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Although behavior therapy reduces tic severity, it is unknown whether it improves co-occurring psychiatric symptoms and functional outcomes for adults with Tourette's disorder (TD). This information is essential for effective treatment planning. This study examined the effects of behavior therapy on psychiatric symptoms and functional outcomes in older adolescents and adults with TD.
A total of 122 individuals with TD or a chronic tic disorder participated in a clinical trial comparing behavior therapy to psychoeducation and supportive therapy. At baseline, posttreatment, and follow-up visits, participants completed assessments of tic severity, co-occurring symptoms (inattention, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, anger, anxiety, depression, obsessions, and compulsions), and psychosocial functioning. We compared changes in tic severity, psychiatric symptoms, and functional outcomes using repeated measure and one-way analysis of variance.
At posttreatment, participants receiving behavior therapy reported greater reductions in obsessions compared to participants in supportive therapy (
$\eta _p^2 $
= 0.04, p = 0.04). Across treatments, a positive treatment response on the Clinical Global Impression of Improvement scale was associated with a reduced disruption in family life (
$\eta _p^2 $
= 0.05, p = 0.02) and improved functioning in a parental role (
$\eta _p^2 $
= 0.37, p = 0.02). Participants who responded positively to eight sessions of behavior therapy had an improvement in tic severity (
$\eta _p^2 $
= 0.75, p < 0.001), inattention (
$\eta _p^2 $
= 0.48, p < 0.02), and functioning (
$\eta _p^2 $
= 0.39–0.42, p < 0.03–0.04) at the 6-month follow-up.
Behavior therapy has a therapeutic benefit for co-occurring obsessive symptoms in the short-term, and reduces tic severity and disability in adults with TD over time. Additional treatments may be necessary to address co-occurring symptoms and improve functional outcomes.
Sodium nitroprusside (SNP) has been reported to rapidly reduce psychotic symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. This has the potential to revolutionize treatment for schizophrenia. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that SNP leads to a reduction in psychotic symptoms and an improvement in spatial working memory (SWM) performance in patients with schizophrenia.
This was a single-centre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial performed from 27 August 2014 to 10 February 2016 (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT02176044). Twenty patients with schizophrenia aged 18–60 years with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were recruited from psychiatric outpatient clinics in the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, London, UK. Baseline symptoms were measured using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and the 18-item Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS-18), and SWM was assessed using the CANTAB computerized test. Participants received either an infusion of SNP (0.5 μg/kg per min for 4 h) or placebo and were re-assessed for symptoms and SWM performance immediately after the infusion, and 4 weeks later.
SNP did not lead to any reduction in psychotic symptoms or improvement in SWM performance compared to placebo.
Although this study was negative, it is possible that the beneficial effects of SNP may occur in patients with a shorter history of illness, or with more acute exacerbation of symptoms.
Evidence has accumulated that implicates childhood trauma in the aetiology of psychosis, but our understanding of the putative psychological processes and mechanisms through which childhood trauma impacts on individuals and contributes to the development of psychosis remains limited. We aimed to investigate whether stress sensitivity and threat anticipation underlie the association between childhood abuse and psychosis.
We used the Experience Sampling Method to measure stress, threat anticipation, negative affect, and psychotic experiences in 50 first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients, 44 At-Risk Mental State (ARMS) participants, and 52 controls. Childhood abuse was assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire.
Associations of minor socio-environmental stress in daily life with negative affect and psychotic experiences were modified by sexual abuse and group (all pFWE < 0.05). While there was strong evidence that these associations were greater in FEP exposed to high levels of sexual abuse, and some evidence of greater associations in ARMS exposed to high levels of sexual abuse, controls exposed to high levels of sexual abuse were more resilient and reported less intense negative emotional reactions to socio-environmental stress. A similar pattern was evident for threat anticipation.
Elevated sensitivity and lack of resilience to socio-environmental stress and enhanced threat anticipation in daily life may be important psychological processes underlying the association between childhood sexual abuse and psychosis.
Mood instability is an important problem but has received relatively little research attention. Natural language processing (NLP) is a novel method, which can used to automatically extract clinical data from electronic health records (EHRs).
To extract mood instability data from EHRs and investigate its impact on people with mental health disorders.
Data on mood instability were extracted using NLP from 27,704 adults receiving care from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) for affective, personality or psychotic disorders. These data were used to investigate the association of mood instability with different mental disorders and with hospitalisation and treatment outcomes.
