, 0.6252 (CI 0.5464–0.7040), disgust, 0.7700 (CI 0.6943–0.8456), neutral, 0.5534 (CI 0.4663–0.6404).
In a preliminary study in a sample of 20 Spanish control subjects using the TAR's series of facial affect cards, the six basic emotions and the neutral facial affect were recognized with at least a moderate reliability. A strong reliability was obtained in happiness and disgust, and a moderate reliability in surprise, angry, sadness, neutral, fear.
Adoption, twin and family studies suggest that suicide behavior is familial and heritable. Both completed and attempted suicide appear to be transmitted in a familial form. Genetics and environment influences had been detected in various studies. But suicidal behavior suggests to be inherited independently from the mental disorders usually associated with it. While traditional statistics emphasizes inference and estimations, data mining emphasizes the fulfillment of a task such as classification, estimation, or knowledge discovery.
The goal of this study was to determine in a large sample of suicide attempts which variables are associated with family history of attempted suicide.
In an emergency room, 539 adult suicide attempters were recruited. The two dichotomous dependent variables were family history of suicide attempt (10%) and of completed suicide (4%). Independent variables were 101 clinical variables explored with two data mining techniques: Random Forest and Forward Selection.
A model for family history of completed suicide could not be developed. A classificatory model for family history of attempted suicide included the use of alcohol in the intent and family history of completed suicide, provide a sensitivity of 78.4%, a specificity of 98.7% and accuracy of 96.6%.
A classificatory model for family history of completed suicide could not be developed using data mining techniques. But it suggested that the use of alcohol in the intent and family history of completed suicide may be associated with familial attempted suicide.
Insight in schizophrenia shows critical implications for adherence. Non-adherence is particularly relevant in first-episode patients. Few studies have examined insight in early schizophrenia. The aim of this study is to examine relationship between insight, adherence and outcome in patients with early schizophrenia.
Observational study in patients diagnosed for schizophrenia, schizophreniform, or schizoaffective disorder for less than 5 years. Data are collected retrospectively from first psychotic episode to study start, and prospectively (1 year). Association of demographic data, clinical measures, remission, relapses, and adherence with level of insight (Scale to Assess Unawareness of Mental Disorder and G12 item of PANSS) was evaluated. Adherence was assessed interviewing patients and family. Remission was defined according to Remission in Schizophrenia Working Group criteria. Preliminary data are shown.
575 patients have been analyzed. Duration of illness was 3.9±1.6 years. According to G12 item of PANSS, almost 50% of patients had moderate to extreme impairment in baseline insight, while this percentage was 15.8% at 12 mo. (N=291). At baseline, 50% of patients showed good adherence to medication (>80%), and adherence rose to 78% at 12 mo. (N=291). Remission (severity criteria) significantly increased from baseline (23.9%, N=574) to 12 mo. (59.5%, N=291; p<0.0001). A significant relationship between insight and remission at baseline (p<0.001) was found. Among patients who reached 12 mo. visit (N=289), hospitalization was more frequent in those with poor baseline insight.
Lack of insight is common in early schizophrenia and may be a relevant predictor of poor outcome.
The main finding of a former Spanish multicenter study (SMS) on the effectiveness of naltrexone maintenance in heroin addicts, was the high retention rate achieved at 24 weeks of follow-up since naltrexone induction (40%). The authors claimed this rate was one of the highest ever reported in the literature for a non-selected sample of opiate addicts and discussed the possible relevance of a set of variables — like motivations and expectations due to a new treatment — on the findings. To assess the possible effects of these variables, we have compared the retention rates in two similar naltrexone programmes. The first programme (hospital sample) included 56 individuals who were also included in the SMS where they accounted for 37% of the total sample. That programme was developed formerly to the naltrexone marketing. The second sample (ambulatory sample) included 67 individuals who were recruited at least a year apart since naltrexone marketing was approved by the Spanish Health Boards. The time-lag between the beginnig of both studies was in the range of 15 to 25 months.
The subjects in both programmes had similar distributions regarding age (p = 0.27), sex (p = 0.79), weeks on treatment after naltrexone induction (p = 0.20), and program compliance (p = 0.78). The retention rates evaluated over a period of 24 weeks were also similar (p = 0.45). The only difference appeared at 12 weeks of follow-up, showing in higher retention the hospital sample than the ambulatory sample (+23%; p < 0.05). The results are discussed according to other studies and it is concluded that findings reported in the former SMS and in this study are not unusual but compatible with recent research. Also underlined is the potential importance of naltrexone as a concomitant treatment for extinguishing high risk behaviours and the conditional stimuli associated with treatment relapse in heroin addicts.
The Eiffel study is a longitudinal, naturalistic study of patients with first episode psychosis (FEP) designed to evaluate the predictive value of defective insight on treatment adherence and global functioning.
Five hundred seventy-seven patients with FEP were assessed at baseline and at a 1-year follow-up. They were compared in terms of sociodemographic factors, psychopathology, insight, treatment adherence and functional outcome. Longitudinal functionality was prospectively assessed with the clinical global impression (CGI) and global assessment of functioning (GAF) rating scales.
At baseline, up to 50% of our sample presented with a lack of insight. Most clinical symptoms, including insight, improved over the follow-up period. Insight, education and social withdrawal significantly predicted CGI and GAF at follow-up. Insight and level of education were predictive of treatment adherence.
Insight significantly predicted the general clinical course, treatment adherence and functional outcome in our FEP sample after 1 year. Only education additionally accounted for the longitudinal course. Since our results suggest that better insight improves treatment adherence and consequently clinical course and functional outcome, insight could be a specific target of treatment in early intervention programs.
Prescription Patterns Among Spanish Inpatients with Schizophrenia
R Oberguggenberger1,2, N Ruiz 1, M Ortega1, C Roset1, Y Rendal1, J Salva1, Lago E1, P Herbera1
1. Hospital Son Espases, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
2. Hospital Psiquiátrico. Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Polypharmacy in patients with schizophrenia is frequent in the short term and long term treatment. Prevalence of up to 50% of polypharmacy has been shown in some clinical settings. There is scare evidence of the prevalence of polypharmacy in inpatient settings.
The goal of this retrospective study is to assess the prescription patterns of patients with schizophrenia in a Spanish inpatient setting.
Records of all admissions between 2010 until 2012 in the adult ward of a public heatlh service in Palma de Mallorca will be analysed in this study.
The results will show current prescription patterns of patients with schizophrenia in a Spanish inpatient setting.