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Migration is a highly defining life event which can lead to mental distress. It constitutes an overall risk factor for psychiatric disorders. However, psychotherapeutic treatment in immigrant patients is considered to be more complex, and the outcome appears to be less favorable than in patients without a migration background.
The aim of this study is to compare psychotherapy assessment between immigrant and non-immigrant psychotic patients in Barcelona.
Patients who have presented, according DSM-V criteria, one or more non-affective psychotic episodes, were recruited in Acute and Chronic inpatients units at Hospital del Mar (Barcelona), leading to a total sample of 77 patients. Demographic characteristics of patients, clinical data and main pharmacological treatment were recorded through a questionnaire. Database information was completed with electronic medical records. Comparative analysis was performed with IBM SPSS using Chi-Square and t-Student test
From a total of 77 patients, 43 were immigrants and 34 were non-immigrants. From the total immigrants only 30,2% received psychotherapy compared to 79,4% from the non-immigrants. The most prevalent therapy received in both groups was cognitive behavioural therapy. From the immigrants group only 2,3% received psychoeducation compared to 11,8% from the non-immigrant group.
According to our results, there are important and significant differences in psychotherapy assessment in migrant psychotic patients. In order to improve the mental health treatment of immigrant patients, the reasons for this poor outcome need to be investigated. These results should be considered by clinicians in order to design assessment program for this population.
Meta-analytic evidence suggests that migrants have higher risk for psychotic disorders. Likewise, growing evidence relate developmental trauma (emotional, sexual, physical abuse and neglect in childhood or adolescence) as a causal factor for psychotic symptoms. However, few studies examine developmental trauma in migrant populations.
The aim of this study is to describe and compare developmental trauma exposure prevalence between immigrant and non-immigrant psychotic patients in Barcelona.
Patients who have presented, according DSM-V criteria, one or more non-affective psychotic episodes, were recruited in Acute and Chronic inpatients units at Hospital del Mar (Barcelona), leading to a total sample of 77 patients. Demographic characteristics of patients, clinical data and main pharmacological treatment were recorded through a questionnaire. Developmental trauma exposure was assessed by Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Comparative analysis was performed with IBM SPSS using Chi-Square Test and t-Student test.
From a total of 77 patients, 43 were immigrants and 34 were non-immigrants. Exposure to traumatic events showed significant differences between immigrants and non-immigrant in Child emotional abuse (64,4% immigrants, 35,3% non-immigrant), Child physical abuse (51,2% immigrants, 14,7% non-immigrant), Child Sexual Abuse (41,9% immigrants, 11,8% non-immigrant) and physical neglect (62,8% immigrants, 26,5% non-immigrant). Emotional neglect exposure was no significant between both groups. Total mean CTQ score was 37,53 in immigrants group and 52,60 in non-immigrant group.
According to our results, there are important and significant differences in developmental trauma exposure between immigrant and non-immigrant psychotic patients. These results should be considered by clinicians in order to design assessment program for this population.
Obesity and its related disorders are growing epidemic across the world. As some forms of abnormal temperament are considered as subtype of the soft bipolar spectrum, we aimed to evaluate abnormal temperaments in morbid obese patients.
Using a short version of the Temperament Evaluation of Memphis, Pisa, Paris and San Diego, we investigated abnormal depressive, cyclothymic, hyperthymic, irritable or anxious temperament in 213 patients with morbid obesity compared to a control group of 90 patients admitted prior to transplantation. Additionally, the Beck-Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Self-Report Manic Inventory (SRMI) were applied to assess the current mood states.
The obese group showed statistically significant more psychiatric comorbidities compared to the control group. Abnormal temperaments were significantly more often observed in patients with morbid obesity rather than in controls. Cyclothymic, irritable and anxious temperaments showed specificity to obesity. Obese patients had significantly higher scores in BDI, while no difference for SRMI scores was registered among the whole groups. All temperaments were positively correlated with BDI and SRMI in the obese group.
Our results need replication but indicate an affective overlap in form of abnormal temperament and depressive symptoms in obese patients, whereas mood swings should be evaluated and early mood stabilization considered for patients with significant weight gain to prevent obesity or to reduce already existing overweight. Studies of mood stabilizers and prospective observations would shed further insight on this complex interface of a major clinical and public health issue.
Functional brain activity has been only studied marginally in schizoaffective disorder (SAD), a disorder whose nosological status is controversial. The present study investigated the prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity of schizomanic patients during performance of a working memory task.
