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Compulsory community treatment orders (CTOs) are controversial because they enforce psychiatric treatment of patients in the community. It is important to know which patients benefit from compulsory treatment to better inform CTO use.
To examine the effect of a range of diagnoses on outcomes associated with CTOs to determine whether there are specific outcome signatures for CTOs according to diagnosis.
New Zealand's Ministry of Health databases provided demographic, service use and medication-dispensing data for all individuals placed on a CTO between 2009 and 2018. We used a hierarchical approach to categorise individuals according to diagnosis. Admission rates, admission days per year, community care and medication dispensing were analysed according to diagnosis and CTO status.
In total, 14 726 patients were placed on a CTO over the 10-year period between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2018. For psychotic disorders, CTOs were associated with reduced admission frequency and duration. However, the opposite occurred for dementia disorders, bipolar disorders, major depressive disorder and personality disorders. Higher rates of medications, including depot antipsychotic medications, were dispensed on CTOs for all diagnostic groups.
CTOs were associated with reduced admission frequency and admission days per year for patients with psychotic disorders, whereas the opposite occurred for other diagnostic groups. Rather than seeking to establish whether CTOs are effective, we suggest that there are specific outcome signatures associated with CTOs for different disorders and knowledge of these can improve understanding and clinical practice in this area.
Although most people do not develop mental health disorders after exposure to traumatic events, they may experience subtle changes in cognitive functioning. We previously reported that 2–3 years after the Canterbury earthquake sequence, a group of trauma-exposed people, who identified as resilient, performed less well on tests of spatial memory, had increased accuracy identifying facial emotions and misclassified neutral facial expressions to threat-related emotions, compared with non-exposed controls.
The current study aimed to examine the long-term cognitive effects of exposure to the earthquakes in this resilient group, compared with a matched non-exposed control group.
At 8–9 years after the Canterbury earthquake sequence, 57 earthquake-exposed resilient (69% female, mean age 56.8 years) and 60 non-exposed individuals (63% female, mean age 55.7 years) completed a cognitive testing battery that assessed verbal and visuospatial learning and memory, executive functioning, psychomotor speed, sustained attention and social cognition.
With the exception of a measure of working memory (Digit Span Forward), no significant differences were found in performance between the earthquake-exposed resilient and non-exposed groups on the cognitive tasks. Examination of changes in cognitive functioning over time in a subset (55%) of the original earthquake-exposed resilient group found improvement in visuospatial performance and slowing of reaction times to negative emotions.
These findings offer preliminary evidence to suggest that changes in cognitive functioning and emotion processing in earthquake-exposed resilient people may be state-dependent and related to exposure to continued threat in the environment, which improves when the threat resolves.
Cognitive screening tests are culture bound and have been shown to perform differently depending on the culture, even with adequate translation. Khan et al examine in detail ways in which the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) has been modified for different languages and cultures and produce a systematic guide for future modifications. However, questions arise regarding the availability of the MoCA. Other important issues in the transcultural use and modification of neuropsychiatric tests include providing a culturally safe context for testing, understanding the cultural context in which screening takes place and assessing other neuropsychiatric conditions, which may manifest differently in different cultural contexts and which affect cognition.
The relationship between irritability as a subjective experience and the behavioural indicators typically used to measure the construct are not known. Its links to mood, and contextual relationships, vary with age and are yet to be thoroughly examined.
First, to interrogate the relationship between the subjective experience of irritability and mood, and that with its behavioural indicators. Second, to determine how these relationships vary with age and over time.
This study examined data from a previous clinical trial of adolescents and young adults (N = 82) with bipolar disorder, who received a psychological intervention over 18 months. Participants completed a battery of questionnaires, which included assessments of irritability. Analyses of covariance were conducted to examine the interaction between mood symptoms, subjective measures of irritability, behavioural measures of irritability and age over time.
Subjective irritability scores differed significantly over time when controlling for manic, but not depressive, symptom scores. Further, subjective irritability significantly differed when controlling for behavioural measures of irritability (temper outbursts and argumentativeness). There were significant interactions between scores of depressive symptoms, temper outbursts and subjective irritability with age, wherein younger participants showed no correlation between depressive symptoms and temper outbursts. In addition, younger participants showed lower correlations between subjective irritability and both depressive and temper outburst scores, than older participants.
Subjective irritability is linked to mood morbidity and behavioural outbursts, and these relationships are contingent on age. Our novel findings suggest that subjective irritability should be assessed in greater detail in patients with mood disorders.
