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The waiting room in psychiatric services can provide an ideal setting for offering evidence-based psychological interventions that can be delivered through electronic media. Currently, there is no intervention available that have been developed or tested in mental health.
This proof-of-concept study aimed to evaluate a pilot design of RESOLVE (Relaxation Exercise, SOLving problem and cognitiVe Errors) to test the procedure and obtain outcome data to inform future, definitive trials (trial registration at Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02536924, REB Number: PSIY-477-15).
Forty participants were enrolled and equally randomised to the intervention, RESOLVE plus treatment as usual arm (TAU), or to a control group (TAU only). Those in the intervention group watched RESOLVE in a room adjacent to the waiting area. Participants in the control received routine care. Outcome measures included the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluations outcome measure; and the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule. These measures were performed by a masked assessor at baseline and at 6-week follow-up. Additionally, we measured the number of contacts with mental health services during the prior 4 weeks. Both intention-to-treat and per protocol analyses were performed.
The study proved feasible. We were able to recruit the required number of participants. There was a statistically significant improvement in depression (P < 0.001), anxiety (P < 0.001), general psychopathology (P < 0.001) and disability (P = 0.0361) in favour of the intervention group. People in the intervention group were less likely to contact the service (P = 0.012) post-intervention.
Findings provide preliminary evidence that evidence-based psychosocial interventions can be delivered through electronic media in a waiting-room setting. The outcome data from this study will be used for future definitive trials.
To determine the effects of lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) on children’s Hb, linear growth and development, compared with supplementation with micronutrient powder (MNP).
The study was a two-arm parallel-group randomized controlled trial, where participants received either LNS or MNP for daily consumption during 6 months. Supplements were delivered by staff at government-run health centres. Hb, anthropometric, motor development, language development and problem-solving indicators were measured by trained research assistants when children were 12 months of age.
The study was conducted in five rural districts in the Province of Ambo in the Department of Huánuco, Peru.
We enrolled 6-month-old children (n 422) at nineteen health centres.
Children who received LNS had a higher mean Hb concentration and lower odds of anaemia than those who received MNP. No significant differences in height-for-age, weight-for-height or weight-for-age Z-score, or stunting and underweight prevalence, were observed. Provision of LNS was associated with a higher pre-verbal language (gestures) score, but such effect lost significance after adjustment for covariates. Children in the LNS group had higher problem-solving task scores and increased odds of achieving this cognitive task than children in the MNP group. No significant differences were observed on receptive language or gross motor development.
LNS between 6 and 12 months of age increased Hb concentration, reduced anaemia and improved cognitive development in children, but showed no effects on anthropometric indicators, motor or language development.
Objectives: This study examined the relationship of the home environment to long-term executive functioning (EF) following early childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI). Methods: Participants (N=134) were drawn from a larger parent study of 3- to 6-year-old children hospitalized for severe TBI (n=16), complicated mild/moderate TBI (n=44), or orthopedic injury (OI; n=74), recruited prospectively at four tertiary care hospitals in the United States and followed for an average of 6.8 years post-injury. Quality of the home environment, caregiver psychological distress, and general family functioning were assessed shortly after injury (i.e., early home) and again at follow-up (i.e., late home). Participants completed several performance-based measures of EF at follow-up. Hierarchical regression analyses examined the early and late home environment measures as predictors of EF, both as main effects and as moderators of group differences. Results: The early and late home environment were inconsistent predictors of long-term EF across groups. Group differences in EF were significant for only the TEA-Ch Walk/Don’t Walk subtest, with poorer performance in the severe TBI group. However, several significant interactions suggested that the home environment moderated group differences in EF, particularly after complicated mild/moderate TBI. Conclusions: The home environment is not a consistent predictor of long-term EF in children with early TBI and OI, but may moderate the effects of TBI on EF. The findings suggest that interventions designed to improve the quality of stimulation in children’s home environments might reduce the long-term effects of early childhood TBI on EF. (JINS, 2018, 24, 11–21)
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which play a vital role in fetal growth and development. In utero exposure to omega-3 fatty acids is exclusively dependent on maternal nutrition. Previous studies have suggested that prenatal fish oil supplementation has positive impacts on child neurodevelopment later in life. This study examines the associations between fish oil supplementation both before pregnancy and throughout pregnancy and subsequent child development. Mother–child pairs from the Upstate KIDS Study, a birth cohort consisting of children born between 2008 and 2010, were included. Self-reported prenatal fish oil supplementation data were available for 5845 children (3807 singletons and 2038 twins). At multiple time points, from 4 months to 3 years of age, child development was reported by the parents on the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). Five developmental domains were assessed: fine motor, gross motor, communication, personal–social functioning and problem solving. Generalized linear mixed models were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) while adjusting for covariates. Primary analyses showed that the risk of failing the ASQ problem-solving domain was significantly lower among children of women who took fish oil before pregnancy (OR 0.40, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.18–0.89) and during pregnancy (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.22–0.83). Gender interaction was not statistically significant, although stratified results indicated stronger associations among girls. Similarly, associations were primarily among singletons. Prenatal fish oil supplementation may be beneficial in regards to neurodevelopment. Specifically, it is associated with a lower risk of failing the problem-solving domain up to 3 years of age.