13 schizoaffective patients, with current schizomanic episode (Young> 18); and 26 sex- and age-matched healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing baseline, 1-back and 2-back versions of the n-back task. Linear models were used to obtain maps of activations and deactivations in the groups.
During performance of the n-back task, controls showed activation in a cluster of frontal areas and de-activation in the medial orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate cortex. The SAD patients showed significantly less activation in prefrontal areas than the controls. They also showed a marked failure to de-activate in medial frontal cortex. The SAD patients’ impaired task performance was associated with both reduced activation of the dorsolateral PFC and reduced de-activation of the medial frontal areas.
Schizomanic patients show failure of activation in a network of cortical regions, and also a failure to de-activate the ventromedial PFC and anterior cingulate cortex. This latter area corresponds to the one of the components of the 'default mode network´. This pattern of abnormality is similar to that found by our group to characterise schizophrenia (failure to activate and failure to de-activate), but different from that which characterises manic patients (failure to de-activate only).
Because randomized clinical trials in bipolar disorder include restricted study populations, the possibilities for generalizing to real-world bipolar patients are limited. Naturalistic long-term data can add valuable information about the diversity of treatment, outcome and risk factors in bipolar disorder.
After discharge from a psychiatric community hospital, 300 consecutively admitted ICD-10 bipolar I (n=158) and II (n=142) patients were followed-up naturalistically during for 4 years. Patients were assessed as to time to relapse, relapse in relation to index episode, prophylactic effects of prescribed medication, and risk factors for relapses such as prescribing attitudes, medication adherence, life events and alcohol use disorders.
204 (68%) of 300 patients relapsed within 4 years, with a mean of 208 days (SD=356.2) until the next affective episode. Relapses correlated in a statistically significant manner with the index episode. Using a Kaplan survival analysis, only lithium delayed time to the next affective relapse in a statistically significant way. Survival was reduced in a statistically significant manner when prophylactic medication was replaced by the psychiatrist or stopped by the patient. In a sub-analysis of this cohort life events (n=222) and alcohol use disorders (n=284) were associated with more depressive episodes in bipolar I patients.
Even though lithium seems more protective than other commonly used drugs, bipolar patients still suffer from a high relapse rate. Bad adherence, life events and alcohol use disorders are hereby major risk factors. The results urge for further and more holistic treatment approaches in bipolar disorder.
Relatively few studies have investigated whether relatives of patients with bipolar disorder show brain functional changes, and these have focused on activation changes. Failure of de-activation during cognitive task performance is also seen in the disorder and may have trait-like characteristics since it has been found in euthymia.
A total of 20 euthymic patients with bipolar disorder, 20 of their unaffected siblings and 40 healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during performance of the n-back working memory task. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was fitted to individual whole-brain maps from each set of patient–relative–matched pair of controls. Clusters of significant difference among the groups were used as regions of interest to compare mean activations/de-activations between them.
A single cluster of significant difference among the three groups was found in the whole-brain ANOVA. This was located in the medial prefrontal cortex, a region of task-related de-activation in the healthy controls. Both the patients and their siblings showed significantly reduced de-activation compared with the healthy controls in this region, but the failure was less marked in the relatives.
Failure to de-activate the medial prefrontal cortex in both euthymic bipolar patients and their unaffected siblings adds to evidence for default mode network dysfunction in the disorder, and suggests that it may act as a trait marker.
Few randomised clinical trials have examined the efficacy of an
intervention aimed at improving psychosocial functioning in bipolar
To examine changes in psychosocial functioning in a group that has been
enrolled in a functional remediation programme 1 year after baseline.
This was a multicentre, randomised, rater-masked clinical trial comparing
three patient groups: functional remediation, psychoeducation and
treatment as usual over 1-year follow-up. The primary outcome was change
in psychosocial functioning measured by means of the Functioning
Assessment Short Test (FAST). Group×time effects for overall psychosocial
functioning were examined using repeated-measures ANOVA (trial
There was a significant group×time interaction for overall psychosocial
functioning, favouring patients in the functional remediation group
(F = 3.071, d.f. = 2, P =
Improvement in psychosocial functioning is maintained after 1-year
follow-up in patients with bipolar disorder receiving functional
Functional remediation is a novel intervention with demonstrated efficacy at improving functional outcome in euthymic bipolar patients. However, in a previous trial no significant changes in neurocognitive measures were detected. The objective of the present analysis was to test the efficacy of this therapy in the enhancement of neuropsychological functions in a subgroup of neurocognitively impaired bipolar patients.
