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Negative symptoms are one of the most incapacitating features of Schizophrenia but their pathophysiology remains unclear. They have been linked to alterations in grey matter in several brain regions, but findings have been inconsistent. This may reflect the investigation of relatively small patient samples, and the confounding effects of chronic illness and exposure to antipsychotic medication. We sought to address these issues by investigating concurrently grey matter volumes (GMV) and cortical thickness (CTh) in a large sample of antipsychotic-naïve or minimally treated patients with First-Episode Schizophrenia (FES).
T1-weighted structural MRI brain scans were acquired from 180 antipsychotic-naïve or minimally treated patients recruited as part of the OPTiMiSE study. The sample was stratified into subgroups with (N = 88) or without (N = 92) Prominent Negative Symptoms (PMN), based on PANSS ratings at presentation. Regional GMV and CTh in the two groups were compared using Voxel-Based Morphometry (VBM) and FreeSurfer (FS). Between-group differences were corrected for multiple comparisons via Family-Wise Error (FWE) and Monte Carlo z-field simulation respectively at p < 0.05 (2-tailed).
The presence of PMN symptoms was associated with larger left inferior orbitofrontal volume (p = 0.03) and greater CTh in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus (p = 0.007), but reduced CTh in the left superior temporal gyrus (p = 0.009).
The findings highlight the role of orbitofrontal and temporal cortices in the pathogenesis of negative symptoms of Schizophrenia. As they were evident in generally untreated FEP patients, the results are unlikely to be related to effects of previous treatment or illness chronicity.
On the River Ticino in northern Italy, a small number of captive Eurasian otters Lutra lutra, belonging to the European breeding programme for self-sustaining captive populations, were reintroduced in 1997, after the species had been declared locally extinct in the 1980s. We surveyed for otter signs in 2008, 2010, 2016–2017 and 2018, confirming the presence of what is probably a small population. To assess the abundance and viability of the population, we genotyped fresh spraints collected during the last two surveys, using 11 microsatellite markers, and modelled the population trend using Vortex. A minimum of six individuals were identified from 25 faecal samples. The analysis of mitochondrial DNA determined that the reintroduced otters share a transversion that is characteristic of the Asiatic subspecies Lutra lutra barang, confirming the contribution of the Asiatic subspecies to the genetic pool of the captive-bred founder population. Population size was consistent with the release of three pairs of otters and all models implied that the number of founders was too small to ensure the long-term survival of the population. Stochastic factors are therefore likely to threaten the success of this reintroduction.
Highlighting the relationship between obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorder (TD), two highly disabling, comorbid, and difficult-to-treat conditions, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) acknowledged a new “tic-related” specifier for OCD, ie, obsessive–compulsive tic-related disorder (OCTD). As patients with OCTD may frequently show poor treatment response, the aim of this multicenter study was to investigate rates and clinical correlates of response, remission, and treatment resistance in a large multicenter sample of OCD patients with versus without tics.
A sample of 398 patients with a DSM-5 diagnosis of OCD with and without comorbid TD was assessed from 10 different psychiatric departments across Italy. For the purpose of the study, treatment response profiles in the whole sample were analyzed comparing the rates of response, remission, and treatment-resistance as well as related clinical features. Multivariate logistic regressions were performed to identify possible factors associated with treatment response.
The remission group was associated with later ages of onset of TD and OCD. Moreover, significantly higher rates of psychiatric comorbidities, TD, and lifetime suicidal ideation and attempts emerged in the treatment-resistant group, with larger degrees of perceived worsened quality of life and family involvement.
Although remission was associated with later ages of OCD and TD onset, specific clinical factors, such as early onset and presence of psychiatric comorbidities and concomitant TD, predicted a worse treatment response with a significant impairment in quality of life for both patients and their caregivers, suggesting a worse profile of treatment response for patients with OCTD.
Cognitive deficits are considered a key feature of schizophrenia due to their substantial influence on the psychosocial outcome of subjects affected by this disorder. Several studies showed that moderate to severe cognitive impairments, including dysfunctions of social cognition, are already present during the early phases of the illness, in subjects with first-episode psychosis (FEPs). Psychosocial interventions, such as social skill training (SST), could therefore be implemented already upon occurrence of the first episode of psychosis to improve the overall functional outcome of schizophrenia, which represents to date an unmet need in the care of these patients.
