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The aim of this study was to assess barriers and facilitators in the pathways toward specialist care for eating disorders (EDs).
Eleven ED services located in seven European countries recruited patients with an ED. Clinicians administered an adapted version of the World Health Organization “Encounter Form,” a standardized tool to assess the pathways to care. The unadjusted overall time needed to access the ED unit was described using the Kaplan–Meier curve.
Four-hundred-nine patients were recruited. The median time between the onset of the current ED episode and the access to a specialized ED care was 2 years. Most of the participants did not directly access the specialist ED unit: primary “points of access” to care were mental health professionals and general practitioners. The involvement of different health professionals in the pathway, seeking help for general psychiatric symptoms, and lack of support from family members were associated with delayed access to ED units.
Educational programs aiming to promote early diagnosis and treatment for EDs should pay particular attention to general practitioners, in addition to mental health professionals, and family members to increase awareness of these illnesses and of their treatment initiation process.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telemedicine as a way to reduce COVID-19 infections was noted and consequently deregulated. However, the degree of telemedicine regulation varies from country to country, which may alter the widespread use of telemedicine. This study aimed to clarify the telepsychiatry regulations for each collaborating country/region before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We used snowball sampling within a global network of international telepsychiatry experts. Thirty collaborators from 17 different countries/regions responded to a questionnaire on barriers to the use and implementation of telepsychiatric care, including policy factors such as regulations and reimbursement at the end of 2019 and as of May 2020.
Thirteen of 17 regions reported a relaxation of regulations due to the pandemic; consequently, all regions surveyed stated that telepsychiatry was now possible within their public healthcare systems. In some regions, restrictions on prescription medications allowed via telepsychiatry were eased, but in 11 of the 17 regions, there were still restrictions on prescribing medications via telepsychiatry. Lower insurance reimbursement amounts for telepsychiatry consultations v. in-person consultations were reevaluated in four regions, and consequently, in 15 regions telepsychiatry services were reimbursed at the same rate (or higher) than in-person consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our results confirm that, due to COVID-19, the majority of countries surveyed are altering telemedicine regulations that had previously restricted the spread of telemedicine. These findings provide information that could guide future policy and regulatory decisions, which facilitate greater scale and spread of telepsychiatry globally.
Few studies have investigated alterations of olfactory neuroepithelium (ONE) as a biomarker of schizophrenia, and none its association with cognitive functioning.
Fresh ONE cells from twelve patients with schizophrenia and thirteen healthy controls were collected by nasal brushing, cultured in proper media and passed twelve times. Markers of cell proliferation (BrdU incorporation, Cyclin-D1 and p21 protein level) were quantified.Cognitive function was measured using Brief Neuropsychological Examination-2. Primary outcome: proliferation of ONE cells from schizophrenic patients at passage 3. Secondary outcome: association between alteration of cell proliferation and cognitive function.
Fresh ONE cells from patients showed a faster cell proliferation than those from healthy controls at passage 3. An opposite trend was observed at passage 9, ONE cells of patients with schizophrenia showing slower cell proliferation as compared to healthy controls. In schizophrenia, overall cognitive function (Spearman’s rho -0.657, p < 0.01), verbal memory – immediate recall, with interference at 10 s and 30 s (Spearman’s rho from -0.676 to 0.697, all p < 0.01) were inversely associated with cell proliferation at passage 3.
Fresh ONE cells collected by nasal brushing might eventually represent a tool for diagnosing schizophrenia based upon markers of cell proliferation, which can be easily implemented as single-layer culture. Cell proliferation at passage 3 can be regarded as a promising proxy of cognitive functioning in schizophrenia. Future studies should replicate these findings, and may assess whether ONE alterations are there before onset of psychosis, serving as an early sign in patients with at risk mental state.
Objective – The study aims to construct and validate a new screening questionnaire for the identification of cases at risk for eating disorders. Setting and sample – We assessed 218 female adolescent students-recruited in a vocational school in Mestre (VE) and 88 patients consecutively referred to the Eating Disorders Unit of the University of Padova. Procedure and main outcome measures – All subjects completed the new questionnaire, the Inventory for the Screening of Eating Disorders (ISED), and the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT). Sixty-two percent of female students and all the patients underwent a structured diagnostic interview (SCID for DSM-IV) for the diagnosis of eating disorders. The reliability, validity and screening ability of the questionnaire have been assessed. Results – The reliability of the ISED, measured by Cronbach's alpha, is good (α=0.87), as is the convergent validity (correlations with EAT). In order to improve the screening ability, the questionnaire has been further divided in two subscales: one for the identification of cases at risk for anorexia nervosa (ISED-AN) and the other for cases at risk for bulimia nervosa (ISED-BN). The screening ability of the two subscales is greater than that of EAT, although the difference is not statistically significant. The ISED cutoff points have greater positive predictive values than those of EAT in the screening of both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Conclusions – The ISED appears to-be a valid and reliable questionnaire among female adolescents. Its use might improve the identification of cases at risk for eating disorders and in particular those at risk for anorexia nervosa.Other studies are needed to confirm the validity and performance of the questionnaire among samples of different ages and socio-economic status.
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