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The purpose of this study is to determine the decrease of neurological soft signs (NSS) during adolescence and to compare this evolutionary process in two groups of adolescents with first episode psychosis: a) schizophrenia and b) non-schizophrenia patients. The structured neurological evaluation scale (NES) was administered to 24 adolescents with first episode psychosis. The number of NSS, the total and subscales scores were correlated with age in patients and in 39 healthy controls. Adolescents with first-episode psychosis had a higher prevalence of NSS than healthy controls; the schizophrenia patients (N = 9) scored higher than non-schizophrenia patients (N = 15). The number of NSS, total score and the scores on three of the four NES subscales correlated inversely with age in the healthy control group. No correlation was found for the schizophrenia group. For the non-schizophrenia group, a significant negative correlation was found only in one subscale. The decrease of NSS during adolescence in the healthy population but not in the patient groups with psychosis may be an indicator of a disturbance of brain processes that occurs during development. We did not find a clear pattern of NSS that distinguished schizophrenia from other psychoses.
We examined the 2-year stability of neurological soft signs (NSS) in 29 patients after a first episode of psychosis. The numbers of NSS at inclusion and at 2 years follow-up were similar, but there was a significant increase in the numbers of NSS in the sub-group of patients whose dosage of antipsychotic medication had increased over time.
Several studies have independently suggested that patients with schizophrenia are more likely to have an enlarged cavum septum pellucidum (CSP) and an absent adhesio interthalamica (AI), respectively. However, neither finding has been consistently replicated and it is unclear whether there is an association between these two midline brain abnormalities. Thus, we compared the prevalence of absent AI and the prevalence, size and volume of CSP in 38 patients with schizophrenia and 38 healthy controls using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). There were no between group differences in the presence or volume of CSP; however, an enlarged CSP was commoner among patients than controls. There was also a positive correlation between CSP ratings and volumes. No differences in the presence or absence of the AI were found between patients and controls; however, an absent AI was commoner in male patients with schizophrenia than females. There was absolutely no overlap between the presence of a large CSP and an absence of AI. In conclusion, our findings are in line with several case series and other MRI investigations that have shown a higher incidence of putatively developmental brain abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia, particularly in males, and support the neurodevelopmental model of this disorder.
Data on the process of mental health care is scant. Most studies focus on services at their inception when activity may be atypical and then usually present data only mean values for the reported variables over the whole study period. We aimed to test whether care delivery changes over time, and to describe any changes at the individual patient and team levels.
Process data on 272 patients in three new intensive case management (ICM) teams were collected over 2 years. Interventions were prospectively recorded using clinician-derived categories. Changes over time are described at both patient and team level.
The number of contacts and the proportion of face-to-face activity were remarkably constant after the first month at the patient level. The proportion of ‘psychiatric’ interventions (main focus on medication or a specific ‘mental health’ intervention performed) increased greatly after the first 6 months. The care activity received by individual patients varied considerably. Overall, teams varied significantly in the extent to which their activity rates were sustained over time.
New ICM teams deliver highly individualised care with more marked differences in treatment patterns between patients in the same team than mean differences between teams. The early ‘engagement’ period is marked by a greater focus on social care. There is evidence of differences in sustainability of the services by site.
This study analysed the association between country of birth and psychotic, affective, and neurotic disorders in seven immigrant categories, after adjustment for demographic and socioeconomic factors. A 2-year national cohort study of 4.5 million individuals in the age group 25–64 years was performed. Swedish national registers including individual demographic and socioeconomic data were linked to the hospital discharge register. Cox regression was used in the analysis. Several groups of immigrants, both men and women, had risks of hospital admission for psychotic, affective, or neurotic disorders compared to the Swedish-born reference group. The impact of demographic and socioeconomic factors on these risks seemed to be larger for men than for women. For foreign-born men, several of the risks no longer remained significant after adjustment for income and marital status. In contrast, most of the risks for foreign-born women remained significant after adjustment for income and marital status. Low income and being single were associated with an increased risk of psychiatric hospital admission. These results represent important knowledge for clinicians and public health planners who are involved in treatment and prevention of mental disorders among certain groups of immigrants, and among low income men and women irrespective of immigrant status.
