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Individuals with bipolar disorder are commonly correctly diagnosed a decade after symptom onset. Machine learning techniques may aid in early recognition and reduce the disease burden. As both individuals at risk and those with a manifest disease display structural brain markers, structural magnetic resonance imaging may provide relevant classification features.
Following a pre-registered protocol, we trained linear support vector machine (SVM) to classify individuals according to their estimated risk for bipolar disorder using regional cortical thickness of help-seeking individuals from seven study sites (N = 276). We estimated the risk using three state-of-the-art assessment instruments (BPSS-P, BARS, EPIbipolar).
For BPSS-P, SVM achieved a fair performance of Cohen's κ of 0.235 (95% CI 0.11–0.361) and a balanced accuracy of 63.1% (95% CI 55.9–70.3) in the 10-fold cross-validation. In the leave-one-site-out cross-validation, the model performed with a Cohen's κ of 0.128 (95% CI −0.069 to 0.325) and a balanced accuracy of 56.2% (95% CI 44.6–67.8). BARS and EPIbipolar could not be predicted. In post hoc analyses, regional surface area, subcortical volumes as well as hyperparameter optimization did not improve the performance.
Individuals at risk for bipolar disorder, as assessed by BPSS-P, display brain structural alterations that can be detected using machine learning. The achieved performance is comparable to previous studies which attempted to classify patients with manifest disease and healthy controls. Unlike previous studies of bipolar risk, our multicenter design permitted a leave-one-site-out cross-validation. Whole-brain cortical thickness seems to be superior to other structural brain features.
Sensorimotor gating is experimentally operationalized by the prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle response (SR). Previous studies suggest high test-retest reliability of PPI and potential correlation with working memory (WM). Here, we aimed to validate and extend the test-retest reliability of PPI in healthy humans and its correlation with WM performance.
We applied an acoustic startle PPI paradigm with four different prepulse intensities (64, 68, 72 and 76 dB) and two different WM tasks [n-back, change detection task (CDT)] in a group of 26 healthy adults (final sample size n = 23). To assess test-retest reliability, we performed all tests on two separate days ~27 days (range: 21–32 days) apart.
We were able to confirm high test-retest reliability of the PPI with a mean intraclass correlation (ICC) of > 0.80 and significant positive correlation of PPI with n-back but not with CDT performance. Detailed analysis showed that PPI across all prepulse intensities significantly correlated with both the 2-back and 0-back conditions, suggesting regulation by cross-conditional processes (e.g. attention). However, when removing the 0-back component from the 2-back data, we found a specific and significant correlation with WM for the 76-dB PPI condition.
With the present study, we were able to confirm the high test-retest reliability of the PPI in humans and could validate and expand on its correlation with WM performance.
Response to lithium in patients with bipolar disorder is associated with clinical and transdiagnostic genetic factors. The predictive combination of these variables might help clinicians better predict which patients will respond to lithium treatment.
To use a combination of transdiagnostic genetic and clinical factors to predict lithium response in patients with bipolar disorder.
This study utilised genetic and clinical data (n = 1034) collected as part of the International Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLi+Gen) project. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were computed for schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, and then combined with clinical variables using a cross-validated machine-learning regression approach. Unimodal, multimodal and genetically stratified models were trained and validated using ridge, elastic net and random forest regression on 692 patients with bipolar disorder from ten study sites using leave-site-out cross-validation. All models were then tested on an independent test set of 342 patients. The best performing models were then tested in a classification framework.
The best performing linear model explained 5.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response and was composed of clinical variables, PRS variables and interaction terms between them. The best performing non-linear model used only clinical variables and explained 8.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response. A priori genomic stratification improved non-linear model performance to 13.7% (P = 0.0001) and improved the binary classification of lithium response. This model stratified patients based on their meta-polygenic loadings for major depressive disorder and schizophrenia and was then trained using clinical data.