This study explores whether social sensitivity influences children’s problem solving skills or learning after collaboration with a peer. Most research into the impact of collaborative problem solving on individual skills demonstrates that the problem solving skills an individual brings to the collaborative process are a key factor in predicting the presencelabsence of cognitive change. Only recently have other attributes and/or skills, such as social or interpersonal sensitivity, been considered within this framework. This study investigates whether interpersonal sensitivity contributes to differential outcomes in learning after collaborative problem solving. One hundred 8-year-old children participated in a pre-test/collaboration/post-test design study where four groups based on pre-test problem solving ability (high/low) and pre-test social sensitivity scores (high/low) were constructed for the collaborative problem solving task. Low ability/high sensitivity children showed pre- to post-test improvement in their problem solving when paired with high ability children. Social sensitivity only predicted final problem solving in high sensitivity children. Pre-test and collaborative problem solving levels predicted post-test problem solving for children classified as high problem solving/high sensitivity. Results are discussed in relation to how social sensitivity may differentially affect the problem solving skills of children with different patterns of ability.
There is no research on the assessment or treatment of help-seeking behaviours for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI). This paper describes the development of a protocol, NICE (Noticing you have a problem, Identifying the information you need for help, Compensatory strategies, Evaluating progress) to train help-seeking for adults with TBI when lost. Theoretical and treatment components from three empirically validated interventions that target social problem-solving and communication skills were adapted to develop NICE: the Group Interactive Structured Treatment for Social Competence (GIST), the Problem Solving Group Protocol (PSG) and Interpersonal Recall (IPR). Preliminary pilot data evaluating the efficacy are presented for three adult persons with TBI. All three participants improved on the Executive Function Route Finding Task (EFRT) and help-seeking behaviours when wayfinding. Help-seeking is a constitutive factor in the wayfinding process capable of improvement. Preliminary evidence supports further investigation of this group intervention.
Objective: This study examined whether differences in habitual negative self-thinking and coping strategies might contribute to the age differences in worry and depression. Method: 60 undergraduate students (age range: 18–24 years, M = 19.10, SD = 1.3) and 45 community-dwelling older adults (age range: 60–89 years, M = 73.5, SD = 7.5) participated. Participants completed self-report measures of worry, depression, negative self-thinking, and coping styles. Results: We replicated previous findings that older adults were less worried and less depressed than younger adults. Older adults also reported engaging in less habitual negative thinking and using more problem solving as a coping strategy than younger adults. Furthermore, negative self-thinking and problem-solving skills were found to partially mediate age differences in worry and fully mediate depression scores. Conclusions: These results suggest that habitual negative thinking and problem-solving skills play a role in explaining the lower rates of worry and depression in older populations.
Although depression is a common problem among non-professional caregivers, only one trial has evaluated the efficacy of indicated prevention targeting this population and the long-term efficacy is unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term efficacy of a brief intervention for the indicated prevention of depression in a sample of female caregivers.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted involving 173 participants (mean age 53.9 years) who were allocated to the intervention (n = 89) or the usual-care control group (n = 84). Blinded interviewers conducted assessments at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months of follow-up. The main outcome measure was the incidence of major depression and the secondary outcomes were compliance with treatment, depressive symptoms, emotional distress and caregiver burden.
