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We aimed to evaluate how coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions had altered individual's drinking behaviours, including consumption, hangover experiences, and motivations to drink, and changing levels of depression and anxiety.
We conducted an online cross-sectional self-report survey. Whole group analysis compared pre- versus post-COVID restrictions. A correlation coefficient matrix evaluated the associations between all outcome scores. Self-report data was compared with Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scores from the 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. Multiple linear modelling (MLM) was calculated to identify factors associated with increasing AUDIT scores and post-restriction AUDIT scores.
In total, 346 individuals completed the survey, of which 336 reported drinking and were therefore analysed. After COVID-19 restrictions 23.2% of respondents reported an increased AUDIT score, and 60.1% a decreased score. AUDIT score change was positively correlated with change in depression (P < 0.01, r = 0.15), anxiety (P < 0.01, r = 0.15) and drinking to cope scores (P < 0.0001, r = 0.35). MLM revealed that higher AUDIT scores were associated with age, mental illness, lack of a garden, self-employed or furloughed individuals, a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and smoking status.
COVID-19 restrictions decreased alcohol consumption for the majority of individuals in this study. However, a small proportion increased their consumption; this related to drinking to cope and increased depression and anxiety.
Despite record-breaking numbers of opiate related deaths in the UK in 2019, pharmacological management of opiate dependence has evolved little since the advent of methadone in 1965. Along with harm minimisation and psychosocial interventions, the mainstay of pharmacological treatment remains opioid substitution therapy (OST) using methadone or buprenorphine, with many patients receiving OST for many years. Even with these treatments, opiate users continue to face mortality risks 12 times higher than the general population, and emerging evidence suggests that individuals who remain on long-term OST present with a range of physical and cognitive impairments. Therefore, with a growing ageing opiate dependent population who would benefit from detoxification from OST, this article provides an overview of the current state of opiate dependence in clinical practice, explores the reasons why availability and acceptability of detoxification pathways are declining, and discusses emerging pharmacological therapies that could provide benefit in relapse prevention.
Women in academic publishing and academic psychiatry face many challenges of gender inequality, including significant pay differentials, poor visibility in senior positions and a male-dominated hierarchical system. We discuss this problem and outline how the BJPsych plans to tackle these issues it in its own publishing.
Addiction is a global health problem with a chronic relapsing nature for which there are few treatment options. In the past few decades, neuroimaging has allowed us to better understand the neurobiology of addiction. Functional neuroimaging paradigms have been developed to probe the neural circuits underlying addiction, including reward, inhibitory control, stress, emotional processing and learning/memory networks. Functional neuroimaging has also been used to provide biological support for the benefits of psychosocial and pharmacological interventions, although evidence remains limited and often inconclusive in this area, which may contribute to the variability in treatment efficacy. In this article, we discuss the changing definitions and clinical criteria that describe and classify addictive disorders. Using examples from functional neuroimaging studies we summarise the neurobiological mechanisms that underpin drug use, dependence, tolerance, withdrawal and relapse. We discuss the links between functional neuroimaging and treatment, outline clinical management in the UK and give an overview of future directions in research and addiction services.
Gut microbiota data obtained by DNA sequencing are not only complex because of the number of taxa that may be detected within human cohorts, but also compositional because characteristics of the microbiota are described in relative terms (e.g., “relative abundance” of particular bacterial taxa expressed as a proportion of the total abundance of taxa). Nutrition researchers often use standard principal component analysis (PCA) to derive dietary patterns from complex food data, enabling each participant's diet to be described in terms of the extent to which it fits their cohort's dietary patterns. However, compositional PCA methods are not commonly used to describe patterns of microbiota in the way that dietary patterns are used to describe diets. This approach would be useful for identifying microbiota patterns that are associated with diet and body composition. The aim of this study is to use compositional PCA to describe gut microbiota profiles in 5 year old children and explore associations between microbiota profiles, diet, body mass index (BMI) z-score, and fat mass index (FMI) z-score. This study uses a cross-sectional data for 319 children who provided a faecal sample at 5 year of age. Their primary caregiver completed a 123-item quantitative food frequency questionnaire validated for foods of relevance to the gut microbiota. Body composition was determined using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and BMI and FMI z-scores calculated. Compositional PCA identified and described gut microbiota profiles at the genus level, and profiles were examined in relation to diet and body size. Three gut microbiota profiles were found. Profile 1 (positive loadings on Blautia and Bifidobacterium; negative loadings on Bacteroides) was not related to diet or body size. Profile 2 (positive loadings on Bacteroides; negative loadings on uncultured Christensenellaceae and Ruminococcaceae) was associated with a lower BMI z-score (r = -0.16, P = 0.003). Profile 3 (positive loadings on Faecalibacterium, Eubacterium and Roseburia) was associated with higher intakes of fibre (r = 0.15, P = 0.007); total (r = 0.15, P = 0.009), and insoluble (r = 0.13, P = 0.021) non-starch polysaccharides; protein (r = 0.12, P = 0.036); meat (r = 0.15, P = 0.010); and nuts, seeds and legumes (r = 0.11, P = 0.047). Further regression analyses found that profile 2 and profile 3 were independently associated with BMI z-score and diet respectively. We encourage fellow researchers to use compositional PCA as a method for identifying further links between the gut, diet and obesity, and for developing the next generation of research in which the impact on body composition of dietary interventions that modify the gut microbiota is determined.
There are few topics that divide public opinion as sharply as the use of psychoactive substances and it is easy to see why. Substance use is complex and can be examined from numerous perspectives, including legal, health, economic, cultural and ethical. These varying approaches can lead to a range of different conclusions. Here we explore some of the common approaches adopted towards drug policy and suggest a number of principles, which may inform a psychiatrist's own view.