The study aims to evaluate the use of SST to enhance social skills and real-life functioning in FEPs.
The sample included 7 FEPs (age between 15 and 40). The SST intervention included 30 sessions lasting 2 hours and delivered twice a week. Psychopathology, neurocognition, real life functioning, functional capacity and social cognition were assessed at baseline ad after training. Paired samples t-tests were performed to evaluate the effects of the intervention. All subjects were treated with second generation antipsychotics.
Significant improvements were observed in negative symptoms, social cognition, problem solving skills, as well as in global functioning (all p<0.05). Within real-life functioning, the improvement was greater for the domain of interpersonal relationships.
These preliminary findings suggest that SST might complement pharmacological treatment in FEPs to improve functional outcome in these subjects. Further studies with a higher sample size and a longer follow-up are required in order to confirm the present results.
Negative symptoms (NS) represent a core aspect of schizophrenia with a huge impact on real life functioning. Dysfunctions within the dopaminergic cortico-striatal circuits have been documented in subjects with schizophrenia (SCZ) and hypothesized as possible neurobiological mechanisms underlying some domains of NS.
We investigated relationships between the resting-state functional connectivity (RS-FC) of the ventro-tegmental area (VTA) and NS.
Resting-state fMRI data were recorded in 35 SCZ, recruited within the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses. We performed partial correlations between RS-FC and NS (evaluated with the Brief Negative Symptom Scale) controlling for possible sources of secondary negative symptoms.
We found that the experiential domain correlated with the RS-FC of the VTA with the left ventro-lateral prefrontal cortex (lVLPFC) (r=0.372, p=0.039), while the Expressive deficit domain correlated with the RS-FC of the VTA with the left dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex (lDLPFC) (r= 0.470, p .008). Looking at subdomains, only the avolition (r= 0.418, p=0.019) and the blunted affect (r= 0.465, p=.008) showed the same correlations of the domains to which they belong.
According to our findings, separate dysfunctional neuronal circuits could underpin distinct negative symptom subdomains. A better understanding of neurobiological dysfunctions underlying NS could help to design new treatments, targeting different NS subdomains.
Despite innovative treatments, the impairment in real-life functioning in subjects with schizophrenia (SCZ) remains an unmet need in the care of these patients. Recently, real-life functioning in SCZ was associated with abnormalities in different electrophysiological indices. It is still not clear whether this relationship is mediated by other variables, and how the combination of different EEG abnormalities influences the complex outcome of schizophrenia.
The purpose of the study was to find EEG patterns which can predict the outcome of schizophrenia and identify recovered patients.
Illness-related and functioning-related variables were measured in 61 SCZ at baseline and after four-years follow-up. EEGs were recorded at the baseline in resting-state condition and during two auditory tasks. We performed Sparse Partial Least Square (SPLS) Regression, using EEG features, age and illness duration to predict clinical and functional features at baseline and follow up. Through a Linear Support Vector Machine (Linear SVM) we used electrophysiological and clinical scores derived from SPLS regression, in order to classify recovered patients at follow-up.
We found one significant latent variable (p<0.01) capturing correlations between independent and dependent variables at follow-up (RHO=0.56). Among individual predictors, age and illness-duration showed the highest scores; however, the score for the combination of the EEG features was higher than all other predictors. Within dependent variables, negative symptoms showed the strongest correlation with predictors. Scores resulting from SPLS Regression classified recovered patients with 90.1% of accuracy.
A combination of electrophysiological markers, age and illness-duration might predict clinical and functional outcome of schizophrenia after 4 years of follow-up.
In a cross-sectional study, the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses (INReP) found that variables relevant to the disease, personal resources and social context explain 53.8% of real-life functioning variance in a large sample of community dwelling people with schizophrenia. In a longitudinal study, the INReP aimed to identify baseline predictors of main domains of real-life functioning, i.e. work skills, interpersonal relationships and everyday life skills, at 4-year follow-up. We assessed psychopathology, social and non-social cognition, functional capacity, personal resources, and context-related factors, as well as real-life functioning as the main outcome. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) and latent change score (LCS) model to identify predictors of real-life functioning domains at follow-up and changes from baseline in the same domains. Six-hundred-eighteen subjects took part in the study. Neurocognition predicted everyday life and work skills; avolition predicted interpersonal relationships; positive symptoms work skills, and social cognition work skills and interpersonal functioning. Higher neurocognitive abilities predicted the improvement of everyday life and work skills, as well as of social cognition and functional capacity; better baseline social cognition predicted the improvement of work skills and interpersonal functioning, and better baseline everyday life skills predicted the improvement of work skills. Several variables which predict important aspects of functional outcome of people with schizophrenia are not routinely assessed and are not systematically targeted by intervention programs in community mental health services. A larger dissemination of practices such as cognitive training and personalized psychosocial interventions should be promoted in mental health care.