Irritability is a transdiagnostic phenomenon that, despite its ubiquity and significant impact, is poorly conceptualised, defined and measured. As it lacks specificity, efforts to examine irritability in adults by using a diagnostic category perspective have been hamstrung. Therefore, using a Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) approach to examine irritability in adults, which spans many constructs and domains, may have a better chance of yielding underlying mechanisms that can then be mapped onto various diagnostic categories. Recently, a model has been proposed for irritability in children and adolescents that uses the RDoC framework; however, this model, which accounts for chronic, persistent irritability, may not necessarily transpose to adults. Therefore, use of the RDoC framework to examine irritability in adults is urgently needed, as it may shed light on this currently amorphous phenomenon and the many disorders within which it operates.
Cognitive impairment plays a key role in determining the course of illness and functional outcomes in mood disorders. This article summarises and discusses important papers within this thematic series of BJPsych Open that contribute to a greater understanding of the complexity of ‘Cognition in Mood Disorders’.
Emotional cognition and effective interpretation of affective information is an important factor in social interactions and everyday functioning, and difficulties in these areas may contribute to aetiology and maintenance of mental health conditions. In younger people with depression and anxiety, research suggests significant alterations in behavioural and brain activation aspects of emotion processing, with a tendency to appraise neutral stimuli as negative and attend preferentially to negative stimuli. However, in ageing, research suggests that emotion processing becomes subject to a ‘positivity effect’, whereby older people attend more to positive than negative stimuli.
This review examines data from studies of emotion processing in Late-Life Depression and Late-Life Anxiety to attempt to understand the significance of emotion processing variations in these conditions, and their interaction with changes in emotion processing that occur with ageing.
We conducted a systematic review following PRISMA guidelines. Articles that used an emotion-based processing task, examined older persons with depression or an anxiety disorder and included a healthy control group were included.
In Late-Life Depression, there is little consistent behavioural evidence of impaired emotion processing, but there is evidence of altered brain circuitry during these processes. In Late-Life Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, there is evidence of interference with processing of negative or threat-related words.
How these findings fit with the positivity bias of ageing is not clear. Future research is required in larger groups, further examining the interaction between illness and age and the significance of age at disease onset.
Despite evidence of gender differences in bipolar disorder characteristics and comorbidity, there is little research on the differences in treatment and service use between men and women with bipolar disorder.
To use routine data to describe specialist mental health service contact for bipolar disorder, including in-patient, community and support service contacts; to compare clinical characteristics and mental health service use between men and women in contact with secondary services for bipolar disorder.
Cross-sectional analysis of mental health patients with bipolar disorder in New Zealand, based on complete national routine health data.
A total of 3639 individuals were in contact with specialist mental health services with a current diagnosis of bipolar disorder in 2015. Of these 58% were women and 46% were aged 45 and over. The 1-year prevalence rate of bipolar disorder leading to contact with specialist mental health services was 1.56 (95% CI 1.50–1.63) per 100 000 women and 1.20 (95% CI 1.14–1.26) per 100 000 men. Rates of bipolar disorder leading to service contact were 30% higher in women than men (rate ratio 1.30, 95% CI 1.22–1.39). The majority (68%) had a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder. Women were more likely to receive only out-patient treatment and have comorbid anxiety whereas more men had substance use disorder, were convicted for crimes when unwell, received compulsory treatment orders and received in-patient treatment.
Although the prevalence of bipolar disorder is equal between men and women in the population, women were more likely to have contact with specialist services for bipolar disorder but had a lower intensity of service interaction.
Cognitive impairment is a core feature of depression and has a negative effect on a person's functioning, in psychosocial and interpersonal areas, and on workforce performance. Cognitive impairment often persists, even with the remittance of mood symptoms. One potential way of improving treatment of cognitive impairment would be to identify variables that predict cognitive change in patients with depression.
To systematically examine findings from studies that investigate baseline variables and how they predict, or correlate with, cognitive change in mood disorders, and to examine methodological issues from these studies.
Studies that directly measured associations between at least one baseline variable and change in cognitive outcome in patients with current major depressive episode were identified using PubMed and Web of Science databases. Narrative review technique was used because of the heterogeneity of patient samples, outcome measures and study procedures. The review was registered on PROSPERO with registration number CRD42020150975.
Twenty-four studies met the inclusion criteria. Evidence from the present review for prediction of cognitive change from baseline variables was limited for demographic factors, with some preliminary evidence for depression, cognitive and biological factors. Identification of patterns across studies was difficult because of methodological variability across studies.
Findings from the present review suggest there may be some baseline variables that are useful in predicting cognitive change in mood disorders. This is an area warranting further research focus.
