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Studies about brain structure in bipolar disorder have reported conflicting findings. These findings may be explained by the high degree of heterogeneity within bipolar disorder, especially if structural differences are mapped to single brain regions rather than networks.
We aim to complete a systematic review and meta-analysis to identify brain networks underlying structural abnormalities observed on T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans in bipolar disorder across the lifespan. We also aim to explore how these brain networks are affected by sociodemographic and clinical heterogeneity in bipolar disorder.
We will include case–control studies that focus on whole-brain analyses of structural differences between participants of any age with a standardised diagnosis of bipolar disorder and controls. The electronic databases Medline, PsycINFO and Web of Science will be searched. We will complete an activation likelihood estimation analysis and a novel coordinate-based network mapping approach to identify specific brain regions and brain circuits affected in bipolar disorder or relevant subgroups. Meta-regressions will examine the effect of sociodemographic and clinical variables on identified brain circuits.
Findings from this systematic review and meta-analysis will enhance understanding of the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder. The results will identify brain circuitry implicated in bipolar disorder, and how they may relate to relevant sociodemographic and clinical variables across the lifespan.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of psilocybin have reported large antidepressant effects in adults with major depressive disorder and treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Given psilocybin's psychedelic effects, all published studies have included psychological support. These effects depend on serotonin 2A (5-HT2A) receptor activation, which can be blocked by 5-HT2A receptor antagonists like ketanserin or risperidone. In an animal model of depression, ketanserin followed by psilocybin had similar symptomatic effects as psilocybin alone.
To conduct a proof-of-concept RCT to (a) establish feasibility and tolerability of combining psilocybin and risperidone in adults with TRD, (b) show that this combination blocks the psychedelic effects of psilocybin and (c) provide pilot data on the antidepressant effect of this combination (compared with psilocybin alone).
In a 4-week, three-arm, ‘double dummy’ trial, 60 adults with TRD will be randomised to psilocybin 25 mg plus risperidone 1 mg, psilocybin 25 mg plus placebo, or placebo plus risperidone 1 mg. All participants will receive 12 h of manualised psychotherapy. Measures of feasibility will include recruitment and retention rates; tolerability and safety will be assessed by rates of drop-out attributed to adverse events and rates of serious adverse events. The 5-Dimensional Altered States of Consciousness Rating Scale will be a secondary outcome measure.
This trial will advance the understanding of psilocybin's mechanism of antidepressant action.
This line of research could increase acceptability and access to psilocybin as a novel treatment for TRD without the need for a psychedelic experience and continuous monitoring.
Neuroprogressive models of the trajectory of cognitive dysfunction in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) have been proposed. However, few studies have explored the relationships among clinical characteristics of BD, cognitive dysfunction, and aging.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis in euthymic participants with the MATRICS Cognitive Consensus Battery, the Trail Making Test B, the Stroop Test, and the Wechsler Test of Adult Reading. Age- and gender-equated control participants without a mental disorder [‘Healthy Controls’ – HC)] were assessed similarly. We compared cognitive performance both globally and in seven domains in four groups: younger BD (age ⩽49 years; n = 70), older BD (age ⩾50 years; n = 48), younger HC (n = 153), and older HC (n = 44). We also compared the BD and HC groups using age as a continuous measure. We controlled for relevant covariates and applied a Bonferroni correction.
Our results support both an early impairment (‘early hit’) model and an accelerated aging model: impairment in attention/vigilance, processing speed, and executive function/working memory were congruent with the accelerated aging hypothesis whereas impairment in verbal memory was congruent with an early impairment model. BD and HC participants exhibited similar age-related decline in reasoning/problem solving and visuospatial memory. There were no age- or diagnosis-related differences in social cognition.
Our findings support that different cognitive domains are affected differently by BD and aging. Longitudinal studies are needed to explore trajectories of cognitive performance in BD across the lifespan.
The placebo response in depression clinical trials is a major contributing factor for failure to establish the efficacy of novel and repurposed treatments. However, it is not clear as to what the placebo response in treatment-resistant depression (TRD) patients is or whether it differs across treatment modalities. Our objective was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the magnitude of the placebo response in TRD patients across different treatment modalities and its possible moderators.
Searches were conducted on MEDLINE and PsychInfo from inception to January 24, 2020. Only studies that recruited TRD patients and randomization to a placebo (or sham) arm in a pharmacotherapy, brain stimulation, or psychotherapy study were included (PROSPERO 2020 CRD42020190465). The primary outcome was the Hedges’ g for the reported depression scale using a random-effects model. Secondary outcomes included moderators assessed via meta-regression and response and remission rate. Heterogeneity was evaluated using the Egger's Test and a funnel plot. Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool was used to estimate risks.
46 studies met our inclusion criteria involving a total of 3083 participants (mean (SD) age: 45.7 (6.2); female: 52.4%). The pooled placebo effect for all modalities was large (N = 3083, g = 1.08 ,95% CI [0.95-1.20)I 2 = 0.1). The placebo effect in studies of specific treatment modalities did not significantly differ: oral medications g = 1.14 (95%CI:0.99-1.29); parenteral medications g = 1.32 (95%CI:0.59-2.04); ayahuasca g = 0.47 (95%CI:-0.28-1.17); rTMS g = 0.93 (95%CI:0.63-1.23); tDCS g = 1.32 (95%CI:0.52-2.11); invasive brain stimulation g = 1.06 (95%CI:0.64-1.47). There were no psychotherapy trials that met our eligibility criteria. Similarly, response and remission rates were comparable across modalities. Heterogeneity was large. Two variables predicted a lager placebo effect: open-label prospective design (B:0.32, 95%CI: 0.05-0.58; p:0.02) and sponsoring by a pharmaceutical or medical device company (B:0.39, 95%CI:0.13-0.65, p:0.004)). No risk of publication bias was found.
The overall placebo effect in TRD studies was large (g = 1.08) and did not differ among treatment modalities. A better understanding of the placebo response in TRD will require: standardizing the definition of TRD, head-to-head comparisons of treatment modalities, an assessment of patient expectations and experiences, and standardized reporting of outcomes.
Mood disorders, i.e. major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorders, are leading sources of disability worldwide. Currently available treatments do not yield remission in approximately a third of patients with a mood disorder. This is in part because these treatments do not target a specific core pathology underlying these heterogeneous disorders. In recent years, abnormal inflammatory processes have been identified as putative pathophysiological mechanisms and treatment targets in mood disorders, particularly among individuals with treatment-resistant conditions.
In this selective review, we aimed to summarise recent advances in the field of immunopsychiatry, including emerging pathophysiological models and findings from treatment ttrials of immunomodulatory agents for both MDD and bipolar disorders.
We performed a literature review by searching Medline for clinical trials of immunomodulating agents as monotherapy or adjunctive treatments in MDD and bipolar disorders. Included studies are randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cluster RCTs or cross-over trials of immunomodulating agents that had an active comparator or a placebo-arm.
Current evidence shows an association between inflammation and mood symptoms. However, there is conflicting evidence on whether this link is causal.
Future studies should focus on identifying specific neurobiological underpinnings for the putative causal association between an activated inflammatory response and mood disorders. Results of these studies are needed before further treatment trials of immunomodulatory agents can be justified.