Persistent negative symptoms are associated with worse outcome in both first-episode and chronic subjects with schizophrenia. The identification of these symptoms in recent-onset subjects is still controversial as retrospective data are often unavailable. The prospective assessment of persistence of negative symptoms might represent a valid alternative but the length of the persistence is still to be established. The present study investigated the prevalence of negative symptoms of moderate severity, unconfounded by depression and extrapyramidal symptoms at baseline in a large cohort of patients in the early stage of a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder, recruited to the OPTiMiSE trial. Persistent unconfounded negative symptoms were assessed at 4, 10 and 22 weeks of treatment. Symptomatic remission, attrition rate and psychosocial functioning was evaluated in subjects with short-term (4 weeks) persistent negative symptoms (PNS) and in those with negative symptoms that did not persist at follow-up and/or were confounded at baseline (N-PNS). Negative symptoms of moderate severity were observed in 59% of subjects at baseline and were associated to worse global functioning. PNS were observed in 7.9% of the cohort, unconfounded at both baseline and end of 4-week treatment. PNS subjects showed lower remission and higher attrition rates at the end of all treatment phases. Fifty-six percent of subjects completing phase 3 (clozapine treatment) had PNS, and 60% of them were non-remitters at the end of this phase. The presence of short-term PNS during the first phases of psychosis was associated with poor clinical outcome and resistance to antipsychotic treatment, including clozapine.
Prof Mucci has been a consultant and/or advisor to or has received honoraria from Gedeon Richter Bulgaria, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Lundbeck, Otsuka, Pfizer and Pierre Fabre.
Negative symptoms are considered a core feature of schizophrenia. They are present since the prodromal phase and tend to persist more than other psychopathological dimensions in the chronic stages. The domain of apathy has attracted research efforts for the strong association with poor functional outcome. This negative symptom domain is observed in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders and might have both overlapping and distinct pathophysiological mechanisms. In schizophrenia it can be secondary to other aspects of the disorder, such as positive symptoms and depression, to drug side effects and/or social isolation, often observed in affected subjects. When primary to schizophrenia, apathy is conceptualized in terms of a reduction of the voluntary activity due to a lack of interest and motivation for goal-directed behavior initiation and persistence. In a percentage of subjects, apathy tend to persist and do not respond to available pharmacological and psychosocial treatments. The assessment of this domain in patients with schizophrenia using internationally recognized criteria for its definition, as were recently developed in other neuropsychiatric disorders, might help disentangle the different pathophysiological mechanisms. In the presentation, studies of apathy in schizophrenia will be illustrated to highlight the relationships with cognitive dysfunction, other psychopathological dimensions and functional outcome using state of the art instruments to assess the construct in schizophrenia.
Prof. Mucci has been a consultant and/or advisor to or has received honoraria from Gedeon Richter Bulgaria, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Lundbeck, Otsuka, Pfizer and Pierre Fabre.
Central to recovery-oriented approaches in schizophrenia are treatment integration and personalization, targeting key variables beyond symptom reduction. The Italian network for research on psychoses conducted a study demonstrating, using network analysis, the central role of community activities in bridging the effects of symptoms, cognition, functional capacity and service engagement on real-word functioning. A 4-year follow-up study was recently completed and the presentation will illustrate the findings. Network analysis was used to test whether relationships among all variables at baseline were similar at follow-up. In addition, the network structure was compared between subjects classified as recovered or non-recovered at follow-up. Six hundred eighteen subjects were assessed at both baseline and 4-year follow-up. Results showed that the network structure was stable from baseline to follow-up, and the overall strength of the connections among variables did not significantly change. Functional capacity and everyday life skills were the most central variables in the network at both baseline and follow-up, while psychopathological variables were more peripheral. The network structure of non-recovered patients was similar to the one observed in the whole sample, but very different from that of recovered subjects, showing few connections among the different nodes. These data strongly suggest that connections among symptoms/dysfunctions tend to maintain over time, contributing to poor outcome in schizophrenia. Early treatment plans, targeting variables with high centrality, might prevent the emergence of self-reinforcing networks of symptoms and dysfunctions in people with schizophrenia.