Mood instability was documented in 12.1% of people included in the study. It was most frequently documented in people with bipolar disorder (22.6%), but was also common in personality disorder (17.8%) and schizophrenia (15.5%). It was associated with a greater number of days spent in hospital (B coefficient 18.5, 95% CI 12.1–24.8), greater frequency of hospitalisation (incidence rate ratio 1.95, 1.75–2.17), and an increased likelihood of prescription of antipsychotics (2.03, 1.75–2.35).
Using NLP, it was possible to identify mood instability in a large number of people, which would otherwise not have been possible by manually reading clinical records. Mood instability occurs in a wide range of mental disorders. It is generally associated with poor clinical outcomes. These findings suggest that clinicians should screen for mood instability across all common mental health disorders. The data also highlight the utility of NLP for clinical research.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
The definition of ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis was derived from community-based help-seeking populations. Prisoners have high rates of psychosis and other severe mental health (MH) problems. They also have high rates of risk factors for psychiatric morbidity and yet they are among the populations who are less likely to seek help in the community. Despite a policy of equivalence of care for individuals in prison there are no early intervention services for psychosis in prisons in the UK. This was a study exploring feasibility of introducing such a service into a local London prison. This paper discusses the differences in MH profile of prisoners who met criteria for at-risk mental state compared with those who did not.
A two-stage procedure was used. Participants in a local London prison were routinely screened in the first week of arrival in prison with the Prodrome Questionnaire – Brief Version (PQ-B; Loewy et al. 2011). Those that screened positive as well as a small sample of those who screened negative underwent a further semi-structured assessment to see whether they met criteria for UHR state. Data on self-harm and suicide attempt, family psychiatric history, and anxiety and depression was also collected.
A total of 891 prisoners were screened, 44% of whom screened positive. A total of 354 underwent second stage assessment, 60 of whom had screened negative. Four groups were identified: those that had no MH problems, a group experiencing First Episode Psychosis, those at UHR of psychosis and a group with other MH problems. The UHR state and Psychotic groups had very similar MH profiles of symptoms and distress. Prisoners with no MH problems were at the other end of the spectrum with few symptoms and little distress. The Other group fell in between this group and the psychotic spectrum group in terms of symptomology and distress.
This study is the first to examine risk for psychosis in an adult male prison population. We identified a broad spectrum of MH disorder for which there is little current service provision in prisons. Screening early in the custodial process has the potential to identify unmet MH need and has implications for keeping individuals safe in custody. A long-term strategic approach is required to address MH need in prisons.
Alterations in gray matter (GM) are commonly observed in schizophrenia. Accumulating studies suggest that the brain changes associated with schizophrenia are distributed rather than focal, involving interconnected networks of areas as opposed to single regions. In the current study we aimed to explore GM volume (GMV) changes in a relatively large sample of treatment-naive first-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients using optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and covariation analysis.
High-resolution T1-weighted images were obtained using 3.0-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from 86 first-episode drug-naive patients with schizophrenia and 86 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. Symptom severity was evaluated using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). GMV was assessed using optimized VBM and in 16 regions of interest (ROIs), selected on the basis of a previous meta-analysis. The relationships between GMVs in the ROIs were examined using an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).
The VBM analysis revealed that first-episode patients showed reduced GMV in the hippocampus bilaterally. The ROI analysis identified reductions in GMV in the left inferior frontal gyrus, bilateral hippocampus and right thalamus. The ANCOVA revealed different patterns of regional GMV correlations in patients and controls, including of inter- and intra-insula, inter-amygdala and insula–postcentral gyrus connections.
Schizophrenia involves regional reductions in GMV and changes in GMV covariance in the insula, amygdala and postcentral gyrus. These findings were evident at the onset of the disorder, before treatment, and therefore cannot be attributable to the effects of chronic illness progression or medication.
This cross-sectional study seeks to (a) describe developmental correlates of sensory hyporesponsiveness to social and nonsocial stimuli, (b) determine whether hyporesponsiveness is generalized across contexts in children with autism relative to controls, and (c) test the associations between hyporesponsiveness and social communication outcomes. Three groups of children ages 11–105 months (N = 178; autism = 63, developmental delay = 47, typical development = 68) are given developmental and sensory measures including a behavioral orienting task (the Sensory Processing Assessment). Lab measures are significantly correlated with parental reports of sensory hyporesponsiveness. Censored regression models show that hyporesponsiveness decreased across groups with increasing mental age (MA). Group differences are significant but depend upon two-way interactions with MA and context (social and nonsocial). At a very young MA (e.g., 6 months), the autism group demonstrates more hyporesponsiveness to social and nonsocial stimuli (with larger effects for social) than developmental delay and typically developing groups, but at an older MA (e.g., 60 months) there are no significant differences. Hyporesponsiveness to social and nonsocial stimuli predicts lower levels of joint attention and language in children with autism. Generalized processes in attention disengagement and behavioral orienting may have relevance for identifying early risk factors of autism and for facilitating learning across contexts to support the development of joint attention and language.
