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Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders have been increasingly recognised to form cognitive subgroups with differential levels of impairment. Using cluster analytical techniques, this study sought to identify cognitive clusters in a sample of first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients and examine clinical and developmental differences across the resultant groups.
In total, 105 FEP patients in the University of California Los Angeles Aftercare Research Program were assessed for cognition, symptoms and premorbid developmental adjustment. Hierarchical cluster analysis with Ward's method and squared Euclidean distance was conducted, confirmed by discriminant function analysis and optimised with k-means clustering. The stability of the solution was evaluated through split-sample (random, 80 and 70% samples) and alternate method (average linkage method) replication via Cohen's κ analysis. Controlling for multiple comparisons, one-way analysis of variances examined group differences in symptom severity and premorbid adjustment.
Three groups were identified: severely impaired (n = 27), moderately impaired (n = 41) and relatively intact (n = 37). There were no significant differences in symptom severity across the groups. Significant differences were observed for scholastic performance at three different developmental stages: childhood, early adolescence and late adolescence, with the relatively intact group demonstrating significantly better scholastic performance at all three stages than both the moderately impaired and severely impaired groups (who did not significantly differ from each other).
The findings add to growing evidence that cognitive clusters in FEP mirror that of later-stage schizophrenia. They also suggest that premorbid scholastic performance may not just be a risk factor for developing schizophrenia, but is also related to cognitive impairment severity and potentially to prognosis.
COVID-19, although a respiratory illness, has been clinically associated with non-respiratory symptoms. We conducted a negative case–control study to identify the symptoms associated with SARS-CoV-2-positive results in Portugal. Twelve symptoms and signs included in the clinical notification of COVID-19 were selected as predictors, and the dependent variable was the RT-PCR test result. The χ2 tests were used to compare notified cases on sex, age group, health region and presence of comorbidities. The best-fit prediction model was selected using a backward stepwise method with an unconditional logistic regression. General and gastrointestinal symptoms were strongly associated with a positive test (P < 0.001). In this sense, the inclusion of general symptoms such as myalgia, headache and fatigue, as well as diarrhoea, together with actual clinical criteria for suspected cases, already updated and included in COVID-19 case definition, can lead to increased identification of cases and represent an effective strength for transmission control.
Bergamo province was badly hit by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic. We organised a public-funded, multidisciplinary follow-up programme for COVID-19 patients discharged from the emergency department or from the inpatient wards of ‘Papa Giovanni XXIII’ Hospital, the largest public hospital in the area. As of 31 July, the first 767 patients had completed the first post-discharge multidisciplinary assessment. Patients entered our programme at a median time of 81 days after discharge. Among them, 51.4% still complained of symptoms, most commonly fatigue and exertional dyspnoea, and 30.5% were still experiencing post-traumatic psychological consequences. Impaired lung diffusion was found in 19%. Seventeen per cent had D-dimer values two times above the threshold for diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (two unexpected and clinically silent pulmonary thrombosis were discovered by investigating striking D-dimer elevation). Survivors of COVID-19 exhibit a complex array of symptoms, whose common underlying pathology, if any, has still to be elucidated: a multidisciplinary approach is fundamental, to address the different problems and to look for effective solutions.
While patients’ symptom experiences have been widely investigated, there is a lack of contextualized studies investigating how symptoms circulate in the medical consultation, how patients present them, what they convey, how physicians respond, and how patients and physicians negotiate with each other to find ways to address them. The aim of this study is to explore patients and physicians handling of symptoms throughout oncological consultations with a multiple case study approach.
Five consultations, purposively selected from an existing dataset of audiotaped consultations with patients with advanced cancer, were analyzed by means of an inductive analytical approach based on a sensitive framework from the literature.
Patients’ symptoms showed multiple dimensions such as medical, cognitive, emotional, psychological, interactional, symbolic, experiential, and existential.
Significance of results
Different symptom dimensions remained unnoticed and unaddressed in the consultations. The physician-centered symptom approach that was observed leads to consumed time and missed opportunities for relationship building with the patient. Physicians showed a lack of sensitivity regarding the multiple dimensions of symptoms. Based on the findings, strategies for a more comprehensive symptom approach can be conceived.
While taxonomy segregates anxiety symptoms into diagnoses, patients typically present with multiple diagnoses; this poses major challenges, particularly for youth, where mixed presentation is particularly common. Anxiety comorbidity could reflect multivariate, cross-domain interactions insufficiently emphasized in current taxonomy. We utilize network analytic approaches that model these interactions by characterizing pediatric anxiety as involving distinct, inter-connected, symptom domains. Quantifying this network structure could inform views of pediatric anxiety that shape clinical practice and research.