Using PRS to first stratify patients genetically and then train machine-learning models with clinical predictors led to large improvements in lithium response prediction. When used with other PRS and biological markers in the future this approach may help inform which patients are most likely to respond to lithium treatment.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Dietary lipids (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3) PUFAs) and saturated fatty acids (SFA) seem to play an important role in brain health. (n-3) PUFAs have been shown to improve cerebral perfusion and to promote synaptogenesis. In this study, we investigated the relationship between dietary fat composition, cognitive performance and brain morphology in cognitively healthy individuals.
A total of 101 cognitively healthy participants (age: 42.3 ± 21.3 years, 62 females) were included in this study. Verbal memory was assessed using the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT). Intake of (n-3) PUFA and SFA was calculated from food-frequency questionnaire-derived data (EPIC-FFQ). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data were obtained (Siemens Trio 3T scanner) and grey matter volumes (GMV) were assessed by voxel-based morphometry (VBM/SPM8). We examined the association of SFA/(n-3) PUFA ratio and memory performance as well as GMV using regression models adjusted for age, sex, education, body mass index, apolipoprotein E (APOE) status and alcohol consumption. For VBM data, a multiple regression analysis was performed using the same covariates as mentioned before with intracranial volume as an additional covariate.
A high SFA/(n-3) PUFA ratio was significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with poorer verbal memory performance and with lower GMV in areas of the left prefrontal cortex that support memory processes.
These findings suggest that a diet rich in PUFAs is likely to exert favourable effects on brain morphology in brain areas important for memory and executive functions. This could constitute a possible mechanism for maintaining cognitive health in older age.
Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (aADHD) is still a largely unrecognized psychiatric condition despite its strong impact on individuals’ well-being. Here, we describe the healthcare situation of individuals with incident aADHD over 4 years before and 4 years after initial administrative diagnosis.
A retrospective, longitudinal cohort analysis was conducted using German claims data. The InGef database contained approximately 5 million member-records from over 60 nationwide statutory health insurances (SHI). Individuals were indexed upon initial diagnosis of aADHD.
Average age at diagnosis of aADHD was 35 years, and 60% of individuals were male. Comorbidities, resource use, and healthcare costs were substantial before initial diagnosis and decreased within the 4 years thereafter. Only 32% of individuals received initial ADHD medication and adherence was low. The majority received psychotherapy. Individuals with initial ADHD medication showed the highest share in comorbidities, physician visits, medication use for comorbidities, psychotherapy, and costs. Overall, healthcare costs were at over €4,000 per individual within the year of aADHD diagnosis.
We conclude that earlier recognition of aADHD could prevent the development and aggravation of comorbid mental illnesses. At the same time, comorbid conditions may have masked (“over-shadowed”) aADHD and delayed diagnosis. The burden of disease in aADHD is high, which was noticeable especially among individuals who received initial ADHD-medication, suggesting that psychopharmacological treatment was mainly considered for the most severely ill. We conclude that measures to facilitate access of aADHD patients to clinical experts are required to improve reality of care in the outpatient setting.
The general understanding of the ‘vulnerability–stress model’ of mental disorders neglects the modifying impact of resilience-increasing factors such as coping ability.
Probing a conceptual framework integrating both adverse events and coping factors in an extended ‘vulnerability–stress–coping model’ of mental disorders, the effects of functional neuropeptide S receptor gene (NPSR1) variation (G), early adversity (E) and coping factors (C) on anxiety were addressed in a three-dimensional G × E × C model.
In two independent samples of healthy probands (discovery: n = 1403; replication: n = 630), the interaction of NPSR1 rs324981, childhood trauma (Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, CTQ) and general self-efficacy as a measure of coping ability (General Self-Efficacy Scale, GSE) on trait anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) was investigated via hierarchical multiple regression analyses.
In both samples, trait anxiety differed as a function of NPSR1 genotype, CTQ and GSE score (discovery: β = 0.129, P = 3.938 × 10−8; replication: β = 0.102, P = 0.020). In A allele carriers, the relationship between childhood trauma and anxiety was moderated by general self-efficacy: higher self-efficacy and childhood trauma resulted in low anxiety scores, and lower self-efficacy and childhood trauma in higher anxiety levels. In turn, TT homozygotes displayed increased anxiety as a function of childhood adversity unaffected by general self-efficacy.
