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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.
Considerable variations in the incidence of psychosis have been observed across countries, in terms of age, gender, immigration status, urbanicity and socioeconomic deprivation.
To evaluate the incidence rate of first-episode psychosis in a large area of north-eastern Italy and the distribution of the above-mentioned risk factors in individuals with psychoses.
Epidemiologically based survey. Over a 3-year period individuals with psychosis on first contact with services were identified and diagnosed according to ICD-10 criteria.
In total, 558 individuals with first-episode psychosis were identified during 3 077 555 person-years at risk. The annual incidence rate per 100 000 was 18.1 for all psychoses, 14.3 for non-affective psychoses and 3.8 for affective psychoses. The rate for all psychoses was higher in young people aged 20–29 (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 4.18, 95% CI 2.77–6.30), immigrants (IRR = 2.26, 95% CI 1.85–2.75) and those living in the most deprived areas (IRR = 2.09, 95% CI 1.54–2.85).
The incidence rate in our study area was lower than that found in other European and North American studies and provides new insights into the factors that may increase and/or decrease risk for developing psychosis.
Staff burnout is a critical issue for mental healthcare delivery, as it can lead to decreased work performance and, ultimately to poorer treatment outcomes.
To explore the relative weight of job-related characteristics and perceived organisational factors in predicting burnout in staff working in community-based psychiatric services.
A representative sample of 2000 mental health staff working in the Veneto region, Italy, participated. Burnout and perceived organisational factors were assessed by using the Organizational Checkup Survey.
Overall, high levels of job distress affected nearly two-thirds of the psychiatric staff and one in five staff members suffered from burnout. Psychiatrists and social workers reported the highest levels of burnout, and support workers and psychologists, the lowest. Burnout was mostly predicted by a higher frequency of face-to-face interaction with users, longer tenure in mental healthcare, weak work group cohesion and perceived unfairness.
Improving the workplace atmosphere within psychiatric services should be one of the most important targets in staff burnout prevention strategies. The potential benefits of such programmes may, in turn, have a favourable impact on patient outcomes.
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