Armida Mucci has been a consultant and/or advisor to or has received honoraria from Gedeon Richter Bulgaria, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Lundbeck, Otsuka, Pfizer and Pierre Fabre. None of these has any impact on this abstract and on the presented study.
Social cognition and skill deficits have been largely documented in subjects with schizophrenia (SCZs), and have a strong influence on the functional outcome of these subjects. Different behavioural interventions have been developed to target and improve social skills in SCZs. For instance, the Social Skills Training (SST) focuses on improving communication skills and assertiveness to facilitate disease management, independent living and real-life functioning of SCZs. SST seems also to have an impact on negative symptoms and social cognition.
The study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of SST in improving social cognition and negative symptoms in SCZs.
The sample included 8 chronic SCZs (age between 18 and 60), who completed 6 months of SST. The intervention consisted of two weekly group sessions of 2 hours each. We assessed psychopathology, neurocognition, real-life functioning, functional capacity and social cognition at baseline and after training. Paired samples t-tests were performed to evaluate the differences of the variables considered after completing the treatment.
Significant improvements in negative symptoms (p<.05), social cognition (p<.05), functional capacity (p<.001), activities of daily living (p<.001) and interpersonal relationships (p<.011) were found.
The present findings suggest that SST might ameliorate social cognition and negative symptoms which are generally not influenced by antipsychotic treatment. The integration of pharmacological and SST interventions might have an impact on major determinants of poor real-life functioning in SCZs.
Different electrophysiological indices have been investigated to identify diagnostic and prognostic markers of schizophrenia (SCZ). However, these indices have limited use in clinical practice, since both specificity and association with illness outcome remain unclear. In recent years, machine learning techniques, through the combination of multidimensional data, have been used to better characterize SCZ and to predict illness course.
The aim of the present study is to identify multimodal electrophysiological biomarkers that could be used in clinical practice in order to improve precision in diagnosis and prognosis of SCZ.
Illness-related and functioning-related variables were measured at baseline in 113 subjects with SCZ and 57 healthy controls (HC), and after four-year follow-up in 61 SCZ. EEGs were recorded at baseline in resting-state condition and during two auditory tasks (MMN-P3a and N100-P3b). Through a Linear Support Vector Machine, using EEG data as predictors, four models were generated in order to classify SCZ and HC. Then, we combined unimodal classifiers’ scores through a stacking procedure. Pearson’s correlations between classifiers score with illness-related and functioning-related variables, at baseline and follow-up, were performed.
Each EEG model produced significant classification (p < 0.05). Global classifier discriminated SCZ from HC with accuracy of 75.4% (p < 0.01). A significant correlation (r=0.40, p=0.002) between the global classifier scores with negative symptoms at follow-up was found. Within negative symptoms, blunted affect showed the strongest correlation.
Abnormalities in electrophysiological indices might be considered trait markers of schizophrenia. Our results suggest that multimodal electrophysiological markers might have prognostic value for negative symptoms.
Negative symptoms of schizophrenia remain a major therapeutic challenge. The progress in the conceptualization and assessment is not yet fully reflected by treatment research. Nevertheless, there is a growing evidence base regarding the effects of biological and psychosocial interventions on negative symptoms. The importance of the distinction between primary and secondary negative symptoms for treatment selection might seem evident, but the currently available evidence remains limited. Good clinical practice is recommended for the treatment of secondary negative symptoms. Antipsychotic treatment should be optimized to avoid secondary negative symptoms due to side effects and due to positive symptoms. For most available interventions, further evidence is needed to formulate sound recommendations for primary, persistent, or predominant negative symptoms.
However, based on currently available evidence recommendations for the treatment of undifferentiated negative symptoms (including both primary and secondary negative symptoms) are provided. Although it has proven difficult to formulate an evidence-based recommendation for the choice of an antipsychotic, a switch to a second-generation antipsychotic should be considered for patients who are treated with a first-generation antipsychotic. Antidepressant add-on to antipsychotic treatment is an option. Social skills training is recommended as well as cognitive remediation for patients who also show cognitive impairment. Exercise interventions also have shown promise. Finally, access to treatment and to psychosocial rehabilitation should be ensured for patients with negative symptoms. Overall, there is definitive progress in the field, but further research is clearly needed to develop specific treatments for negative symptoms.