At the 12-month follow-up, a lower incidence of depression as evaluated using the Structured Clinical Interview for Axis I Disorders of the DSM-IV was found in the intervention group compared with the control group (10.1% v. 25.0%). The relative risk was 0.40 and statistically significant [χ2 = 6.68, degrees of freedom = 1, p = 0.010, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.20–0.81], and the number needed to treat was 7 (95% CI 4–27). There was a significant delay in the onset of depression in the intervention group (p = 0.008). The good complier caregivers had a lower incidence of depression. The intervention effect on depressive symptoms, emotional distress and caregiver burden were maintained for 12 months.
This is the first study to demonstrate that a brief problem-solving intervention can prevent the onset of depression among non-professional caregivers over the longer term.
This paper offers the first general introduction to CODA (Cognitive Discourse Analysis), a methodology for analyzing verbal protocols and other types of unconstrained language use, as a resource for researchers interested in mental representations and high-level cognitive processes. CODA can be used to investigate verbalizations of perceived scenes and events, spatio-temporal concepts, complex cognitive processes such as problem-solving and cognitive strategies and heuristics, and other concepts that are accessible for verbalization. CODA builds on and extends relevant established methodologies such as cognitive linguistic perspectives, verbal protocol analysis in cognitive psychology and interdisciplinary content analysis, linguistic discourse analysis, and psycholinguistic experimentation.
This chapter concerns the symbolic artificial intelligence (AI). Both technological and psychological AI employ the full range of AI methodologies, Good Old-Fashioned AI (GOFAI) included. The GOFAI methodology employs programmed instructions operating on formal symbolic representations. It is well suited to the binary, serial nature of the von Neumann digital computer. More accurately, evolutionary programming was initially developed within GOFAI, and is often used in a GOFAI context, although it can also be used for evolving connectionist networks. The major strengths of GOFAI are its abilities to model hierarchy and sequential order, to allow for precision in problem solving, and to represent specific propositional contents. GOFAI planning is even important in video games and Hollywood animation, for example, to prevent the virtual reality characters from bumping into one another. Invisibility is only one reason why GOFAI's successes go largely unsung.
Cognitive impairment places older adults at increased risk of functional decline, injuries, and hospitalization. Assessments to determine whether older persons are still capable of meeting the cognitive challenges of everyday living are crucial to ensure their safe and independent living in the community. The present study aims to translate and validate the Chinese version of the Problems in Everyday Living (PEDL) test for use in Chinese population with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
The cultural relevancy and content validity of the Chinese version of PEDL (C-PEDL) was evaluated by a seven-member expert panel. Forty patients with MCI and 40 cognitively healthy participants were recruited to examine the psychometric properties of C-PEDL.
Significant differences in the C-PEDL scores were found between the patients with MCI and the cognitively healthy controls in both educated (F = 9.96, p = 0.003) and illiterate (F = 10.43, p = 0.004) populations. The C-PEDL had excellent test-retest and inter-rater reliabilities, with intraclass correlation coefficient at 0.95 and 0.99 respectively. The internal consistency of C-PEDL was acceptable with Chronbach's α at 0.69. The C-PEDL had moderate correlation with the Mini-Mental State Examination (r = 0.45, p = 0.004) and the Category Verbal Fluency Test (r = 0.40, p = 0.012), and a moderate negative Spearman's correlation with the Global Deteriorating Scale (r = –0.42, p = 0.007).
The C-PEDL is a valid and reliable test for assessing the everyday problem-solving ability in Chinese older population with MCI.