Functional NPSR1 variation and childhood trauma are suggested as prime moderators in the vulnerability–stress model of anxiety, further modified by the protective effect of self-efficacy. This G × E × C approach – introducing coping as an additional dimension further shaping a G × E risk constellation, thus suggesting a three-dimensional ‘vulnerability–stress–coping model’ of mental disorders – might inform targeted preventive or therapeutic interventions strengthening coping ability to promote resilient functioning.
We have followed up a patient with 8q24.2 → qter and 15q14 → pter duplication due to a maternal reciprocal translocation, a condition related to Prader-Willi Syndrome. Apart from dysmorphic features, the patient suffered from recurring episodes of bipolar psychosis. Interestingly, PET scanning revealed revealed prominent bilateral hypometabolism in the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes as well as in the cerebellum. Possible implications of this rare chromosomal abnormality with regards to psychiatric disorders are discussed, with emphasis on recent evidence suggesting chromosome 15q13-15 as a susceptiblity locus for psychosis.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) often precedes Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD), and in a high proportion of individuals affected by MCI, there are already neuropathological processes ongoing that become more evident when patients progress to AD. Accordingly, there is a need for reliable biomarkers to distinguish between normal aging and incipient AD. Recent research suggests that, in addition to established biomarkers such as CSF Aß42, total tau and hyperphosphorylated tau, resting state connectivity established by functional magnetic resonance imaging might also be a feasible biomarker for prodromal stages of AD. In order to explore this possibility, we investigated resting state functional connectivity as well as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker profiles in patients with MCI (n = 30; age 66.43 ± 7.06 years) and cognitively healthy controls (n = 38; age 66.89 ± 7.12 years). CSF Aß42, total tau and hyperphosphorylated tau concentrations were correlated with measures of cognitive performance (immediate and delayed recall, global cognition, processing speed). Moreover, MCI-related alterations in intrinsic functional connectivity within the default mode network were investigated using functional resting state MRI. As expected, MCI patients showed decreased CSF Aß42 and increased total tau concentrations. These alterations were associated with cognitive performance. However, there were no differences between MCI patients and cognitively healthy controls regarding intrinsic functional connectivity. In conclusion, our results indicate that CSF protein profiles seem to be more closely related to cognitive decline than alterations in resting state activity. Thus, resting state connectivity might not be a reliable biomarker for early stages of AD.
Despite its numerous side effects, clozapine is still the most effective antipsychotics making it an ideal reference substance to validate the efficacy of novel compounds for the treatment of schizophrenia. However, blood–brain barrier permeability for most new molecular entities is unknown, requiring central delivery. Thus, we performed a dose-finding study for chronic intracerebroventricular (icv) delivery of clozapine in mice.
Specifically, we implanted wild-type C57BL/6J mice with osmotic minipumps (Alzet) delivering clozapine at a rate of 0.15 µl/h at different concentrations (0, 3.5, 7 and 14 mg/ml, i.e. 0, 12.5, 25 and 50 µg/day). Mice were tested weekly in a modified SHIRPA paradigm, for locomotor activity in the open field and for prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle response (ASR) for a period of 3 weeks.
None of the clozapine concentrations caused neurological deficits or evident gross behavioural alterations in the SHIRPA paradigm. In male mice, clozapine had no significant effect on locomotor activity or PPI of the ASR. In female mice, the 7 and 14 mg/ml dose of clozapine significantly affected both open field activity and PPI, while 3.5 mg/ml of clozapine increased PPI but had no effects on locomotor activity.
Our findings indicate that 7 mg/ml may be the optimal dose for chronic icv delivery of clozapine in mice, allowing comparison to screen for novel antipsychotic compounds.
ADHD is a highly prevalent disease in childhood which often persists into adulthood, then co-occurring with common adult conditions. Especially for adult ADHD, little is known about the costs of ADHD and the additional costs of comorbid conditions.
To determine medical costs of ADHD and costs of comorbidities (mood, anxiety and substance use disorders, obesity), including their co-occurrence rates, stratified by age and gender.