During the last decades, a renewed interest for negative symptoms (NS) was brought about by the increased awareness that they interfere severely with real-life functioning, particularly when they are primary and persistent.
In this guidance paper, we provide a systematic review of the evidence and elaborate several recommendations for the conceptualization and assessment of NS in clinical trials and practice.
Expert consensus and systematic reviews have provided guidance for the optimal assessment of primary and persistent negative symptoms; second-generation rating scales, which provide a better assessment of the experiential domains, are available; however, NS are still poorly assessed both in research and clinical settings.
This European Psychiatric Association (EPA) guidance recommends the use of persistent negative symptoms (PNS) construct in the context of clinical trials and highlights the need for further efforts to make the definition of PNS consistent across studies in order to exclude as much as possible secondary negative symptoms. We also encourage clinicians to use second-generation scales, at least to complement first-generation ones.
The EPA guidance further recommends the evidence-based exclusion of several items included in first-generation scales from any NS summary or factor score to improve NS measurement in research and clinical settings. Self-rated instruments are suggested to further complement observer-rated scales in NS assessment.
Several recommendations are provided for the identification of secondary negative symptoms in clinical settings.
The dissemination of this guidance paper may promote the development of national guidelines on negative symptom assessment and ultimately improve the care of people with schizophrenia.
Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) have worse physical health and reduced life expectancy compared to the general population. In 2009, the European Psychiatric Association, the European Society of Cardiology and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes published a position paper aimed to improve cardiovascular and diabetes care in patients with severe mental illnesses. However, the initiative did not produce the expected results. Experts in SSD or in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases convened to identify main issues relevant to management of cardiometabolic risk factors in schizophrenia patients and to seek consensus through the Delphi method.
The steering committee identified four topics: 1) cardiometabolic risk factors in schizophrenia patients; 2) cardiometabolic risk factors related to antipsychotic treatment; 3) differences in antipsychotic cardiometabolic profiles; 4) management of cardiometabolic risk. Twelve key statements were included in a Delphi questionnaire delivered to a panel of expert European psychiatrists.
Consensus was reached for all statements with positive agreement higher than 85% in the first round. European psychiatrists agreed on: 1) high cardiometabolic risk in patients with SSD, 2) importance of correct risk management of cardiometabolic diseases, from lifestyle modification to treatment of risk factors, including the choice of antipsychotic drugs with a favourable cardiometabolic profile. The expert panel identified the psychiatrist as the central coordinating figure of management, possibly assisted by other specialists and general practitioners.
This study demonstrates high level of agreement among European psychiatrists regarding the importance of cardiovascular risk assessment and management in subjects with SSD.
To provide evidence to the link between serotonin (5-HT), energy metabolism, and the human obese phenotype, the present study investigated the binding and function of the platelet 5-HT transporter (SERT), in relation to circulating insulin, leptin, and glycolipid metabolic parameters.
Seventy-four drug-free subjects were recruited on the basis of divergent body mass index (BMIs) (16.5-54.8 Kg/m2). All subjects were tested for their blood glycolipid profile together with platelet [3H]-paroxetine ([3H]-Par) binding and [3H]-5-HT reuptake measurements from April 1st to June 30th, 2019.
The [3H]-Par Bmax (fmol/mg proteins) was progressively reduced with increasing BMIs (P < .001), without changes in affinity. Moreover, Bmax was negatively correlated with BMI, waist/hip circumferences (W/HC), triglycerides (TD), glucose, insulin, and leptin, while positively with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (P < .01). The reduction of 5-HT uptake rate (Vmax, pmol/min/109 platelets) among BMI groups was not statistically significant, but Vmax negatively correlated with leptin and uptake affinity values (P < .05). Besides, [3H]-Par affinity values positively correlated with glycemia and TD, while [3H]-5-HT reuptake affinity with glycemia only (P < .05). Finally, these correlations were specific of obese subjects, while, from multiple linear-regression analysis conducted on all subjects, insulin (P = .006) resulting negatively related to Bmax independently from BMI.