The relationship of higher order problem solving to basic neuropsychological processes likely depends on the type of problems to be solved. Well-defined problems (e.g., completing a series of errands) may rely primarily on executive functions. Conversely, ill-defined problems (e.g., navigating socially awkward situations) may, in addition, rely on medial temporal lobe (MTL) mediated episodic memory processes. Healthy young (N = 18; M = 19; SD = 1.3) and old (N = 18; M = 73; SD = 5.0) adults completed a battery of neuropsychological tests of executive and episodic memory function, and experimental tests of problem solving. Correlation analyses and age group comparisons demonstrated differential contributions of executive and autobiographical episodic memory function to well-defined and ill-defined problem solving and evidence for an episodic simulation mechanism underlying ill-defined problem solving efficacy. Findings are consistent with the emerging idea that MTL-mediated episodic simulation processes support the effective solution of ill-defined problems, over and above the contribution of frontally mediated executive functions. Implications for the development of intervention strategies that target preservation of functional independence in older adults are discussed. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–10)
Brain activity is less organized in patients with schizophrenia than in healthy controls (HC). Noise power (scalp-recorded electroencephalographic activity unlocked to stimuli) may be of use for studying this disorganization.
Fifty-four patients with schizophrenia (29 minimally treated and 25 stable treated), 23 first-degree relatives and 27 HC underwent clinical and cognitive assessments and an electroencephalographic recording during an oddball P300 paradigm to calculate noise power magnitude in the gamma band. We used a principal component analysis (PCA) to determine the factor structure of gamma noise power values across electrodes and the clinical and cognitive correlates of the resulting factors.
The PCA revealed three noise power factors, roughly corresponding to the default mode network (DMN), frontal and occipital regions respectively. Patients showed higher gamma noise power loadings in the first factor when compared to HC and first-degree relatives. In the patients, frontal gamma noise factor scores related significantly and inversely to working memory and problem-solving performance. There were no associations with symptoms.
There is an elevated gamma activity unrelated to task processing over regions coherent with the DMN topography in patients with schizophrenia. The same type of gamma activity over frontal regions is inversely related to performance in tasks with high involvement in these frontal areas. The idea of gamma noise as a possible biological marker for schizophrenia seems promising. Gamma noise might be of use in the study of underlying neurophysiological mechanisms involved in this disease.
Cognitive therapy has been found to be effective in decreasing the recurrence of suicide attempts. A theoretical aim of cognitive therapy is to improve problem-solving skills so that suicide no longer remains the only available option. This study examined the differential rate of change in problem-solving appraisal following suicide attempts among individuals who participated in a randomized controlled trial for the prevention of suicide.
Changes in problem-solving appraisal from pre- to 6-months post-treatment in individuals with a recent suicide attempt, randomized to either cognitive therapy (n=60) or a control condition (n=60), were assessed by using the Social Problem-Solving Inventory-Revised, Short Form.
Improvements in problem-solving appraisal were similarly observed for both groups within the 6-month follow-up. However, during this period, individuals assigned to the cognitive therapy condition demonstrated a significantly faster rate of improvement in negative problem orientation and impulsivity/carelessness. More specifically, individuals receiving cognitive therapy were significantly less likely to report a negative view toward life problems and impulsive/carelessness problem-solving style.
Cognitive therapy for the prevention of suicide provides rapid changes within 6 months on negative problem orientation and impulsivity/carelessness problem-solving style. Given that individuals are at the greatest risk for suicide within 6 months of their last suicide attempt, the current study demonstrates that a brief cognitive intervention produces a rapid rate of improvement in two important domains of problem-solving appraisal during this sensitive period.
Background: Childhood worry is common, and yet little is known about why some children develop pathological worry and others do not. Two theories of adult worry that are particularly relevant to children are Davey's problem-solving model in which perseverative worry occurs as a result of thwarted problem-solving attempts, and Wells’ metacognitive model, in which positive and negative beliefs about worry interact to produce pathological worry. Aims: The present study aimed to test hypotheses that levels of worry in young children are associated with poor or avoidant solution generation for social problems, and poor problem-solving confidence. It also aimed to explore beliefs about worry in this age group, and to examine their relationships with worry, anxiety and age. Method: Fifty-seven young children (6–10 years) responded to open ended questions about social problem-solving situations and beliefs about worry, and completed measures of worry, anxiety and problem-solving confidence. Results: Children with higher levels of worry and anxiety reported using more avoidant solutions in social problem situations and children's low confidence in problem solving was associated with high levels of worry. Children as young as 6 years old reported both positive and negative beliefs about worry, but neither were associated with age, gender, or level of anxiety or worry. Conclusions: Results indicate similarities between adults and children in the relationships between problem-solving variables and worry, but not in relationships between beliefs about worry and worry. This may be due to developmental factors, or may be the result of measurement issues.