There have been few attempts to link two aspects of psychiatric epidemiology, severe disorder and milder ‘common’ mental disorder, by ascertaining whether subjects who have received psychiatric treatment for major disorders are identified later in epidemiological community surveys.
Subjects were from a national birth cohort study and had been followed prospectively from childhood to middle age, with concurrent information on treatment from psychiatric facilities. In two successive prevalence surveys of milder disorder at 36 and 43 years, the association between earlier treatment and being a later community case was examined
Among 102 subjects who had been treated patients up to age 35 years, 52 (51%) were identified as definite community cases (36, 35%) or subthreshold cases (16, 16%) at either one or both later points. The proportion of community subjects who were previous psychiatric patients increased systematically from community non-cases, through subthreshold cases on one or both occasions, definite cases on one occasion, to definite cases on both occasions.
About half of subjects who have received treatment from psychiatric facilities remain with persistent symptoms such as to identify them as definite or subthreshold cases of milder common mental disorder some years later.
Comorbid personality disorders (PDs) are discussed as risk factors for a negative treatment outcome in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). However, studies published so far have produced conflicting results. The present study examined whether PDs affect treatment outcome in patients with OCD.
The treatment sample consisted of 55 patients with OCD who were consecutively referred to a Behaviour Therapy Unit for an in-patient or day-clinic treatment. Treatment consisted of an individualised and multimodal cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT, with or without antidepressive medication). Measurements were taken prior and after treatment and 6-month after admission.
A large percentage of patients benefited from treatment irrespective of the presence of a PD and were able to maintain their improvement at follow-up. Duration of treatment was not prolonged in OCD patients with concomitant Axis II disorders. However, some specific personality traits (schizotypal, passive–aggressive) were baseline determinants for later treatment failure at trend level.
Results are encouraging for therapists working with patients co-diagnosed with Axis II disorders since these patients are not necessarily non-responders. The results stress the importance of a specifically tailored treatment approach based on an individual case formulation in OCD patients with complex symptomatology and comorbid Axis II disorders.
The concept of minimal emotional dysfunctions (MED) refers to traditional psychopathology in order to describe, classify, and understand personality disorders. Emotional dysfunctions encompass disorders of affect predominance, production, expression, experience, modulation, and regulation. MED can explain the dimensional nature of personality disorders, their multidimensionality and problems with categorical classifications. It can stimulate research on the etiology of personality disorders in reference to modern developmental brain research and trauma psychology. It can guide new developments in pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. It is suggested to focus on MED in future developments of the description and classification of personality disorders.
Previous work suggests that reaction time variability (RTV) in attentional tasks, as a measure of cognitive stability, is associated with degree of Val loading in COMT Val158Met genotype, and that this association may be relevant for the aetiology of schizophrenia. This study examined (i) to what degree RTV pertaining to tasks of varying cognitive complexity would be associated with increased risk for schizophrenia and (ii) to what degree this would be mediated by Val loading.
COMT genotyping was investigated in a sample of 23 patients with schizophrenia, 33 first-degree relatives, and 21 controls. All participants performed the Flanker continuous performance test.
Schizophrenia liability was associated with number of correct trials of the Flanker test, but not with RTV, and this association was not mediated by COMT Val158Met genotype. Similarly, Met loading was associated with number of correct trials and with RTV, but this was not mediated by schizophrenia liability.
Associations between COMT Val158Met genotype and RTV do not appear to reflect transmission of schizophrenia liability in families. Differential associations with Val and Met alleles across studies suggest indirect effects through gene–gene interactions or the influence of a functional polymorphism near COMT Val158Met.
Although atypical antipsychotics are widely used during pregnancy, their safety is not well established. This case highlights the possible teratogenic effect of olanzapine, in which the baby was born with meningocele and ankyloblepharon. It is suggested that olanzapine may interfere with embryonic development at different stages of pregnancy.