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Bipolar disorder in pregnancy may be difficult to treat. The dilemma is whether the women should continue medication throughout pregnancy, and maybe accept a minor risk to harm their unborn child, or discontinue medication and increase the risk of recurrence, which can lead to maternal morbidity, thereby endangering themselves and their foetus.
Design and methods
In September 2016, three electronic search databases; PubMed, Scopus and PsycInfo, were used searching for clinical trials concerning this question. Eight clinical trials concerning risk of recurrence after discontinuation of medication in pregnancy were included.
There is no consensus concerning the risk of discontinuation of medication during pregnancy among bipolar women. The evidence from the trials included underscore that there seem to be a group of pregnant women who are stable despite they are not receiving mood stabilisers during pregnancy. Besides, there is a group of more severe and more unstable bipolar disorders that seem to benefit of a more close monitoring, support and prophylactic medication during pregnancy and postpartum period to prevent recurrence.
For the more stable bipolar women we recommend a well planned and more slowly discontinuation of medication before pregnancy. For the unplanned pregnancies it is important to consider the possibility of a more slowly discontinuation. For the more severe conditions of bipolar disorder, it is important to secure a close monitoring of medication. As the risk of postpartum relapse is high, medication may be started soon after delivery.
To evaluate the efficacy of transcranially applied pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) on functional impairments and symptom severity in multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) patients.
The study was conducted as a nationwide trial in Denmark using a randomised, parallel-group, double-blind and placebo-controlled design. Sample size was estimated at 40 participants. Eligibility criteria were age 18–75 years and fulfilment of the MCS case criteria. Participants received either PEMF or placebo PEMF (no stimulation) applied transcranially for 6 weeks. The primary outcome was the Life Impact Scale (LIS) of the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI). Secondary outcomes were the Symptom Severity Scale (SSS) and the Chemical Intolerance Scale of QEESI.
A total of 39 participants were randomised to PEMF or placebo treatment. No significant difference was observed on QEESI LIS between groups with a mean change score of −5.9 in the PEMF group compared with −1.5 in the placebo group (p=0.35, effect size=−0.31). However, a significant decrease was detected on QEESI SSS within and between groups with a mean change score of −11.3 in the PEMF group compared with −3.2 in the placebo group (p=0.03, effect size=−0.60).
PEMF treatment of 6 weeks showed no effect on functional impairments in MCS. However, a significant decrease in symptom severity was observed.
Review efficacy, safety, and tolerability of brexpiprazole in patients with schizophrenia in short- and long-term phase 3 studies.
Patients experiencing a current exacerbation of schizophrenia received brexpiprazole in two fixed-dose (2 and 4 mg), 6-week, placebo-controlled studies, one flexible-dose (2–4 mg), 6-week, placebo-control and active reference study, and one fixed-dose (1–4 mg), 52-week, placebo-controlled maintenance study.
The efficacy of brexpiprazole was demonstrated in the two short-term fixed-dose studies with statistically significant improvements from baseline in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score compared with placebo. In the flexible-dose short-term study, treatment with brexpiprazole resulted in numerically greater improvements in PANSS total score than with placebo that approached statistical significance (p=0.056). A meta-analysis of these short-term studies showed a mean change in PANSS total score of −20.1, reflecting a clinically meaningful reduction in symptoms. In the maintenance study, brexpiprazole had a beneficial effect relative to placebo on time to exacerbation of psychotic symptoms/impending relapse (p<0.0001). For all studies, brexpiprazole demonstrated clinically meaningful treatment effects on the Personal and Social Performance scale. Brexpiprazole had a favourable safety profile, with a relatively low prevalence of activating and sedating side effects. Weight gain in the short-term studies was ~1 kg greater than placebo. No safety concerns were observed with brexpiprazole in laboratory values, electrocardiogram, or vital signs.
Overall, the results indicate brexpiprazole, used either short-term or as part of a long-term maintenance treatment programme, is an efficacious therapy option in adults with schizophrenia and has a favourable safety/tolerability profile.