Deficits in executive function (EF) are reported to occur in individuals with Klinefelter syndrome (XXY). The degree of impairment, if any, is variable and the nature of these deficits has not been clearly elucidated in young males. In this report, we (a) examine EF skills using multiple tasks in a non-clinic referred group of youth with XXY, (b) describe the extent of EF weaknesses in XXY when this group is compared with typical males of a similar SES or typical males with similar verbal abilities, and (c) evaluate the contribution of comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to EF skills. The sample included 27 males with XXY (ages 9–25), 27 typically developing age- and vocabulary-matched males, and 22 age- and socioeconomic status-matched males. EF tasks included Verbal Fluency, the Trail Making Test, and the CANTAB Spatial Working Memory and Stockings of Cambridge tasks. Mixed model analysis of variance was used to compare the groups on EF tasks and revealed a main effect of group but no group by task interaction. Overall, the XXY group performed less well than both control groups, but performance did not differ significantly as a function of task. ADHD comorbidity in males with XXY was related to poorer EF skills. (JINS, 2011, 17, 522–530)
Executive function impairments in Parkinson’s disease (PD) are well documented. However, uncertainties remain regarding the impact of these deficits on other areas of cognitive functioning. The goal of this study was to provide a comprehensive assessment of cognitive characteristics in patients with PD without dementia and to assess how any such deficits affected other areas of cognitive functioning. Forty PD patients without dementia were compared to healthy controls using measures of attention and speed of processing and a comprehensive set of executive function tests including working memory, planning, and problem solving. Measures of memory/learning and visuospatial skills were also included to examine the relationship between aspects of executive function and other areas of cognition. Patients with PD showed deficits on measures of executive function, problem solving, and visuospatial skills. However, they were unimpaired on measures of planning, attention, and memory/learning. Deficits in problem solving were only evident for tasks with a high visuospatial content and were no longer significant when visuospatial skills were controlled for. While deficits in executive function and visuospatial skills were apparent for PD patients compared to controls, many aspects of cognition remained intact. These can provide a focus for cognitive intervention strategies that can be effective in delaying decline for PD patients. (JINS, 2010, 16, 268–277.)
Solving complex problems in large-scale research programmes requires cooperation and division of labour. Simultaneously, large-scale problem solving also gives rise to unintended side effects. Based upon 5 years of researching two large-scale nutrigenomic research programmes, we argue that problems are fragmented in order to be solved. These sub-problems are given priority for practical reasons and in the process of solving them, various changes are introduced in each sub-problem. Combined with additional diversity as a result of interdisciplinarity, this makes reassembling the original and overall goal of the research programme less likely. In the case of nutrigenomics and health, this produces a diversification of health. As a result, the public health goal of contemporary nutrition science is not reached in the large-scale research programmes we studied. Large-scale research programmes are very successful in producing scientific publications and new knowledge; however, in reaching their political goals they often are less successful.
The purpose of this work is to test the chief principle of brainstorming, formulated as “quantity generates quality.” The study is included within a broad program whose goal is to detect the strong and weak points of creative techniques. In a sample of 69 groups, containing between 3 and 8 members, the concurrence of two commonly accepted criteria was established as a quality rule: originality and utility or value. The results fully support the quantity-quality relation (r = .893): the more ideas produced to solve a problem, the better quality of the ideas. The importance of this finding, which supports Osborn's theory, is discussed, and the use of brainstorming is recommended to solve the many open problems faced by our society.
One hundred 9–16-year-old children with traumatic brain injury
(TBI) completed the California Verbal Learning Test–Children's
Version (CVLT–C) and the Children's Category Test (CCT) within
1 year after injury. Performance contrasts between these two instruments
that were unusually large (> 16 T score points) were about as
common in this clinical sample as in the standardization sample of both
instruments. However, relatively poor performance on the CVLT–C as
compared to the CCT was associated with prolonged coma and lower scores on
the Processing Speed index of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for
Children–Third Edition. It is concluded that a relative weakness on
the CVLT–C is more likely to reflect cerebral compromise after
pediatric TBI than is a relative weakness on the CCT. (JINS,
2005, 11, 386–391.)