Present findings suggest the presence of a possible alteration of insulin/5-HT/leptin axis in obesity, differentially impinging the density, function, and/or affinity of the platelet SERT, as a result of complex appetite/reward-related interactions between the brain, gut, pancreatic islets, and adipose tissue. Furthermore, they support the foremost cooperation of peptides and 5-HT in maintaining energy homeostasis.
Sexual response in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) research and practice is overlooked. According to the Dual Control Model, satisfactory sexual response is based upon a balance of sexual excitation and inhibition. The assessment of sexual response in OCD may have clinical implications, such as the integration of sex therapy in psychotherapeutic intervention. The present study was aimed at comparing sexual excitation and inhibition levels between OCD patients and matched control subjects, and investigating whether obsessive beliefs might predict sexual excitation/inhibition.
Seventy-two OCD patients (mean age ± standard deviation [SD]: 34.50 ± 10.39 years) and 72 matched control subjects (mean age ± SD: 34.25 ± 10.18) were included (62.50% men and 37.50% women in both groups). The Obsessive Compulsive Inventory-Revised (OCI-R), the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire-46 (OBQ-46), and the Sexual Inhibition/Sexual Excitation Scales (SIS/SES) were administered.
Patients with OCD showed significantly higher levels of sexual excitation, inhibition due to threat of performance failure, and inhibition due to threat of performance consequences than the controls. In addition, the patients with more severe symptoms showed lower excitation than those with less severe symptoms, and those with higher perfectionism had stronger inhibition due to threat of performance failure than those with lower perfectionism.
This is the first study exploring sexual response in OCD according to the Dual Control Model. Sexual response is an impaired quality of life outcome in OCD that should be assessed in routine clinical practice. These findings support the importance of addressing specific obsessive beliefs to improve sexuality in OCD patients.
While both depression and aging have been associated with oxidative stress and impaired immune response, little is known about redox patterns in elderly depressed subjects. This study investigates the relationship between redox/inflammatory patterns and depression in a sample of elderly adults.
The plasma levels of the advanced products of protein oxidation (AOPP), catalase (CAT), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), glutathione transferase (GST), interleukin 6 (IL-6), superoxide dismutase (SOD), total thiols (TT), and uric acid (UA) were evaluated in 30 patients with mood disorders with a current depressive episode (depressed patients, DP) as well as in 30 healthy controls (HC) aged 65 years and over. Subjects were assessed with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HAM-A), the Geriatric Depression Rating Scale (GDS), the Scale for Suicide Ideation (SSI), the Reason for Living Inventory (RFL), the Activities of Daily Living (ADL), and the Instrumental Activity of Daily Living (IADL).
DP showed higher levels than HC of AOPP and IL-6, while displaying lower levels of FRAP, TT, and CAT. In the DP group, specific correlations were found among biochemical parameters. SOD, FRAP, UA, and TT levels were also significantly related to psychometric scale scores.
Specific alterations of redox systems are detectable among elderly DP.
Patients with schizophrenia display experiential anomalies in their feelings and cognitions arising in the domain of their lived body. These abnormal bodily phenomena (ABP) are not part of diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia. One of the reasons is the difficulty to assess specific ABP for schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The present study aimed to explore the presence in patients with schizophrenia of specific ABP.
We used a semistructured interview—the Abnormal Bodily Phenomena questionnaire (ABPq), an instrument devised to detect and measure ABP specific to patients with schizophrenia. Fifty-one outpatients affected by schizophrenia and 28 euthymic outpatients affected by bipolar disorder type I with psychotic features (BD-pf-e) were recruited. Before assessing the specificity for schizophrenia of the observed ABP, we tested the internal consistency and the convergent validity of the ABPq in patients with schizophrenia. Specificity was assessed by examining potential differences in ABPq among the patients with schizophrenia in remission (SCZ-r) and BD-pf-e.
The ABPq shows strong internal consistency and convergent validity. As to the specificity, ABP measured by ABPq were more frequent and severe in SCZ-r than in BD-pf-e. In particular, all ABPq dimensions, except “Coherence,” had at least mild severity in over 50% of SCZ-r, while dimensions with at least mild severity were observed in 5–10% of the BD-pf-e.
These findings can contribute to establish more precise phenomenal boundaries between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, to explore the borders between nonpsychotic and psychotic forms of ABP, between ABP and negative and disorganized symptoms, and to enlighten core aspects of schizophrenia.