The Western-type diet is associated with an elevated risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other milder forms of cognitive impairment. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of the environmental enrichment on amyloid and tau pathology in high-fat and high-sucrose-fed rats.
In total, 40 adult male rats were categorised into two main groups according to their housing conditions: enriched environment (EE, n=16) and standard housing condition (n=24). The groups were further divided into five subgroups that received standard diet, high-fat diet, and high-sucrose diet. We performed the analysis of amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) (1–40), Aβ(1–42), amyloid precursor protein (APP), and tau levels in the hippocampus of rats that were maintained under standard housing conditions or exposed to an EE.
The EE decreased the Aβ(1–40), Aβ(1–42), APP, and tau levels in high-fat and high-sucrose-fed rats.
This observation shows that EE may rescue diet-induced amyloid and tau pathology.
Obesity is a risk factor for psychiatric diseases. Recently, a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been shown to be related to body mass index (BMI). In this study, we investigated the association of BMI-related SNPs with psychiatric diseases and one of their endophenotypes, memory performance, in a Japanese population.
The subjects were 1624 patients with one of three psychiatric diseases (799 patients with major depressive disorder, 594 with schizophrenia, and 231 with bipolar disorder) and 1189 healthy controls. Memory performance was assessed using the Wechsler Memory Scale – Revised (WMS-R). Genomic DNA was prepared from venous blood and used to genotype 23 BMI-related SNPs using the TaqMan 5′-exonuclease allelic discrimination assay. We then analysed the relationships between the SNPs and psychiatric disease and various subscales of the WMS-R.
Three SNPs (rs11142387, rs12597579, and rs6548238) showed significant differences in the genotype or allele frequency between patients with any psychiatric diseases and controls. Furthermore, six SNPs (rs11142387, rs12597579, rs2815752, rs2074356, rs4776970, and rs2287019) showed significant differences in at least one subscale of the WMS-R depending on the genotypes of the healthy controls. Interestingly, rs11142387 near the Kruppel-like factor 9 (KLF9) was significantly associated with psychiatric disease and poor memory function.
We identified three and six BMI-related SNPs associated with psychiatric disease and memory performance, respectively. In particular, carrying the A allele of rs11142387 near KLF9 was found to be associated with psychiatric disease and poor memory performance, which warrants further investigations.
Prenatal exposure to valproic acid (VPA) enhances the risk for later development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). An altered gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system may be a key factor in ASD. Here we investigated possible changes in the GABA system in rats exposed to a low dose of prenatal VPA.
We performed autoradiography with [3H]muscimol, (a GABAA receptor agonist), and [11C]Ro15-4513 (a partial agonist of the GABAA α1+5 receptor subtypes), in brain sections containing amygdala, thalamus and hippocampus of rats treated prenatally with 20 mg/kg VPA or saline from the 12th day of gestation.
Prenatal VPA significantly increased [11C]Ro15-4513 binding in the left amygdala compared with controls (p<0.05). This difference was not observed in the hippocampus, thalamus or right amygdala. No differences were observed in [3H]muscimol binding.
We observed an asymmetric increase in GABAA receptor binding. Disturbances in the GABAA receptor system have also been detected in human autism with [11C]Ro15-4513.
The neuropeptides oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) play important and interrelated roles in modulating mammalian social behaviour. While the OT system has received considerable research attention for its potential to treat psychiatric symptoms, comparatively little is known about the role of the AVP system in human social behaviour. To better understand the intraindividual stability of basal AVP, the present study assessed the reproducibility of basal plasma AVP concentrations.
Basal plasma AVP was assessed at four sampling points separated by 8 days, on average, in 16 healthy adult males.
Only one out of six comparisons revealed strong evidence for reproducibility of basal AVP concentrations (visit 2 vs. visit 4: r=0.8, p<0.001; all other comparisons p>0.1). The concordance correlation coefficient [0.15, 95% CI (−0.55, 0.73)] also revealed poor overall reproducibility.
Poor reliability of basal AVP concentrations suggests future work covarying AVP with trait markers should proceed with careful consideration of intraindividual fluctuations.