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Despite a growing understanding of disorders of consciousness following severe brain injury, the association between long-term impairment of consciousness, spontaneous brain oscillations, and underlying subcortical damage, and the ability of such information to aid patient diagnosis, remains incomplete.
Cross-sectional observational sample of 116 patients with a disorder of consciousness secondary to brain injury, collected prospectively at a tertiary center between 2011 and 2013. Multimodal analyses relating clinical measures of impairment, electroencephalographic measures of spontaneous brain activity, and magnetic resonance imaging data of subcortical atrophy were conducted in 2018.
In the final analyzed sample of 61 patients, systematic associations were found between electroencephalographic power spectra and subcortical damage. Specifically, the ratio of beta-to-delta relative power was negatively associated with greater atrophy in regions of the bilateral thalamus and globus pallidus (both left > right) previously shown to be preferentially atrophied in chronic disorders of consciousness. Power spectrum total density was also negatively associated with widespread atrophy in regions of the left globus pallidus, right caudate, and in the brainstem. Furthermore, we showed that the combination of demographics, encephalographic, and imaging data in an analytic framework can be employed to aid behavioral diagnosis.
These results ground, for the first time, electroencephalographic presentation detected with routine clinical techniques in the underlying brain pathology of disorders of consciousness and demonstrate how multimodal combination of clinical, electroencephalographic, and imaging data can be employed in potentially mitigating the high rates of misdiagnosis typical of this patient cohort.
To identify factors associated with suicide attempts using data from a large, 3-year, multinational follow-up study of schizophrenia (SOHO study).
All baseline characteristics of 8,871 adult patients with schizophrenia collected in patients included in the SOHO study were included in a GEE logistic regression post-hoc analysis comparing patients who attempted suicide during the study with those who did not.
A total of 384 (4.3%) patients attempted or committed suicide. The risk factors that resulted statistically associated with suicide attempt were a lifetime history of suicide attempts (OR 3.6 [95% CI 2.8, 4.6; p< 0.0001]), suicide attempts in the last 6 months (OR 2.5 [95% CI 1.8, 3.4; p< 0.0001]), prolactin-related side effects (OR 2.0 [95%CI 1.4, 2.9; p=0.0002]), CGI depression (OR 1.2 [95% CI 1.1, 1.3; p=0.0004]) and history of hospitalization for schizophrenia (OR 1.4 [95% CI 1.1, 1.8; p=0.009]).
In view of the observational design of the study and the post-hoc nature of the analysis, the identified risk factors should be confirmed by ad-hoc specifically designed studies.
A minimal brain damage examination was carried out in 73 schizophrenic patients divided into three groups according to their season of birth. Results showed no statistically significant difference among groups in the prevalence of neurological soft signs.
The interest in social adjustment of psychiatric patients has increased since potent therapeutic strategies have become available, allowing patient treatment within their natural social habitat. DSM III has formally recognized the need to evaluate social variables for each patient, introducing Axis V into its multiaxial system. This is of particular relevance for personality disorders where the main pathology is manifested within the social context. In this study, 94 patients with a DSM III-R diagnosis of Panic Disorder, Major Depression, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder have been evaluated with PDE (Personality Disorders Examination) to detect the presence of DSM III personality disorders, and with SAS (Social Adjustment Scale) to assess social adjustment. Results have shown that both Axis I and Axis II diagnoses affect social adjustment, though in a slightly different manner.
To evaluate the clinical and functional effects of cannabis abuse in patients at First Episode Psychosis (FEP) referring to Community Mental Health Centre (CMHC) “Bologna Ovest” and in patients admitted with a diagnosis of psychosis at the Modena Emergency Psychiatry Ward (EPW).
All FEP patients, aged 18-35, referring to CMCH “Bologna Ovest” in a 6-years period were evaluated and followed-up at 3 and 12 months. Of the 1559 psychiatric admissions at the Modena EPW in a 3-year period, those with a positive history for substance abuse were selected.