Cognitive impairment is considered a core feature of major depressive disorder (MDD) and research into psychological treatments aiming to address cognitive impairment are gaining momentum. Compared with the well-established research base of cognitive treatment trials in schizophrenia, including meta-analyses, mood disorder research is much more preliminary.
To focus on identifying the important factors to consider in developing larger-scale psychological treatment trials targeting cognitive impairment in mood disorders. Trial design recommendations have been published for cognitive treatment trials in bipolar disorder.
An in-depth discussion of methodological considerations in the development of cognitive treatment trials for MDD.
Methodological considerations include: screening for, and defining, cognitive impairment; mood state when cognitive intervention begins; medication monitoring during cognitive interventions; use of concomitant therapy; level of therapist involvement; duration and dose of treatment; choice of specific cognitive training exercises; home practice; improving adherence; appropriate comparison therapies in clinical trials; and choice of primary outcomes.
As well as guidance for clinical trial development, this review may be helpful for clinicians wanting to provide cognitive interventions for individuals with MDD.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is recommended in treatment guidelines as an efficacious therapy for treatment-resistant depression. However, it has been associated with loss of autobiographical memory and short-term reduction in new learning.
To provide clinically useful guidelines to aid clinicians in informing patients regarding the cognitive side-effects of ECT and in monitoring these during a course of ECT, using complex data.
A Committee of clinical and academic experts from Australia and New Zealand met to the discuss the key issues pertaining to ECT and cognitive side-effects. Evidence regarding cognitive side-effects was reviewed, as was the limited evidence regarding how to monitor them. Both issues were supplemented by the clinical experience of the authors.
Meta-analyses suggest that new learning is impaired immediately following ECT but that group mean scores return at least to baseline by 14 days after ECT. Other cognitive functions are generally unaffected. However, the finding of a mean score that is not reduced from baseline cannot be taken to indicate that impairment, particularly of new learning, cannot occur in individuals, particularly those who are at greater risk. Therefore, monitoring is still important. Evidence suggests that ECT does cause deficits in autobiographical memory. The evidence for schedules of testing to monitor cognitive side-effects is currently limited. We therefore make practical recommendations based on clinical experience.
Despite modern ECT techniques, cognitive side-effects remain an important issue, although their nature and degree remains to be clarified fully. In these circumstances it is useful for clinicians to have guidance regarding what to tell patients and how to monitor these side-effects clinically.
Memory impairment is an important side-effect of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). However, predicting which patients are at increased risk of developing this is difficult. The study by Sigström et al compares patients’ experience of memory difficulties before and after ECT and suggests that patients with negative expectations of ECT's memory effects are more likely to have subjective memory worsening post-ECT. This intriguing finding suggests that clinicians may be able to modify the risk of patients developing subjective memory difficulties post-ECT by providing appropriate information and addressing concerns prior to treatment, during the informed consent process.
Optimal stroke care requires access to resources such as neuroimaging, acute revascularization, rehabilitation, and stroke prevention services, which may not be available in rural areas. We aimed to determine geographic access to stroke care for residents of rural communities in the province of Ontario, Canada.
We used the Ontario Road Network File database linked with the 2016 Ontario Acute Stroke Care Resource Inventory to estimate the proportion of people in rural communities, defined as those with a population size <10,000, who were within 30, 60, and 240 minutes of travel time by car from stroke care services, including brain imaging, thrombolysis treatment centers, stroke units, stroke prevention clinics, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and endovascular treatment centers.
Of the 1,496,262 people residing in rural communities, the majority resided within 60 minutes of driving time to a center with computed tomography (85%), thrombolysis (81%), a stroke unit (68%), a stroke prevention clinic (74%), or inpatient rehabilitation (77.0%), but a much lower proportion (32%) were within 60 minutes of driving time to a center capable of providing endovascular thrombectomy (EVT).
Most rural Ontario residents have appropriate geographic access to stroke services, with the exception of EVT. This information may be useful for jurisdictions seeking to optimize the regional organization of stroke care services.
The term ‘mood stabiliser’ is ill-defined and lacks clinical utility. We propose a framework to evaluate medications and effectively communicate their mood stabilising properties – their acute and prophylactic efficacy across the domains of mania and depression. The standardised framework provides a common definition to facilitate research and clinical practice.
Declaration of interest
The Treatment Algorithm Group (TAG) was supported logistically by Servier who provided financial assistance with travel and accommodation for those TAG members travelling interstate or overseas to attend the meeting in Sydney (held on 18 November 2017). None of the committee were paid to participate in this project and Servier have not had any input into the content, format or outputs from this project.
