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Growing evidence suggests that in addition to pathophysiological, there are psychological risk factors involved in the development of Long COVID. Illness-related anxiety and dysfunctional symptom expectations seem to contribute to symptom persistence.
With regard to the development of effective therapies, our primary aim is to investigate whether symptoms of Long COVID can be improved by a targeted modification of illness-related anxiety and dysfunctional symptom expectations. Second, we aim to identify additional psychosocial risk factors that contribute to the persistence of Long COVID, and compare them with risk factors for symptom persistence in other clinical conditions.
We will conduct an observer-blinded, three-arm, randomised controlled trial. A total of 258 patients with Long COVID will be randomised into three groups of equal size: targeted expectation management in addition to treatment as usual (TAU), non-specific supportive treatment plus TAU, or TAU only. Both active intervention groups will comprise three individual online video consultation sessions and a booster session after 3 months. The primary outcome is baseline to post-interventional change in overall somatic symptom severity.
The study will shed light onto the action mechanisms of a targeted expectation management intervention for Long COVID, which, if proven effective, can be used stand-alone or in the context of broader therapeutic approaches. Further, the study will enable a better understanding of symptom persistence in Long COVID by identifying additional psychological risk factors.
In 2013, the diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder (SSD) was introduced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This review aims to comprehensively synthesize contemporary evidence related to SSD.
A scoping review was conducted using PubMed, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library. The main inclusion criteria were SSD and publication in the English language between 01/2009 and 05/2020. Systematic search terms also included subheadings for the DSM-5 text sections; i.e., diagnostic features, prevalence, development and course, risk and prognostic factors, culture, gender, suicide risk, functional consequences, differential diagnosis, and comorbidity.
Eight hundred and eighty-two articles were identified, of which 59 full texts were included for analysis. Empirical evidence supports the reliability, validity, and clinical utility of SSD diagnostic criteria, but the further specification of the psychological SSD B-criteria criteria seems necessary. General population studies using self-report questionnaires reported mean frequencies for SSD of 12.9% [95% confidence interval (CI) 12.5–13.3%], while prevalence studies based on criterion standard interviews are lacking. SSD was associated with increased functional impairment, decreased quality of life, and high comorbidity with anxiety and depressive disorders. Relevant research gaps remain regarding developmental aspects, risk and prognostic factors, suicide risk as well as culture- and gender-associated issues.
Strengths of the SSD diagnosis are its good reliability, validity, and clinical utility, which substantially improved on its predecessors. SSD characterizes a specific patient population that is significantly impaired both physically and psychologically. However, substantial research gaps exist, e.g., regarding SSD prevalence assessed with criterion standard diagnostic interviews.
Anorexia nervosa is a serious disorder, which often takes a chronic course. Early treatment leads to a significantly better prognosis and prevents chronicity. However, existing evidence on facilitators and barriers in anorexia nervosa treatment initiation is scarce.
Against this background, the FABIANA study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03713541) aims to (a) identify potentially modifiable facilitators and barriers from the perspectives of adolescent and adult patients with anorexia nervosa, carers and physicians, (b) develop and test an instrument for the combined assessment of multiple key facilitators and barriers, and (c) quantify the effect of potentially modifiable versus non-modifiable key facilitators and barriers on the duration of untreated illness (DUI) in patients with anorexia nervosa.
FABIANA is an observational, mixed-method-study divided into three consecutive substudies each corresponding to one of the study aims. All three substudies will include female patients with anorexia nervosa aged 14 years and older at the beginning of their first psychotherapeutic anorexia nervosa treatment. The qualitative substudy I and the quantitative substudy III will additionally include carers and involved physicians. The recruitment will take place at 20 cooperating study centres throughout Germany, which provide in-patient or out-patient anorexia nervosa specialist care. The DUI will be calculated based on the month of illness onset as determined in validated interviews on lifetime anorexia nervosa symptoms and the therapist-reported date of treatment initiation.
Strengths and limitations of the retrospective assessment of the DUI will be discussed. The findings of the FABIANA study will contribute to the development of evidence-based early-intervention approaches and the prevention of a chronic course of illness.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) introduced somatic symptom and related disorders (SSD) to improve the diagnosis of somatoform disorders. It is unclear whether existing questionnaires are useful to identify patients with SSD. Our study investigates the diagnostic accuracy of the Patient Health Questionnaire-15 (PHQ-15) and the Somatic Symptom Scale-8 (SSS-8) in combination with the Somatic Symptom Disorder – B Criteria Scale (SSD-12).
For this cross-sectional study, participants were recruited from a psychosomatic outpatient clinic. PHQ-15, SSS-8, and SSD-12 were administered and compared with SSD criteria from a diagnostic interview. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated for optimal individual and combined cutpoints. Receiver operator curves were created and area under the curve (AUC) analyses assessed.
Data of n = 372 patients [31.2% male, mean age: 39.3 years (s.d. = 13.6)] were analyzed. A total of 56.2% fulfilled the SSD criteria. Diagnostic accuracy was moderate for each questionnaire (PHQ-15: AUC = 0.70; 95% CI = 0.65–0.76; SSS-8: AUC = 0.71; 95% CI = 0.66–0.77; SSD-12: AUC = 0.74; 95% CI = 0.69–0.80). Combining questionnaires improved diagnostic accuracy (PHQ-15 + SSD-12: AUC = 0.77; 95% CI = 0.72–0.82; SSS-8 + SSD-12: AUC = 0.79; 95% CI = 0.74–0.84). Optimal combined cutpoints were ⩾9 for the PHQ-15 or SSS-8, and ⩾23 for the SSD-12 (sensitivity and specificity = 69% and 70%).