Among the 88 Bologna Ovest FEPs, 32% were cannabis abusers (FEP-c). In Bologna, FEP-c were more frequently natives (23.39% vs 31.13%; c sq=5.1; p=0.02) single (26.38% vs 0,0% c sq=7.3, p=0.007) and unemployed (13.50% vs 18.32%, c sq=2.4, p=0.1). Non FEP-c did not use any other drug (0.0% vs 26.1%, c sq=77.5; p< 0.001). A trend towards higher prevalence of hospital admission at follow-up was found for FEP-c (4.20% vs 2.4%, c sq=3.8, p=0.07). 22.0% of patients admitted at the Modena EPW had a positive history for substance abuse: of these, 7% were diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, which significantly correlated with the use of cannabinoids (alone or in association).
Our results enlighten that cannabis use is frequent among psychotic patients admitted to hospital and worsens clinical course of FEP patients, consistently with previous evidence (Hambrecht & Hafner, 1996; Hafner et al., 2004).
White matter abnormalities play a prominent role in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies showed a widespread decrease in fractional anisotropy (FA) in psychotic disorders.
To examine white and grey matter abnormalities in first episode psychosis (FEP).
We obtained T1-weighted and DTI magnetic resonance images (1.5 T) from 8 right-handed drug-naïve FEP patients and 8 healthy controls. The DTI data set was used to calculate FA maps; we carried-out optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis of grey matter (GM) and FA maps using SPM2.
Patients were assessed with a neuropsychological battery comprising the Trail Making Test, the Stroop Colour Word Test, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test and a test of Facial Affect recognition.
The voxelwise analysis showed decreased FA in the superior longitudinal and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculi, bilaterally, and in the left uncinate fasciculus. We observed reduced GM volume in the left frontal cortex (Brodmann areas [BA] 47, 13, 11, 10, and 9) and in right frontal (BA6), temporal (BA34) and occipital (BA 18, 19, and 30) cortex.
Neuropsychological assessment showed impaired executive function and deficit in facial affect recognition.
Our findings showed fronto-temporal disconnectivity in FEP and structural alterations in both cortical and subcortical regions.
Neuroanatomical findings are consistent with patients’ neuropsychological performance.
Further studies to establish a relationship between white and grey matter disarray on one hand and neuropsychological testing are needed.
The concept of Deficit Schizophrenia (DS) is considered one of the most promising attempts to reduce heterogeneity within schizophrenia. Few prospective studies tested its longitudinal stability and ability to predict clinical features and outcome at five years follow-up.
In the present study 51 patients with DS and 43 with Nondeficit Schizophrenia (NDS), previously included in an Italian Multicenter Study on Deficit Schizophrenia, were reassessed after 5 years from the initial evaluation. The diagnosis of DS and NDS was made by raters blind to initial categorization using the Schedule for the Deficit Syndrome. Clinical, neurocognitive and social outcome indices were also evaluated.
The follow-up diagnosis confirmed the baseline one in forty-two out of 51 patients with DS (82.4%) and in 35 out of 54 with NDS (79.6%). Clinical, neuropsychological and social functioning characterization of patients with DS also revealed high reproducibility with respect to baseline assessment: anergia and negative dimension, social isolation and neurocognitive impairment (in particular general cognitive abilities and attention impairment) were more severe in patients with DS than in those with NDS. In neither group a significant deterioration of clinical, neurocognitive and social functioning indices was found, in line with previous studies in patients with chronic schizophrenia.
Study findings provide evidence for the long-term stability of Deficit Schizophrenia.
Our Psychiatry Ward (SC Psichiatria, Maggiore della Carità Hospital, Novara) has a longstanding tradition in the training of clinicians (psychiatrists, but also non-psychiatrists) about the importance of the approach in helping relationships. This tradition reflects itself in the organization of the assistance to the acute psychiatric inpatients admitted to the Ward. In addition to treatment as usual, patients have the opportunity of being involved in several group activities. The activities are proposed to them, with an approach that varies according to the patient's lifetime diagnosis, current conditions, relational difficulties, etc. In other words, different activities may be proposed to different patients, in different ways.
To describe the integrated treatment approach we use in our Psychiatry Ward.
Group activities are guided by a group leader who is supported by one or two assistants whose role is to facilitate discussion. Activities include: Newspaper Reading (everyday in the morning, 1 hour); Music Listening Group (once a week; 1 hour); Cinema Group (once a week; 2 hours and a half); Fairytale Group (on alternating days in the evening, 1 hour).