Participants were 4964 youths (ages 5–17 years) from seven international sites. Participants completed standard symptom inventory assessing severity along distinct domains that follow pediatric anxiety diagnostic categories. We first applied network analytic tools to quantify the anxiety domain network structure. We then examined whether variation in the network structure related to age (3-year longitudinal assessments) and sex, key moderators of pediatric anxiety expression.
The anxiety network featured a highly inter-connected structure; all domains correlated positively but to varying degrees. Anxiety patients and healthy youth differed in severity but demonstrated a comparable network structure. We noted specific sex differences in the network structure; longitudinal data indicated additional structural changes during childhood. Generalized-anxiety and panic symptoms consistently emerged as central domains.
Pediatric anxiety manifests along multiple, inter-connected symptom domains. By quantifying cross-domain associations and related moderation effects, the current study might shape views on the diagnosis, treatment, and study of pediatric anxiety.
There is a well-established relationship between cannabis use and psychosis, although the exact nature of this relationship is not fully understood. Recent studies have observed significant genetic overlap between a diagnosis of schizophrenia and lifetime cannabis use. Expanding on this work, the current study aimed to examine whether genetic overlap also occurs for subclinical psychosis (schizotypy) and cannabis use, as well as examining the phenotypic association between the traits. Phenotypic correlations were calculated for a variety of schizotypy and cannabis phenotypes in the UK Biobank (UKB), and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based heritability estimates and genetic correlations were calculated for these UKB phenotypes as well as for several other variables taken from recent genomewide association studies. Positive phenotypic correlations were observed between 11 out of 12 pairs of the cannabis use and schizotypy phenotypes (correlation range .05–.18), indicating a robust association between increased symptoms of schizotypy and cannabis use. SNP-based heritability estimates for two schizotypy phenotypes remained significant after multiple testing correction: social anhedonia (h2SNP = .08, SE = .02, N = 4025) and ever seen an unreal vision (h2SNP = .35, SE = .10, N = 150,717). Finally, one significant genetic correlation was observed between schizotypy and cannabis use, a negative correlation between social anhedonia and number of times used cannabis (rg = −.30, p = .012). The current study suggests the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis is also seen in subclinical symptoms of psychosis, but further research with larger samples is needed to determine the biological mechanisms underlying this association.
Non-medical opioid use (NMOU) is a growing crisis. Cancer patients at elevated risk of NMOU (+risk) are frequently underdiagnosed. The aim of this paper was to develop a nomogram to predict the probability of +risk among cancer patients receiving outpatient supportive care consultation at a comprehensive cancer center.
3,588 consecutive patients referred to a supportive care clinic were reviewed. All patients had a diagnosis of cancer and were on opioids for pain. All patients were assessed using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS), Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain (SOAPP-14), and CAGE-AID (Cut Down-Annoyed-Guilty-Eye Opener) questionnaires. “+risk” was defined as an SOAPP-14 score of ≥7. A nomogram was devised based on the risk factors determined by the multivariate logistic regression model to estimate the probability of +risk.
731/3,588 consults were +risk. +risk was significantly associated with gender, race, marital status, smoking status, depression, anxiety, financial distress, MEDD (morphine equivalent daily dose), and CAGE-AID score. The C-index was 0.8. A nomogram was developed and can be accessed at https://is.gd/soappnomogram. For example, for a male Hispanic patient, married, never smoked, with ESAS scores for depression = 3, anxiety = 3, financial distress = 7, a CAGE score of 0, and an MEDD score of 20, the total score is 9 + 9+0 + 0+6 + 10 + 23 + 0+1 = 58. A nomogram score of 58 indicates the probability of +risk of 0.1.
Significance of results
We established a practical nomogram to assess the +risk. The application of a nomogram based on routinely collected clinical data can help clinicians establish patients with +risk and positively impact care planning.
In response to advancing clinical practice guidelines regarding concussion management, service members, like athletes, complete a baseline assessment prior to participating in high-risk activities. While several studies have established test stability in athletes, no investigation to date has examined the stability of baseline assessment scores in military cadets. The objective of this study was to assess the test–retest reliability of a baseline concussion test battery in cadets at U.S. Service Academies.