Researchers have increasingly promoted an emerging paradigm of Indigenous archaeology, which includes an array of practices conducted by, for, and with Indigenous communities to challenge the discipline's intellectual breadth and political economy. McGhee (2008) argues that Indigenous archaeology is not viable because it depends upon the essentialist concept of “Aboriginalism.” In this reply, we correct McGhee's description of Indigenous Archaeology and demonstrate why Indigenous rights are not founded on essentialist imaginings. Rather, the legacies of colonialism, sociopolitical context of scientific inquiry, and insights of traditional knowledge provide a strong foundation for collaborative and community-based archaeology projects that include Indigenous peoples.
The problem of plagiarism by political scientists has not received much attention. The incidence of plagiarism, however, may be greater than one would think. In this article, I offer a humorous look at what happened when a manuscript of mine was plagiarized. Based on my experience, I offer some suggestions on how scholars might detect and prevent plagiarism.
Cognitive models suggest that auditory verbal hallucinations arise through defective self-monitoring and the external attribution of inner speech. We used a paradigm that engages verbal self-monitoring (VSM) to examine whether this process is impaired in people experiencing prodromal symptoms, who have a very high risk of developing psychosis.
We tested 31 individuals with an At-Risk Mental State (ARMS) and 31 healthy volunteers. Participants read single adjectives aloud while the source and pitch of the online auditory verbal feedback was manipulated, then immediately identified the source of the speech they heard (Self/Other/Unsure). Response choice and reaction time were recorded.
When reading aloud with distorted feedback of their own voice, ARMS participants made more errors than controls (misidentifications and unsure responses). ARMS participants misidentified the source of their speech as ‘Other’ when the level of acoustic distortion was severe, and misidentification errors were inversely related to reaction times.
Impaired VSM is evident in people with an ARMS, although the deficit seems to be less marked than in patients with schizophrenia. Follow-up of these participants may clarify the extent to which the severity of this impairment predicts the subsequent onset of psychosis and development of positive symptoms.
A DNA probe, pCS20, previously described for use in detection of Cowdria ruminantium infections in Amblyomma variegatum (the principal vector of heartwater) hybridized with C. ruminantium DNA in organs of laboratory-infected A. hebraeum adult ticks (the major southern African vector of heartwater). The probe hybridized with C. ruminantium DNA in 46/49 midguts from male ticks and 26/29 from females, thus indicating infection. Corresponding salivary glands were less heavily infected, but infections were more numerous in glands from males. Infection in ticks was confirmed by transmission of the disease to susceptible goats. The probe did not hybridize with DNA from uninfected ticks or with DNA from a spotted fever group rickettsia commonly associated with A. hebraeum in Zimbabwe. The C. ruminantium specific pCS20 DNA probe can be applied to determine accurately the infection rates in the two major vectors of heartwater and the risk of exposure of ruminants in endemic areas.
Grey matter changes have been described in individuals who are pre- and peri-psychotic, but it is unclear if these changes are accompanied by changes in white matter structures.
To determine whether changes in white matter occur prior to and with the transition to psychosis in individuals who are pre-psychotic who had previously demonstrated grey matter reductions in frontotemporal regions.
We used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine regional white matter volume in 75 people with prodromal symptoms. A subset of the original group (n=21) were rescanned at 12–18 months to determine white matter volume changes. Participants were retrospectively categorised according to whether they had or had not developed psychosis at follow-up.
Comparison of the baseline MRI data from these two subgroups revealed that individuals who later developed psychosis had larger volumes of white matter in the frontal lobe, particularly in the left hemisphere. Longitudinal comparison of data in individuals who developed psychosis revealed a reduction in white matter volume in the region of the left fronto-occipital fasciculus. Participants who had not developed psychosis showed no reductions in white matter volume but increases in a region subjacent to the right inferior parietal lobule.
The reduction in volume of white matter near the left fronto-occipital fasciculus may reflect a change in this tract in association with the onset of frank psychosis.