Deficits in frontal lobe perfusion have been demonstrated in late-life depression; however, studies to date have generally involved small numbers, used neuroimaging rather than bedside testing and have not controlled for important covariates.
We aimed to examine the association between depressive symptoms and frontal lobe perfusion during standing, in a large cohort of community-dwelling older people.
Participants aged ≥50 years underwent continuous measurement of orthostatic blood pressure by finometry, and frontal lobe perfusion by near-infrared spectroscopy. Depressive symptoms were assessed by the eight-item Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Real-time frontal lobe cerebral oxygenation was measured by the Portalite System, detecting changes in frontal lobe perfusion and reporting a tissue saturation index score.
Almost 8% (209 out of 2616) had clinically significant depressive symptoms. Multilevel models demonstrated a significantly lower tissue saturation index in participants with depressive symptoms at both 60 and 90 s post-stand, with coefficients of −0.43 (95% CI −0.63 to −0.22) and −0.37 (95% CI −0.57 to −0.16), respectively. Controlling for relevant covariates did not significantly attenuate these associations. After addition of systolic blood pressure this association was no longer significant, suggesting lower blood pressure may modify this relationship.
This study demonstrates that lower frontal lobe perfusion, related to lower values of baseline systolic blood pressure, is associated with clinically significant depressive symptoms in a cohort of community-dwelling older people. Given the recognised longitudinal association between lower blood pressure and depression in older people, this may represent a potential therapeutic target for prevention of incident depression.
Society is undergoing a shift in gender politics. Science and medicine are part of this conversation, not least as women's representation and pay continue to drop as one progresses through more senior academic and clinical levels. Naming and redressing these inequalities needs to be a priority for us all.
Previous reports investigating adiposity and cognitive function in the population allude to a negative association, although the relationship in older adults is unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of adiposity (BMI and waist:hip ratio (WHR)) with cognitive function in community-dwelling older adults (≥60 years). Participants included 5186 adults from the Trinity Ulster Department of Agriculture ageing cohort study. Neuropsychological assessment measures included the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB) and Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS). Multi-variable linear regression models were used to assess the association between adiposity and cognitive function adjusting for insulin resistance, inflammation and cerebrovascular disease. The mean ages were 80·3 (sd 6·7), 71·0 (sd 7·3) and 70·2 (sd 6·3) years on the cognitive, bone and hypertensive cohorts, respectively. In the cognitive cohort, BMI was positively associated with immediate and delay memory, visuospatial/constructional ability, language and MMSE, and negatively with FAB (log-transformed), whereas WHR was negatively associated with attention. In the bone cohort, BMI was not associated with any cognitive domain, whereas WHR was negatively associated with visuospatial/constructional ability, attention and MMSE. In the hypertensive cohort, BMI was not associated with any cognitive domain, whereas WHR was negatively associated with immediate and delayed memory, visuospatial/constructional ability, language and MMSE and positively with FAB (log-transformed). In the cognitive and bone cohorts, the association of WHR and attention disappeared by further controlling for C-reactive protein and HbA1C. In this study of older adults, central adiposity was a stronger predictor of poor cognitive performance than BMI. Older adults could benefit from targeted public health strategies aimed at reducing obesity and obeseogenic risk factors to avoid/prevent/slow cognitive dysfunction.
There are no previous whole-country studies on mental health and
relationships with general health in intellectual disability populations;
study results vary.
To determine the prevalence of mental health conditions and relationships
with general health in a total population with and without intellectual
Ninety-four per cent completed Scotland's Census 2011. Data on
intellectual disabilities, mental health and general health were
extracted, and the association between them was investigated.
A total of 26 349/5 295 403 (0.5%) had intellectual disabilities. In
total, 12.8% children, 23.4% adults and 27.2% older adults had mental
health conditions compared with 0.3, 5.3 and 4.5% of the general
population. Intellectual disabilities predicted mental health conditions;
odds ratio (OR)=7.1 (95% CI 6.8–7.3). General health was substantially
poorer and associated with mental health conditions; fair health OR=1.8
(95% CI 1.7–1.9), bad/very bad health OR=4.2 (95% CI 3.9–4.6).
These large-scale, whole-country study findings are important, given the
previously stated lack of confidence in comparative prevalence results,
and the need to plan services accordingly.
Since 2014 patient group representatives have been able to observe Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) committee meetings as members of the public. However, they have had no opportunity to participate in discussions on their submission on the patient experience of living with the condition under review. In 2017, to strengthen patient engagement, we revised our processes to enable representatives from all submitting patient groups to play a bigger part in the monthly meeting.
The SMC Public Involvement Network (PIN) Advisory Group consulted on potential issues around patient group participation in committee meetings. Recommendations approved for implementation included (i) provision of comprehensive information and support to participating patient group representatives, and (ii) holding an educational session for SMC members on ‘What matters to the patient’. The process change was introduced in June 2017. Patient group representatives are invited to complete an online survey on their experience of taking part in the meeting and working with the public involvement team. Implementation is being monitored and will be evaluated in a commitment to continuous improvement.
Since June 2017, 14 patient group representatives have attended SMC meetings for the discussion of their submission. This has enabled them to answer questions from committee members and clarify points relating to their submission, if required. Early feedback has been positive with participants believing that patient engagement has been strengthened and that the patient voice was heard and valued. Patient groups expressed a willingness to participate again. The evaluation of their experience to date will be presented.
SMC now involves patient group participation at committee meetings, demonstrating commitment to listening and responding to stakeholders on patient engagement. Early feedback has been positive and suggests that discussions relating to quality of life impact on patients and carers better reflect the lived experience. This ensures we are meeting our commitment to openness and transparency and strengthens patient engagement in our process.