The combination of the PHQ-15 or SSS-8 with the SSD-12 provides an easy-to-use and time- and cost-efficient opportunity to identify persons at risk for SSD. If systematically applied in routine care, effective screening and subsequent treatment might help to improve quality of life and reduce health care excess costs.
Different diagnostic interviews are used as reference standards for major depression classification in research. Semi-structured interviews involve clinical judgement, whereas fully structured interviews are completely scripted. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a brief fully structured interview, is also sometimes used. It is not known whether interview method is associated with probability of major depression classification.
To evaluate the association between interview method and odds of major depression classification, controlling for depressive symptom scores and participant characteristics.
Data collected for an individual participant data meta-analysis of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) diagnostic accuracy were analysed and binomial generalised linear mixed models were fit.
A total of 17 158 participants (2287 with major depression) from 57 primary studies were analysed. Among fully structured interviews, odds of major depression were higher for the MINI compared with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.15–3.87). Compared with semi-structured interviews, fully structured interviews (MINI excluded) were non-significantly more likely to classify participants with low-level depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≤6) as having major depression (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 0.98–10.00), similarly likely for moderate-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores 7–15) (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.56–1.66) and significantly less likely for high-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥16) (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26–0.97).
The MINI may identify more people as depressed than the CIDI, and semi-structured and fully structured interviews may not be interchangeable methods, but these results should be replicated.
Declaration of interest
Drs Jetté and Patten declare that they received a grant, outside the submitted work, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, which was jointly funded by the Institute and Pfizer. Pfizer was the original sponsor of the development of the PHQ-9, which is now in the public domain. Dr Chan is a steering committee member or consultant of Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer. She has received sponsorships and honorarium for giving lectures and providing consultancy and her affiliated institution has received research grants from these companies. Dr Hegerl declares that within the past 3 years, he was an advisory board member for Lundbeck, Servier and Otsuka Pharma; a consultant for Bayer Pharma; and a speaker for Medice Arzneimittel, Novartis, and Roche Pharma, all outside the submitted work. Dr Inagaki declares that he has received grants from Novartis Pharma, lecture fees from Pfizer, Mochida, Shionogi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo, Meiji Seika and Takeda, and royalties from Nippon Hyoron Sha, Nanzando, Seiwa Shoten, Igaku-shoin and Technomics, all outside of the submitted work. Dr Yamada reports personal fees from Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., MSD K.K., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, Seishin Shobo, Seiwa Shoten Co., Ltd., Igaku-shoin Ltd., Chugai Igakusha and Sentan Igakusha, all outside the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests. No funder had any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
This non-randomized pre–post-intervention study investigated the effect of a systemic public health intervention on the length of time between anorexia nervosa symptom onset and contact with the health care system as well as the initiation of treatment.
Although systemic public health interventions have successfully been implemented in physical and mental health fields, their effect on the early treatment of patients with anorexia nervosa remains unclear.
In total, 59 anorexia nervosa patients (mean age=21.5 years, SD=7.2) were recruited before a systemic public health intervention, and 18 patients (mean age=22.2 years, SD=8.9) were recruited afterwards. Using validated self-report measures and a semi-structured interview, the duration of untreated anorexia nervosa and the duration until first contact with the health care system were investigated.
At the beginning of the individual treatment initiation process, participants in both samples most frequently consulted their general practitioner or paediatrician about their eating disorder-related symptoms. Neither the mean duration of untreated anorexia nervosa, that is, the time between illness onset and the initiation of a recommended treatment, nor the duration until first contact with the health care system significantly decreased after the implementation of the systemic public health intervention. The mean duration of untreated anorexia nervosa was 36.5 months (SD=68.2) before the systemic public health intervention and 40.1 months (SD=89.4) after the implementation of the systemic public health intervention. The mean duration until first contact with the health care system was 25.0 months (SD=53.0) before the intervention and 32.8 months (SD=86.5) after the intervention.
Primary care providers are crucial to the treatment initiation process and should be involved in future interventions to improve early detection and treatment commencement amongst patients with anorexia nervosa.
International guidelines advocate depression screening in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) and other chronic illnesses, but evidence is lacking.
To test the differential efficacy of written patient-targeted feedback v. no written patient feedback after depression screening.
Patients with CHD or hypertension from three cardiology settings were randomised and screened for depression (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01879111). Compared with the control group, where only cardiologists received written feedback, in the intervention group both cardiologists and patients received written feedback regarding depression status. Depression severity was measured 1 month (primary outcome) and 6 months after screening.
The control group (n = 220) and the patient-feedback group (n = 155) did not differ in depression severity 1 month after screening. Six months after screening, the patient-feedback group showed significantly greater improvements in depression severity and was twice as likely to seek information about depression compared with the control group.
Patient-targeted feedback in addition to screening has a significant but small effect on depression severity after 6 months and may encourage patients to take an active role in the self-management of depression.