Claims data from a German Statutory Health Insurance database with approximately four million member-records per year were analysed. A total of 25,300 prevalent ADHD patients were identified by means of an ICD-10 GM diagnosis of ADHD. A 1:1 age and gender adjusted reference group without ADHD diagnosis was randomly selected. Total health claims and health care costs related to ADHD were analysed, in addition to more targeted analyses of the occurrence and costs of pre-defined common comorbidities of, in particular, adult ADHD (SUD, mood and anxiety disorders, obesity). Outcomes were mean costs per patient and occurrence rates of comorbid conditions. Surplus costs of a comorbid condition in persons with ADHD relative to costs of this condition in persons without ADHD were calculated. Subgroup analyses were conducted based on age (0–12 years, 13–17 years, 18–30years, 30+ years) and gender.
Patients with ADHD were €1500 more expensive annually than individuals without ADHD (p < 0.001). Main cost drivers were inpatient care, psychiatrists and psychotherapists. Mood, anxiety, substance use disorders and obesity were significantly more frequent in ADHD patients and additional costs resulting from the comorbid conditions amounted up to €2800. Costs were slightly higher in women than men and increased with age for both genders. In young adults (18–30 years) health care costs dropped notably, especially costs for the medical treatment of ADHD with stimulants and costs for psychiatrists, before rising again in the group of patients over 30 years who had higher comorbidity rates.
Medical costs for ADHD are substantial, in part through frequently occurring comorbid conditions, and particularly in adulthood, and are likely to further accelerate in the coming years. A gap of care was found, starting with the transition age group of patients over 17 years, as indicated by reduced costs per person during young adulthood, as well as an overall strong drop in administrative prevalence. In the future, approaches to improve the situation of care and reduce costs at the same time, i.e. through managed care programmes, should be implemented and benefit from detailed knowledge on age and gender-specific cost-drivers.
There is accumulating evidence that the error-related negativity (ERN), an event-related potential elicited after erroneous actions, is altered in different psychiatric disorders and may help to guide treatment options. Thus, the ERN is a promising candidate as a psychiatric biomarker. Basic methodological requirements for a biomarker are that their measurements are standardised and reliable. The aim of the present study was to establish ERN acquisition in a reliable, time-efficient and patient-friendly way for use in clinical practice.
Healthy subjects performed a speeded Eriksen Flanker Task that increases the number of errors. In a test–retest design (N = 14) with two sessions separated by 28 days we assessed the reliability of the ERN. To ensure external validity, we aimed to replicate previously reported correlation patterns of ERN amplitude with (A) number of errors and (B) negative affect. In order to optimise the clinical use of the task, we determined to which extent the task can be shortened while keeping reliability >0.80.
We found excellent reliability of the ERN (intraclass correlation coefficients = 0.806–0.947) and replicated ERN correlation patterns. The task can be halved to a patient-friendly length of 200 trials (recorded in 8 min) keeping reliability >0.80.
The modified task provides reliable and efficient recording of the ERN, facilitating its use as a psychiatric biomarker.
Individual biological predispositions should play a role in risky driving behaviour. Platelet monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity, dopamine transporter gene (DAT1) and neuropeptide S receptor 1 (NPSR1) gene polymorphisms have been identified as markers of impulsivity, alcohol use and excessive risk-taking. We aimed to find out how this knowledge on neurobiology of impulsivity applies to drunk driving and traffic behaviour in general.
We have longitudinally examined the behaviour of drunk drivers (n = 203) and controls (n = 211) in traffic, in association with their alcohol-related problems, personality measures and the three biomarkers. We analysed differences between the subjects based on whether they had committed driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI) violation in a 10-year time period after recruitment or not and investigated further, what kind of predictive value do the different biomarkers have in committing DWI and other traffic violations and accidents.
The original drunk drivers group had lower platelet MAO activity but further DWI was not significantly associated with this measure. Being a NPSR1 T-allele carrier contributed to the risk of repeatedly committing DWI. DAT1 9R carriers in contrast were involved in more traffic accidents by their own fault (active accidents), compared to 10R homozygotes in the whole sample. All groups with DWI also had significantly more alcohol-related problems and higher scores in maladaptive impulsivity compared to controls without DWI.