All cadets participating in the Concussion Assessment, Research, and Education (CARE) Consortium investigation completed a standard baseline battery that included memory, balance, symptom, and neurocognitive assessments. Annual baseline testing was completed during the first 3 years of the study. A two-way mixed-model analysis of variance (intraclass correlation coefficent (ICC)3,1) and Kappa statistics were used to assess the stability of the metrics at 1-year and 2-year time intervals.
ICC values for the 1-year test interval ranged from 0.28 to 0.67 and from 0.15 to 0.57 for the 2-year interval. Kappa values ranged from 0.16 to 0.21 for the 1-year interval and from 0.29 to 0.31 for the 2-year test interval. Across all measures, the observed effects were small, ranging from 0.01 to 0.44.
This investigation noted less than optimal reliability for the most common concussion baseline assessments. While none of the assessments met or exceeded the accepted clinical threshold, the effect sizes were relatively small suggesting an overlap in performance from year-to-year. As such, baseline assessments beyond the initial evaluation in cadets are not essential but could aid concussion diagnosis.
Personality dimensions have been associated with symptoms dimensions in schizophrenic patients (SP). In this paper we study the relationships between symptoms of functional psychoses and personality dimensions in SP and their first-degree relatives (SR), in other psychotic patients (PP) and their first-degree relatives (PR), and in healthy controls in order to evaluate the possible clinical dimensionality of these disorders. Twenty-nine SP, 29 SR, 18 PP, 18 PR and 188 controls were assessed using the temperament and character inventory (TCI-R). Current symptoms were evaluated with positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS) using the five-factor model described previously (positive [PF], negative [NF], disorganized [DF], excitement [EF] and anxiety/depression [ADF]). Our TCI-R results showed that patients had different personality dimensions from the control group, but in relatives, these scores were not different from controls. With regard to symptomatology, we highlight the relations observed between harm avoidance (HA) and PANSS NF, and between self-transcendence (ST) and PANSS PF. From a personality traits-genetic factors point of view, schizophrenia and other psychosis may be initially differentiated by temperamental traits such as HA. The so-called characterial traits like ST would be associated with the appearance of psychotic symptoms.
To describe symptom expression and functional outcome in psychotic disorders in relation with temperament traits assessed with the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) in a population-based sample.
As part of the 31-year follow-up survey of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort, TCI temperament items were filled in by 4349 members of the cohort. In individuals with psychotic disorders, also positive and negative symptoms and outcome variables were assessed in a 35-year follow-up. Information of TCI and outcomes were available for altogether 41 individuals with psychosis.
Reward dependence (RD) (rho = −0.45) and Persistence (P) (rho = −0.52) were significantly correlated with Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) negative symptoms. Higher P scores predicted higher social and occupational functioning (as measured by Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale [SOFAS]), and higher Harm avoidance (HA) predicted a higher likelihood of being on a disability pension.
Results indicate that understanding of personality dimensions support better understanding of outcome and symptom expressions in psychotic disorders.
Schizophrenia is regarded as one of the most stigmatized mental illnesses. Relatively few studies have investigated actual stigma experiences among people with schizophrenia and the factors which may contribute to it.
This cross-sectional study assesses the extent of stigma experienced by patients with schizophrenia and attempts to establish its clinical and sociodemographic predictors.
A total of 153 subjects with schizophrenia (62 outpatients and 91 inpatients) were evaluated with the use of the Stigma section of the Consumer Experiences of Stigma Questionnaire (CESQ) and several instruments measuring their subjective quality of life, social functioning and severity of psychiatric symptoms.
Stigmatization experiences were common among respondents who most frequently reported having concealed their illness (86%), witnessed others saying offensive things about the mentally ill (69%), worried about being viewed unfavorably (63%) and been treated as less competent (59%). Higher levels of stigma were related to lower subjective quality of life and younger age of illness onset. No significant associations were found between stigma and symptoms or level of social functioning.
Our findings point at the reduced life satisfaction as a key aspect of the subjective experience of the stigma of schizophrenia.
To study the association between age at onset and the clinical picture of schizophrenia in an unselected young birth cohort.
Subjects and methods
The study sample consists of 98 (64 males and 34 females) individuals with DSM-III-R schizophrenia collected from the Northern Finland 1966 birth cohort. Firstly, subjects were divided into very early- and young-onset subgroups by using the median age at onset (22 years in males and 20 in females), as a cut-off point. Secondly, we used age at onset as a continuous variable. Clinical features of schizophrenia were assessed using the Operational Criteria Checklist for Psychotic Illnesses (OCCPI).