Connectedness is a central dimension of personal recovery from severe mental illness (SMI). Research reports that people with SMI have lower social capital and poorer-quality social networks compared to the general population.
To identify personal well-being network (PWN) types and explore additional insights from mapping connections to places and activities alongside social ties.
We carried out 150 interviews with individuals with SMI and mapped social ties, places and activities and their impact on well-being. PWN types were developed using social network analysis and hierarchical k-means clustering of this data.
Three PWN types were identified: formal and sparse; family and stable; and diverse and active. Well-being and social capital varied within and among types. Place and activity data indicated important contextual differences within social connections that were not found by mapping social networks alone.
Place locations and meaningful activities are important aspects of people's social worlds. Mapped alongside social networks, PWNs have important implications for person-centred recovery approaches through providing a broader understanding of individual's lives and resources.
Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) is a neurologic event with symptom resolution within 24 hours. Early specialist assessment of TIA reduces risk of stroke and death. National United Kingdom (UK) guidelines recommend patients with TIA are seen in specialist clinics within 24 hours (high risk) or seven days (low risk).
We aimed to develop a complex intervention for patients with low risk TIA presenting to the emergency ambulance service. The intervention is being tested in the TIER feasibility trial, in line with Medical Research Council (MRC) guidance on staged development and evaluation of complex interventions.
We conducted three interrelated activities to produce the TIER intervention:
• Survey of UK Ambulance Services (n = 13) to gather information about TIA pathways already in use
• Scoping review of literature describing prehospital care of patients with TIA
• Synthesis of data and definition of intervention by specialist panel of: paramedics; Emergency Department (ED) and stroke consultants; service users; ambulance service managers.
The panel used results to define the TIER intervention, to include:
1. Protocol for paramedics to assess patients presenting with TIA and identify and refer low risk patients for prompt (< 7day) specialist review at TIA clinic
2. Patient Group Directive and information pack to allow paramedic administration of aspirin to patients left at home with referral to TIA clinic
3. Referral process via ambulance control room
4. Training package for paramedics
5. Agreement with TIA clinic service provider including rapid review of referred patients
We followed MRC guidance to develop a clinical intervention for assessment and referral of low risk TIA patients attended by emergency ambulance paramedic. We are testing feasibility of implementing and evaluating this intervention in the TIER feasibility trial which may lead to fully powered multicentre randomized controlled trial (RCT) if predefined progression criteria are met.
Studies using acute tryptophan depletion (ATD) to examine the effects of a rapid reduction in serotonin function have shown a reduction in global cognitive status during ATD in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). Based on the severe cholinergic loss evident in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease and dementia (PDD), we predicted that a reduction of global cognitive status during ATD would be greater in these conditions than in AD.
Patients having DLB or PDD underwent ATD in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, counterbalanced, crossover design.
While the study intended to test 20 patients, the protocol was poorly tolerated and terminated after six patients attempted, but only four patients – three with DLB and one with PDD – completed the protocol. The Modified Mini-Mental State Examination (3MSE) score was reduced in all three DLB patients and unchanged in the PDD and dementia patient during ATD compared with placebo.
This reduction in global cognitive function and the poor tolerability may fit with the hypothesis that people with dementia with Lewy bodies have sensitivity to the effects of reduced serotonin function.
Microalgal blooms are a natural part of the seasonal cycle of photosynthetic organisms in marine ecosystems. They are key components of the structure and dynamics of the oceans and thus sustain the benefits that humans obtain from these aquatic environments. However, some microalgal blooms can cause harm to humans and other organisms. These harmful algal blooms (HABs) have direct impacts on human health and negative influences on human wellbeing, mainly through their consequences to coastal ecosystem services (fisheries, tourism and recreation) and other marine organisms and environments. HABs are natural phenomena, but these events can be favoured by anthropogenic pressures in coastal areas. Global warming and associated changes in the oceans could affect HAB occurrences and toxicity as well, although forecasting the possible trends is still speculative and requires intensive multidisciplinary research. At the beginning of the 21st century, with expanding human populations, particularly in coastal and developing countries, mitigating HABs impacts on human health and wellbeing is becoming a more pressing public health need. The available tools to address this global challenge include maintaining intensive, multidisciplinary and collaborative scientific research, and strengthening the coordination with stakeholders, policymakers and the general public. Here we provide an overview of different aspects of the HABs phenomena, an important element of the intrinsic links between oceans and human health and wellbeing.