More details will be supplied regarding the theoretical background for the group, the group features/implementation, and its specific objectives.
All the group activities integrate themselves in an early rehabilitation project tailored to each patients' characteristics and needs. Briefly, their main objectives include: 1) to help patients endorse their cognitive, emotional and relational skills; 2) to offer support to the crisis they are experiencing, which led them to admission to the Ward.
The Brief Negative Symptom Scale (BNSS) was developed to address the main limitations of the existing scales for the assessment of negative symptoms of schizophrenia. The initial validation of the scale by the group involved in its development demonstrated good convergent and discriminant validity, and a factor structure confirming the two domains of negative symptoms (reduced emotional/verbal expression and anhedonia/asociality/avolition). However, only relatively small samples of patients with schizophrenia were investigated. Further independent validation in large clinical samples might be instrumental to the broad diffusion of the scale in clinical research.
The present study aimed to examine the BNSS inter-rater reliability, convergent/discriminant validity and factor structure in a large Italian sample of outpatients with schizophrenia.
Our results confirmed the excellent inter-rater reliability of the BNSS (the intraclass correlation coefficient ranged from 0.81 to 0.98 for individual items and was 0.98 for the total score). The convergent validity measures had r values from 0.62 to 0.77, while the divergent validity measures had r values from 0.20 to 0.28 in the main sample (n = 912) and in a subsample without clinically significant levels of depression and extrapyramidal symptoms (n = 496). The BNSS factor structure was supported in both groups.
The study confirms that the BNSS is a promising measure for quantifying negative symptoms of schizophrenia in large multicenter clinical studies.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has demonstrated gender-specific prevalence and expressions across the different DSM definitions, since its first introduction in DSM-III. The DSM-5 recently introduced important revisions to PTSD symptomatological criteria. Aim of the present study is to explore whether gender moderates rates of DSM-5 PTSD expression in a non-clinical sample of survivors to a massive earthquake in Italy.
A sample of 450 survivors of the L’Aquila 2009 earthquake, previously investigated for the presence DSM-IV-TR PTSD, was reassessed according to DSM-5 criteria in order to explore gender differences. All subjects completed the Trauma and Loss Spectrum-Self Report (TALS-SR).
Females showed significantly higher DSM-5 PTSD rates and rates of endorsement of almost all DSM-5 PTSD criteria. Significant gender differences emerged in almost half of PTSD symptomatological criteria with women reporting higher rates in almost half of them, while men in only one (a new symptom in DSM-5: reckless or self-destructive behavior). Considering the impact of the three new DSM-5 symptoms on the diagnosis, significant gender differences emerged with these being crucial in almost half of the PTSD diagnoses in males but in about onefourth in females.
This study provides a contribution to the ongoing need for reassessment on how gender moderates rates of expression of particular disorders such as PTSD.
Negative symptoms have been associated with functional outcome of patients with schizophrenia by a large body of literature. However, in previous studies negative symptoms were regarded as a unitary construct, while recent literature data suggest that they include at least two factors, ‘Avolition” and ‘Poor Emotional Expression” (EE), that might show different relationships to functional outcome; moreover, the inter-relationships of negative symptoms, neurocognition, social cognition and real-life functioning are poorly understood.
A large multicenter study was carried out by the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses to model relationship between the negative symptom domains and real-life functioning, taking into account the role of other psychopathological dimensions including depression, neurocognition, functional capacity and social cognition.
A structural equation model was used to investigate direct and indirect effects of the 2 negative symptoms domains, other psychopathological dimensions, including depression, and neurocognition on real-life functioning. Social cognition and functional capacity were modeled as mediators.
In 921 patients with schizophrenia we found that the considered variables explained about 50% of real-life functioning variance. Avolition and functional capacity were the strongest independent predictors, followed by positive and disorganization dimensions, neurocognition and social cognition. EE had only a modest indirect effect on functioning. Neurocognition strongly predicted functional capacity and social cognition, which mediated its effects on functioning.
Our results support the heterogeneity of the two negative symptom domains. Only avolition is a strong predictor of functioning in real-life of patients with schizophrenia independent of social cognition, neurocognition and functional capacity.