Inappropriate affect, positive thought disorder and deterioration from premorbid level of function associate with very early-onset schizophrenia, while slowed activity and dysphoria relate to young-onset. These symptoms correlate significantly with the age at onset.
Differences in the clinical picture associating to the age at onset of schizophrenia are seen early.
These findings indicate that certain symptoms of schizophrenia are dependent on the age at onset, and schizophrenia occurring initially in early life has some typical features. Using the age at onset as a continuous variable is independent of arbitrary cut-off points and produces more explicable results.
The consistent association between therapeutic alliance and outcome underlines the importance of identifying factors which predict the development of a positive alliance. However, only few studies have examined the association between pretreatment characteristics and alliance formation in patients with schizophrenia.
The study examined whether symptoms and insight would predict the therapeutic alliance in psychotherapy of schizophrenia. Further, the associations and differences between patient and therapist alliance ratings were studied.
Eighty patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders received manual-based psychotherapy. Assessment of symptoms and insight was conducted at baseline, and questionnaire-based alliance ratings were obtained three weeks into treatment. Patient and therapist alliance ratings were examined separately.
Patient and therapist alliance ratings were not significantly correlated (r = 0.17). Patient ratings of the alliance were significantly higher than the ratings of their therapists (d = 0.73). More insight in psychosis significantly predicted higher patient ratings of the alliance. Less positive and negative symptoms were significant predictors of higher therapist alliance ratings.
The findings indicate that symptoms and insight have an influence on the therapeutic alliance in the treatment of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Patients' and therapists' perceptions of the alliance do not seem to demonstrate much convergence.
In previous reports, we have observed that blood magnesium was significantly higher in drug-free patients with major depression when compared to healthy controls. This was especially true for erythrocyte magnesium. Furthermore, the most severely depressed patients had the highest intracellular magnesium content, showing that intracellular magnesium rate was related to the intensity of symptoms. We report here the results of blood magnesium measured in 88 major depressed patients as compared to 61 controls. We show that the mean erythrocyte and also plasma magnesium contents are both increased in these patients. We observe that about 40% of male and female patients have a very significant increase (25%) in intracellular magnesium content as compared to controls. However, about 60% of the hospitalised depressed patients have normal values. None of the controls has high erythrocyte magnesium. This is less evident concerning the plasma magnesium. No differences are observed between patients when classified according to the intensity of moral pain or anxiety. In contrast, the patients with mild to high psychomotor retardation score, which is an index of hypoexcitability, have significant higher erythrocyte magnesium values compared with other patients. The results of male patients without psychomotor retardation do not differ from control values. Our study suggests that central hypoexcitability might be related to an increase in intracellular magnesium observed at the peripheral level, keeping in mind that hyperexcitability, as observed in various conditions such as stress and cardiovascular disorders, is frequently associated, in contrast, with a decrease in blood magnesium.
Quality of life (QoL) is increasingly considered an important outcome in health research. We wished to explore the determinants of change in QoL in patients with schizophrenia over the course of a one-year RCT.
Predictors of change in observer-rated QoL (Quality of Life Scale: QLS) were assessed in 363 patients with schizophrenia during the CUtLASS clinical trial.
Change in QLS score over the course of a year correlated with change in psychotic and depressive symptoms and treatment adherence. Linear regression showed that improvement in QoL was predicted by reduction in negative and depressive symptoms and improvement in adherence rating. These three change scores together explained 38% of the variance in QLS change. Exploration of the direction of any possible causal effect, using TETRAD, indicated that improved adherence leads to improved QoL, and that change in depression also leads to QoL change. The relationship between QoL and negative symptoms suggests that greater social activity (reflected as better QoL scores) improves negative symptoms. Such a direct relationship between treatment adherence and QoL has not been reported before.
Improving adherence to medication would appear to be a key approach to improving measured quality of life in people with schizophrenia.
Poor insight has a negative impact on the outcome in schizophrenia; consequently, poor insight is a logical target for treatment. However, neither medication nor psychosocial interventions have been demonstrated to improve poor insight. A method originally designed for diabetes patients to improve their illness management, Guided Self-Determination (GSD), has been adapted for use in patients with schizophrenia (GSD-SZ). The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect on insight of GSD-SZ as a supplement to treatment as usual (TAU) as compared to TAU alone in outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia. The design was an open randomized trial. The primary hypothesis was cognitive insight would improve in those patients who received GSD-SZ + TAU as assessed by the BCIS. We additionally explored whether the intervention led to changes in clinical insight, self-perceived recovery, self-esteem, social functioning and symptom severity. Assessments were conducted at baseline, and at 3-, 6- and 12-month follow-up. Analysis was based on the principles of intention to treat and potential confounders were taken into account through applying a multivariate approach. A total of 101 participants were randomized to GSD-SZ + TAU (n = 50) or to TAU alone (n = 51). No statistically significant differences were found on the cognitive insight. However, at 12-month follow-up, clinical insight (measured by G12 from the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale), symptom severity, and social functioning had statistically significantly improved in the intervention group as compared to the control group. “Improving insight in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia”, NCT01282307, http://clinicaltrials.gov/.