Established biological markers of alcohol use and impulsivity can be reliably associated with everyday traffic behaviour and help in contributing to the understanding of the need for more personalized prevention activities.
Need for Cognition (NFC) and Openness to Ideas are intellectual investment traits that are characterized by a tendency to seek out, engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive activity. Little, however, is known about the extent to which they are influenced by genetic and environmental factors. With the present contribution, we aim at furthering our knowledge on the mechanisms underlying intellectual investment traits by following-up on a recent investigation of the role of dopaminergic gene variation in intellectual investment. Employing a standard approach that relied on null-hypothesis significance testing, we found that, first, two dopaminergic genetic variants interacted in modulating individual differences in NFC, but not in Openness to Ideas; that, second, negative life events played a role in the modulation of Openness to Ideas, but not of NFC; and that, third, negative life events as assessed using another measure were only marginally related to Openness to Ideas while positive life events were associated with both Openness to Ideas and NFC, with the latter effect being also dependent on DRD4 exon III genotype. However, employing a Bayesian approach, the assumption of a genetic effect on investment traits was overall not supported, while the assumption of a role of positive life events in the modulation of investment traits could be confirmed, with a tentative increment in the prediction of NFC by adding an interaction of positive life events and DRD4 variation to the main effect of positive life events. Our findings underscore the importance to use different approaches in the field of personality neuroscience. To gain deeper insight into the basis of personality traits does not only require to consider genetic as well as environmental influences and their interplay, but also requires more differentiated statistical analyses that can at least in part tackle the often inconsistent findings in this field.
Working memory (WM) deficits in schizophrenia (SCZ) have been linked to impairments in the encoding phase that are associated with aberrant neuronal functioning. Similar abnormalities have been observed in unaffected first-degree relatives (REL) and are thus discussed as candidate endophenotypes. The process of WM consolidation – i.e. the formation of durable WM representations – is assumed to be impaired in SCZ, but no study has investigated WM consolidation and neuronal correlates of visual WM encoding in REL before.
We examined whole-brain activation during the encoding phase with an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study design in 25 SCZ subjects, 22 REL subjects, and 25 healthy controls. Subjects performed a visual masked change detection task that assessed WM performance and consolidation.
SCZ showed deficient WM performance indicating an impairment consolidation process, accompanied by broad neuronal hypoactivation, most prominently in frontal brain regions, as well as increased activity of the anterior cingulate during the encoding phase. REL showed decreased neuronal activity in the middle and medial frontal gyrus and increased activity in the precentral gyrus and insula during encoding, but no significant behavioral deficits were observed. In respect of given consolidation times, REL showed a shift from decreased frontal activity at short time intervals to increased frontal activity at longer time intervals.
Findings suggest WM consolidation may be slowed in REL so that the deployment of compensatory neuronal resources during encoding is needed to assure proper WM performance. This supports the view of WM-related neuronal dysfunctions as a potential endophenotypic marker.
A functional promoter polymorphism of the nitric oxide synthase 1 gene first exon 1f variable number tandem repeat (NOS1 ex1f-VNTR) is associated with impulsivity and related psychopathology. Facets of impulsivity are strongly associated with personality traits; maladaptive impulsivity with neuroticism; and adaptive impulsivity with extraversion. Both high neuroticism and low extraversion predict anxiety and depressive symptoms. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of the NOS1 ex1f-VNTR genotype and possible interaction with environmental factors on personality, anxiety, and depressiveness in a population-representative sample. Short allele carriers had higher neuroticism and anxiety than individuals with the long/long (l/l) genotype. Male short/short homozygotes also had higher extraversion. In the face of environmental adversity, females with a short allele had higher scores of neuroticism, anxiety, and depressiveness compared to the l/l genotype. Males were more sensitive to environmental conditions when they had the l/l genotype and low extraversion. In conclusion, the NOS1 ex1f-VNTR influences personality and emotional regulation dependent on gender and environment. Together with previous findings on the effect of the NOS1 genotype on impulse control, these data suggest that NOS1 should be considered another plasticity gene, because its variants are associated with different coping strategies.
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