The study was carried out within the project ‘Multicenter study on factors influencing real-life social functioning of people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia” of the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses.
Individual social capital has been recognized as having an important role for health and well-being. We tested the hypothesis that poor social capital increases internalized stigma and, in turn, can reduce empowerment among people with major depressive disorder (MDD).
Materials and methods:
This is a cross-sectional multisite study conducted on a sample of 516 people with MDD in 19 European countries. Structural Equation Models were developed to examine the direct and indirect effects of self-stigma and social capital on empowerment.
Social capital and self-stigma accounted for 56% of the variability in empowerment. Higher social capital was related to lower self-stigma (r = –0.72, P < 0.001) which, in turn, partially mediated the relationship between social capital and empowerment (r = 0.38, P < 0.001).
Social capital plays a key role in the appraisal of empowerment, both directly and through the indirect effect mediated by self-stigma. In order to improve empowerment of people with MDD, we identify strategies to foster individual social capital, and to overcome the negative consequences related to self-stigma for attainment of life goals.
Bipolar patients are at higher risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality than their counterparts in the general population. In a recent in vitro study, Asenapine, a new antipsychotic for the treatment of mania/mixed mania, was found to keep physiological endothelial function by activation of eNOS-related NO release and to protect endothelial cells against peroxidation by interference with mitochondria, apoptosis and cell survival.
To examine the cardiac protective effects elicited by Asenapine against peroxidation and on the Ca2+ movements.
In HL-1 that had undergone oxidative stress by 20 min hydrogen peroxide the effects of 30 min pre-treatment with Asenapine on survival and proliferation will be examined. In Fura-2AM loaded HL-1 we will next analyze the effects of Asenapine on Ca2+ movements and the related involvement of cAMP/PKA and PLC pathways, CaMKII, L and T type Ca2+ channels and 5HT1A receptors. The role of ‘capacitative” Ca2+ entry, plasma-membrane Ca2+ pump inhibitor (PMCA) and Na+/Ca2+ exchanger will be analyzed. Changes of membrane potential caused by interference with K+ channels will be examined, as well.
We expect to find a proliferative and anti-peroxidative effect of Asenapine in HL-1 cells. Asenapine could also affect Ca2+ movements through cAMP/PKA and PLC-dependent signalling and the involvement of 5HT1A receptors. The effects of Asenapine could also be related to changes of plasma membrane by interference with K+ channels and the modulation of PMCA activity and Na+/Ca2+ exchanger.
We expect to further confirm the protective effect of Asenapine against peroxidative injuries. Implications will be discussed
The Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service of the Modena General Hospital collaborates regularly with the Cardiology Clinic, within the Woman Wellness Project (WWP). Aim of this collaboration is detection and prevention of post-menopausal correlated diseases, including psychiatric syndromes.
To investigate the association between cardiovascular risk factors (BMI, blood pressure, hyperglycemia, hypertrygliceridemia) and psychiatric symptoms in peri-post menopausal.
Ecological study. Data between January 2008 and December 2012 were collected. Correlations, logistic regessions and categorial regressions were performed with STATA.
675 outpatients attended the WWP. 90 (13.3%) were referred to the psychiatrist; 9 refused the examination. Of the remaining 57.7% had a positive psychiatric history and 22.03% already receaved a psychiatric therapy. 40.6% had at least two medical diseases, mainly: overweight (54.2%), hypertension (40.7%) and dyslipidemia (49.1%). After psychiatric consultation emerged that: 11.9% had anxiety symptoms, 27.1% had depressive symptoms and 47.5% presented both anxiety and depressive symptoms. Only 7 patients (11.9%) had a negative psychiatric examination. The regression analysis pointed out no significant association between the cardiometabolic risk-factors and the psychiatric symptomatology. Differently, the outcome at the end of the psychiatric consultation was associated with BMI (r = −.26; p = .05) and heart rate (r = .33; p = .01).
Heart rate and BMI emerge as factors associated with the psychiatric symptomatology presented by the patient. This finding is consistent with previous researches. The absence of significant associations at the regression analysis could be explained by the small sample considered in the present study.
PERDOVE study is a prospective observational cohort study, which providing follow-up at one year, aims to investigate the socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of patients in in the 23 medium-long term RFs of the St John of God Order.