Deficit in the ability to understand others' mental conditions, opinions, beliefs, fantasies and desires have been reported among schizophrenic patients so far. However, fewer studies have examined the type of positive/negative symptoms and delusions on their social cognition abilities. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the theory of mind (ToM) performance in schizophrenic patients and compare it with healthy controls.
This cross-sectional study conducted at Ibn-e-Sina psychiatric hospital in Mashhad, included 28 schizophrenic patients, aged between 18 and 50, based on DSM-IV-TR criteria and 14 healthy subjects. Evaluation of symptoms was performed by positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS) test and the ToM assessed by the 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes” Test.
Analysis of variance showed a significant impaired ToM in schizophrenic patients as compared with the healthy controls (p=0.00). But the ToM deficits did not differ in positive and negative symptoms (p=0.951), genders (p=0.286) and the frequency of episodes (p= 0.470). The delusions of persecution and grandeur showed a significant lower ToM performance as compared with the delusions of control (p=0.041).
Although the ToM abilities impairment in schizophrenia has been proved, its relationship with types of symptoms and delusions, and the duration of illness require further investigations. This may help to improve the possible treatments and prevention potentials in future.
Lack of insight is often present in patients with schizophrenia. Considering the insight, clinical symptoms and their severity may be important Objective: To establish a level of insight in subjects with schizophrenia and compare it with positive, and negative symptoms of schizophrenia with regard of duration of illness. Methods: A prospective study was conducted on 60 consecutive outpatients with schizophrenia. Two groups were formed regarding the duration of illness (≤2 years, and >3 years). Positive symptoms of SCH were established with 4 item positive symptom ranking scale – PSRS, and negative symptoms with Brief negative symptoms assesment – BNSA. The level of insight was established with Self appraisal of illness questionnaire – SAIQ. Results: There was not significant difference in PSRS score regarding the duration of illnes p=0.197, t-1.30, and small effect size was found. Average score of negative symptoms in the group with shorter duration of illness was 8.37±2.94, and in the group with longer duration 10.73±2.86. Independent Samples Test was significant p=0.003, t-2.367, and therefore difference of scores on BNSA whitin groups was significant. Moderate size effect was found (d 0.69). Total insight score on SAIQ was insignificantly correlated with positve and negative symptoms, regardles of the duration of illness. Conclusion: Longer duration of ilness has moderate effect on negative symptoms severity. Insight level is insignificantly correlated with positive and negative symptoms regardless of illness duration. Symptoms severity has minor impact on insight in patients with schizophrenia.
Despite knowing for many decades that depressive psychopathology is common in first-episode schizophrenia spectrum disorders (FES), there is limited knowledge regarding the extent and nature of such psychopathology (degree of comorbidity, caseness, severity) and its demographic, clinical, functional and treatment correlates. This study aimed to determine the pooled prevalence of depressive disorder and caseness, and the pooled mean severity of depressive symptoms, as well as the demographic, illness, functional and treatment correlates of depressive psychopathology in FES.
This systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression was prospectively registered (CRD42018084856) and conducted in accordance with PRISMA and MOOSE guidelines.
Forty studies comprising 4041 participants were included. The pooled prevalence of depressive disorder and caseness was 26.0% (seven samples, N = 855, 95% CI 22.1–30.3) and 43.9% (11 samples, N = 1312, 95% CI 30.3–58.4), respectively. The pooled mean percentage of maximum depressive symptom severity was 25.1 (38 samples, N = 3180, 95% CI 21.49–28.68). Correlates of depressive psychopathology were also found.
At least one-quarter of individuals with FES will experience, and therefore require treatment for, a full-threshold depressive disorder. Nearly half will experience levels of depressive symptoms that are severe enough to warrant diagnostic investigation and therefore clinical intervention – regardless of whether they actually fulfil diagnostic criteria for a depressive disorder. Depressive psychopathology is prominent in FES, manifesting not only as superimposed comorbidity, but also as an inextricable symptom domain.