A total of 188 out of 239 DSM-IV euthymic bipolar patients performing below two standard deviations from the mean of normative data in any neurocognitive test were included in this subanalysis. Repeated-measures analyses of variance were conducted to assess the impact of the treatment arms [functional remediation, psychoeducation, or treatment as usual (TAU)] on participants’ neurocognitive and functional outcomes in the subgroup of neurocognitively impaired patients.
Patients receiving functional remediation (n = 56) showed an improvement on delayed free recall when compared with the TAU (n = 63) and psychoeducation (n = 69) groups as shown by the group × time interaction at 6-month follow-up [F2,158 = 3.37, degrees of freedom (df) = 2, p = 0.037]. However, Tukey post-hoc analyses revealed that functional remediation was only superior when compared with TAU (p = 0.04), but not with psychoeducation (p = 0.10). Finally, the patients in the functional remediation group also benefited from the treatment in terms of functional outcome (F2,158 = 4.26, df = 2, p = 0.016).
Functional remediation is effective at improving verbal memory and psychosocial functioning in a sample of neurocognitively impaired bipolar patients at 6-month follow-up. Neurocognitive enhancement may be one of the active ingredients of this novel intervention, and, specifically, verbal memory appears to be the most sensitive function that improves with functional remediation.
Schizo-affective disorder has not been studied to any significant extent using functional imaging. The aim of this study was to examine patterns of brain activation and deactivation in patients meeting strict diagnostic criteria for the disorder.
Thirty-two patients meeting Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC) for schizo-affective disorder (16 schizomanic and 16 schizodepressive) and 32 matched healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during performance of the n-back task. Linear models were used to obtain maps of activations and deactivations in the groups.
Controls showed activation in a network of frontal and other areas and also deactivation in the medial frontal cortex, the precuneus and the parietal cortex. Schizo-affective patients activated significantly less in prefrontal, parietal and temporal regions than the controls, and also showed failure of deactivation in the medial frontal cortex. When task performance was controlled for, the reduced activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the failure of deactivation of the medial frontal cortex remained significant.
Schizo-affective disorder shows a similar pattern of reduced frontal activation to schizophrenia. The disorder is also characterized by failure of deactivation suggestive of default mode network dysfunction.
Deficits in memory and executive performance are well-established features of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. By contrast, data on cognitive impairment in schizoaffective disorder are scarce and the findings are conflicting.
We used the Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS-III) and the Behavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome (BADS) to test memory and executive function in 45 schizophrenic patients, 26 schizomanic patients and 51 manic bipolar patients in comparison to 65 healthy controls. The patients were tested when acutely ill.
All three patient groups performed significantly more poorly than the controls on global measures of memory and executive functioning, but there were no differences among the patient groups. There were few differences in memory and executive function subtest scores within the patient groups. There were no differences in any test scores between manic patients with and without psychotic symptoms.
Schizophrenic, schizomanic and manic patients show a broadly similar degree of executive and memory deficits in the acute phase of illness. Our results do not support a categorical differentiation across different psychotic categories with regard to neuropsychological deficits.
It is not known whether first-episode psychosis is characterized by the same prefrontal cortex functional imaging abnormalities as chronic schizophrenia.
Thirty patients with a first episode of non-affective functional psychosis and 28 healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during performance of the n-back working memory task. Voxel-based analyses of brain activations and deactivations were carried out and compared between groups. The connectivity of regions of significant difference between the patients and controls was also examined.
The first-episode patients did not show significant prefrontal hypo- or hyperactivation compared to controls. However, they showed failure of deactivation in the medial frontal cortex. This area showed high levels of connectivity with the posterior cingulate gyrus/precuneus and parts of the parietal cortex bilaterally. Failure of deactivation was significantly greater in first-episode patients who had or went on to acquire a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia than in those who did not, and in those who met RDC criteria for schizophrenia compared to those who did not.
First-episode psychosis is not characterized by hypo- or hyperfrontality but instead by a failure of deactivation in the medial frontal cortex. The location and connectivity of this area suggest that it is part of the default mode network. The failure of deactivation seems to be particularly marked in first-episode patients who have, or progress to, schizophrenia.
Bipolar disorder has attracted numerous research from different neurobiological angles. This review will summarize selected findings focusing on the role of disturbed transmem-braneous ion fluxes. Several mood stabilizers exhibit a distinct profile including effects on sodium, calcium and potassium conductance. In summary, some decisive mechanisms of action as calcium antagonism and modulation of potassium currents may play a crucial role in the success of any given mood stabilizer in bipolar disorder.
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