(1) To describe the sociodemographic, clinical, and treatment-related characteristics of RF-patients during an index period in 2010;
(2) to identify predictors and characteristics associated with discharge at 1-year follow-up;
(3) to evaluate clinicians’ predictions about each patient's likelihood of Home Discharge (HD).
All patients staying in September 2010 with a primary psychiatric diagnosis received a set of standardized assessment instruments, including a “Patient Schedule”, BPRS, HONOS, PSP, PHI, and SLOF. Detailed socio-demographic and clinical data were also collected. Logistic regression analyses were run to identify independent discharge predictors.
The study involved 403 patients. 66,7% is male, mean age is 49 (±10). 70.7% is unmarried. The average duration of illness of these patients is 23 years. Primary diagnosis is represented by schizophrenic spectrum disorders (67.5%). At 1 year follow-up, 104 patients (25.8%) were discharged: 13.6% to home, 8.2% to other RFs, 2.2% to supported housing, and 1.5% to prison.
The main variables associated with a higher likelihood of being discharge to home were: to have an illness duration of less than 15 years and to have an available and effective social support in the last year. Lower severity of psychopathology, and higher working skills were also associated with a significantly higher likelihood to be discharged to home.
Many cross-sectional studies have explored the relationship between subjective QOL of people with schizophrenia and different socio-demographic characteristics, clinical and psychosocial factors. Only few studies tried to identify factors that influence the QOL of these patients using a longitudinal design.
Aim of the present study was to determine influence of clinical factors, socio-demographic variables, spirituality and satisfaction with services on QOL, to identify clinical predictors associated with quality of life at one year follow-up.
Material and methods
Measures at baseline included: demographics, BPRS, PHI, RBANS, FPS, HoNOS, SWBS, VSSS, and the Italian version of the WHOQoL-Brief. Measures at follow up included: HONOS, BPRS, FPS, WHOQoL-Brief. Logistic regression models were adopted to evaluate the association between WHOQoL-Brief scores and patient's sociodemographics, clinical characteristics, spirituality and services’ satisfaction.
The study included 171 patients: 64% males; mean age 48.7 (sd=8.9) with primary diagnosis of schizophrenia. Different domains of QOL were predicted by different indicators at baseline. Younger age, more time spending doing nothing, lower BPRS, lower satisfaction with services were explanatory variables for low quality of life in psychological facet. Spirituality and religiousness were associated with Environmental domain and VSSS was associated to all QOL domains.
Rehabilitation plans for people with schizophrenia living in RFs should pay attention to mediators of change in subjective QOL such as level of activities, social support, spirituality and satisfaction with mental health services. In particular, anxiety and depressive symptoms remain as long-term outcomes of QOL at one year follow up.
The Brief Negative Symptom Scale (BNSS) was designed to address the main limitations of the existing scales for the assessment of negative symptoms in schizophrenia. The first validation of the scale by the same group involved in its development showed good convergent and discriminant validity, and a factor structure which confirmed the two domains of negative symptoms (reduced emotional/verbal expression and anhedonia/asociality/avolition). Nevertheless, the investigated samples of patients with schizophrenia were relatively small.
The present study aimed at providing a further independent validation of the BNSS in a large clinical sample to promote a wider diffusion of the scale in clinical research.
The inter-rater reliability, convergent/discriminant validity and factor structure of the Italian version of the BNSS were evaluated in 912 outpatients with schizophrenia recruited within an Italian multicenter study.
Our results confirmed the strong inter-rater reliability of the BNSS (the intraclass correlation coefficient ranged from 0.81 to 0.98 for individual items and was 0.98 for the total score). The convergent validity measures had r values from 0.62 to 0.77, while the divergent validity measures had r values from 0.20 to 0.28 in the whole sample (N=912) and in a smaller group of patients without clinically significant levels of depression and extrapyramidal symptoms (N=496). The BNSS factor structure was supported in both groups.
According to our results the BNSS is a promising measure for quantifying negative symptoms of schizophrenia in large multicenter clinical studies.
The study was carried out within the project 'Multicenter study on factors influencing real-life social functioning of people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia” of the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses.