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Evidence suggests a familial coaggregation of major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression (MDD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Those disorders are further related to suicide and accidental death. However, whether death by suicide may coaggregate with accidental death and major psychiatric disorders within families remains unclear.
To clarify the familial coaggregation of deaths by suicide with accidental death and five major psychiatric disorders.
Using a database linked to the entire Taiwanese population, 68 214 first-degree relatives of individuals who died by suicide between 2003 and 2017 and 272 856 age- and gender-matched controls were assessed for the risks of death by suicide, accidental death and major psychiatric disorders.
A Poisson regression model showed that the first-degree relatives of individuals who died by suicide were more likely to die by suicide (relative risk RR = 4.61, 95% CI 4.02–5.29) or accident (RR = 1.62, 95% CI 1.43–1.84) or to be diagnosed with schizophrenia (RR = 1.53, 95% CI 1.40–1.66), bipolar disorder (RR = 1.99, 95% CI 1.83–2.16), MDD (RR = 1.98, 95% CI 1.89–2.08) or ADHD (RR = 1.34, 95% CI 1.24–1.44).
Our findings identified a familial coaggregation of death by suicide with accidental death, schizophrenia, major affective disorders and ADHD. Further studies would be required to elucidate the pathological mechanisms underlying this coaggregation.
There was no previous meta-analysis investigating the efficacy/tolerability of psychostimulants for symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in preschool children.
Databases including PubMed, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, ScienceDirect, and ClinicalTrials.gov were searched from inception to March 2022 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on therapeutic efficacy of psychostimulants against ADHD symptoms in preschool children (age ≤6 years) compared with placebos. Primary outcomes were (a) changes in ADHD symptoms evaluated by validated rating scales from parents’/teacher’s observation, or (b) post-intervention improvements in neuropsychological performance. Secondary outcomes were risks of adverse events.
Meta-analysis of nine eligible trials including 544 preschool children (mean age=4.86 years, female=11.98%, median treatment duration=4.33 weeks) supported the efficacy of psychostimulants against global symptoms from observations of parents (Hedges’ g=0.6152, p<0.0001) and teachers (Hedges’ g=0.6563, p=0.0039). Efficacy of psychostimulants was also noted against symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, especially the latter (i.e., main symptoms in preschool children). Moreover, male gender, older age, and longer treatment duration were associated with better efficacy. Regarding adverse events, only the risk of poor appetite was higher in the psychostimulant group (odds ratio [OR]=2.39). However, the qualities of evidence were low to very low, indicating potential discrepancy between the true and estimated effect.
Our results showed that psychostimulants might be beneficial for preschool children with ADHD, especially hyperactivity/impulsivity from teachers’ observation, with tolerable side effects. Nevertheless, the true magnitude of the effect needs to be confirmed with more research due to low to very low certainty of the evidence.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental disorder related to cognitive deficits. Low serum vitamin D levels are significantly associated with compromised cognition in neuropsychiatric disorders. Although patients with bipolar disorder frequently exhibit hypovitaminosis D, the association between vitamin D and cognition in bipolar disorder, and their neuroaxonal integrity, is unclear.
To investigate the interaction effects between vitamin D and neurofilament light chain (NfL) levels on cognitive domains in bipolar disorder.
Serum vitamin D and NfL levels were determined in 100 euthymic patients with bipolar disorder in a cross-sectional study. Cognitive function was measured with the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Affective Disorders. We stratified by age groups and used general linear models to identify associations between vitamin D and NfL levels and their interaction effects on cognitive domains.
The mean vitamin D and NfL levels were 16.46 ng/nL and 11.10 pg/mL, respectively; 72% of patients were vitamin D deficient. In the older group, more frequent hospital admissions and lower physical activity were identified in the group with versus without vitamin D deficiency. The age-modified interaction effect of vitamin D and NfL was associated with composite neurocognitive scores and verbal fluency in both age groups, and with processing speed domain in the younger group.
We observed a high vitamin D deficiency prevalence in bipolar disorder. We identified the interaction of vitamin D and NfL on cognitive domains, and the effect was modified by age. Longitudinal or randomised controlled studies enrolling patients with various illness durations and mood statuses are required to validate our findings.
The Brain Health Test-7 (BHT-7) is a revised tool from the original BHT, containing more tests about frontal lobe function. It was developed with theaim of identifying patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early dementia.
Here we report the validity of the BHT-7 versus the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) in differentpsychiatry or neurology clinics.
Patients with memory complaints were recruited in this study from the outpatient clinic of psychiatry or neurology in 3 different kinds of hospitals. Allpatients underwent the evaluation of the BHT-7, MMSE, MoCA, and clinical dementia rating (CDR). The clinical diagnosis (normal, MCI, dementia) was made by consensus meeting, taking into account all available data.
Demographic data and the scores of the MMSE, MoCA, and BHT-7 between groups were compared. Logistic regression was adopted for analysis of optimal cutoff values, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve,and the area under the ROC curve (AUC).
We enrolled a total of 1090 subjects (normal 402, MCI 317, dementia 371); of them, 705 (64.7%) were female. There was a statistically significant differencein age, years of education, and 3 cognitive test scores among the 3 groups.
Compared with the MMSE and MoCA, the BHT-7 performed slightly betterthan MMSE and MoCA in differentiating MCI or dementia from the normalcontrols (Table 1). For BHT- 7, the cutoff point was 17 between normal andMCI, and 14 between normal and dementia. These cutoff points for BHT-7were consistent through 3 different clinical settings, but inconsistent for MMSE and MoCA. The testing time for the BHT-7 was about 5-7 minutes, shorter than that of the MMSE and MoCA.
Compared with MMSE and MoCA, the BHT-7 showed slightly better performance in differentiating normal from MCI or dementia subjects. The testing time for the BHT-7 was shorter, and its cutoff points were consistent through different outpatient clinic settings. The results support that BHT-7 is auseful cognitive screening tool for MCI or early dementia in various hospital settings.
Comparisons of the performance of BHT-7, MMSE, MoCA
To investigate potential risk factors for mild behavioral impairment (MBI) among non-demented geriatrics.
Population-based, cross-sectional survey.
Taiwan Alzheimer Disease Association (TADA) Database.
Participants were selected by multistage random sampling of all Taiwan counties. They received in-person interviews between December 2011 and March 2013.
Demographic data, lifestyle and habits, medical comorbidities, cognitive status measured by the Taiwanese Mini-Mental Status Examination (TMSE) and presence of MCI of the participants were collected. Subjects were distributed to the MBI and non-MBI groups. These factors had been evaluated for their effects on MBI in the univariate and multivariable logistic regression models.
In total, 6,196 non-demented participants aged 65 years or older, including 409 MBI and 5,787 non-MBI participants, were recruited. After adjustment for age, sex, education, body mass index, lifestyle and habits, medical comorbidities, and MCI, good sleep was associated with lower risk of MBI (OR 0.09, 95% CI 0.07 – 0.12). Low body weight (OR 2.01, 95% CI 1.21–3.33), low-to-medium education (OR 1.40, 95%CI 1.06–1.85; OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.67–3.21), medical comorbidities of hypertension (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.25–1.95), hyperlipidemia (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.00–1.67), cancer (OR 2.05, 95% CI 1.37–3.06) were significantly associated with increased MBI risk. MCI neither increased nor decreased risk of MBI (OR 1.00, 95% CI 0.76–1.32).
Good sleep was associated with lower MBI risk. Underweight, lower education, medical comorbidities of cancer, hypertension, hyperlipidemia were predictive of MBI.
Family coaggregation of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD) and schizophrenia have been presented in previous studies. The shared genetic and environmental factors among psychiatric disorders remain elusive.
This nationwide population-based study examined familial coaggregation of major psychiatric disorders in first-degree relatives (FDRs) of individuals with ASD. Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database was used to identify 26 667 individuals with ASD and 67 998 FDRs of individuals with ASD. The cohort was matched in 1:4 ratio to 271 992 controls. The relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of ADHD, ASD, BD, MDD and schizophrenia were assessed among FDRs of individuals with ASD and ASD with intellectual disability (ASD-ID).
FDRs of individuals with ASD have higher RRs of major psychiatric disorders compared with controls: ASD 17.46 (CI 15.50–19.67), ADHD 3.94 (CI 3.72–4.17), schizophrenia 3.05 (CI 2.74–3.40), BD 2.22 (CI 1.98–2.48) and MDD 1.88 (CI 1.76–2.00). Higher RRs of schizophrenia (4.47, CI 3.95–5.06) and ASD (18.54, CI 16.18–21.23) were observed in FDRs of individuals with both ASD-ID, compared with ASD only.
The risk for major psychiatric disorders was consistently elevated across all types of FDRs of individuals with ASD. FDRs of individuals with ASD-ID are at further higher risk for ASD and schizophrenia. Our results provide leads for future investigation of shared etiologic pathways of ASD, ID and major psychiatric disorders and highlight the importance of mental health care delivered to at-risk families for early diagnoses and interventions.
The antidepressant effect of low-dose ketamine infusion on Taiwanese patients with anxious vs nonanxious treatment-resistant depression (ANX-TRD vs NANX-TRD) has remained unknown.
In total, 71 patients with TRD were randomized to three groups. Each group had participants who received saline infusions mixed with 0 (a normal saline infusion), 0.2, and 0.5 mg/kg of ketamine. Participants were followed up for 2 weeks. Anxious depression was defined as major depressive disorder with a total score of 7 or more on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale Anxiety-Somatization factor. Generalized estimating equation models were used to investigate the effects of treatment (ketamine vs placebo) and depression type (ANX-TRD vs NANX-TRD) in the reduction of depressive symptoms during the follow-up period.
Patients with ANX-TRD were less likely to respond to a single low-dose ketamine infusion than those with NANX-TRD. Among patients with NANX-TRD, low-dose ketamine infusion was significantly superior to placebo for reducing depressive symptoms. However, among patients with ANX-TRD, ketamine was not superior to placebo; nonetheless, approximately 30% of the patients responded to ketamine infusion compared to 13% who responded to the placebo.
Low-dose ketamine infusion was effective for Taiwanese patients with NANX-TRD but not so effective for those with ANX-TRD. A higher level of anxiety severity accompanying depression was related to greater depression severity. This may confound and reduce the antidepressant effect of ketamine infusion.
Has the eurozone (EZ) really gained from integration? This study applied two econometric frameworks, mGARCH and gMMPI, to test this hypothesis, using panel data that span 1996–2014, a total of 19 years, involving the EZ, EU, G8, G20 and some emerging economies. The empirical outcomes initially showed that the EZ economies experienced neither superior output growth nor a better capital market return than non-EZ economies or the pre-EZ period. They further suggested that each EZ country had a higher degree of risk bearing and, as a group, a greater risk linkage. Moreover, the results indicated that the EZ had a higher productivity gain if the risk premium was counted as part of productivity. Nonetheless, the EZ did not show a substantial productivity gain when the effect of the risk factor was controlled. The ratio of risk bearing to risk premium gain was shown to be 1 to 0.97. The general conclusion is that, other than the risk premium, there was no extra productivity gain for the EZ from taking the risk.
Whether the first-degree relatives (FDRs) of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have an increased risk of the major psychiatric disorders, namely schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, OCD, major depressive disorder (MDD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), remains unclear.
Using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database with the whole population sample size (n = 23 258 175), 89 500 FDRs, including parents, offspring, siblings, and twins, of patients with OCD were identified in our study. The relative risks (RRs) of major psychiatric disorders were assessed among FDRs of patients with OCD.
FDRs of patients with OCD had higher RRs of major psychiatric disorders, namely OCD (RR 8.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) 7.68–8.57), bipolar disorder (RR 2.85, 95% CI 2.68–3.04), MDD (RR 2.67, 95% CI 2.58–2.76), ASD (RR 2.38, 95% CI 2.10–2.71), ADHD (RR 2.19, 95% CI 2.07–2.32), and schizophrenia (RR 1.97, 95% CI 1.86–2.09), compared with the total population. Different familial kinships of FDRs, such as parents, offspring, siblings, and twins consistently had increased risks for these disorders. In addition, a dose-dependent relationship was found between the numbers of OCD probands and the risk of each major psychiatric disorder.
The FDRs, including parents, offspring, siblings, and twins, of patients with OCD have a higher risk of OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, MDD, ADHD, and ASD. The familial co-aggregation of OCD with OCD and other major psychiatric disorders was existent in a dose-dependent manner. Given the increased risks of psychiatric disorders, medical practitioners should closely monitor the mental health of the FDRs of patients with OCD.
Several studies suggested a potential role of viral infection in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the association between herpes zoster and PD was not investigated well till now.
Using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, 13 083 patients aged ≥45 years with herpes zoster and 52 332 (1:4) age-/sex-matched controls were enrolled between 1998 and 2008 and followed to the end of 2011. Those who developed PD during the follow-up period were identified.
The Cox regression analysis with adjustment of demographic characteristics, health system utilization, and comorbidities demonstrated that patients with herpes zoster had an increased risk (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.80, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.43-2.28) of developing PD in later life compared to the control group. Sensitivity tests after excluding the first year (HR: 1.50, 95% CI: 1.16-1.93) and first 2-year (HR: 1.44, 95% CI: 1.10-1.88) observation periods showed consistent results.
Patients with herpes zoster were more likely to develop PD in later life compared to the controls. Additional studies are necessary for validating our results and to clarify the underlying pathophysiology between herpes zoster and PD.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is highly heterogeneous and can be classified as treatment-resistant depression (TRD) or antidepressant-responsive depression (non-TRD) based on patients' responses to antidepressant treatment. Methods for distinguishing between TRD and non-TRD are critical clinical concerns. Deficits of cortical inhibition (CI) have been reported to play an influential role in the pathophysiology of MDD. Whether TRD patients' CI is more impaired than that of non-TRD patients remains unclear.
Paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (ppTMS) was used to measure cortical inhibitory function including GABAA- and GABAB-receptor-related CI and cortical excitatory function including glutamate-receptor-related intracortical facilitation (ICF). We recruited 36 healthy controls (HC) and 36 patients with MDD (non-TRD, n = 16; TRD, n = 20). All participants received evaluations for depression severity and ppTMS examinations. Non-TRD patients received an additional ppTMS examination after 3 months of treatment with the SSRI escitalopram.
Patients with TRD exhibited reduced short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) and long-interval intracortical inhibition (LICI), as shown by abnormally higher estimates, than those with non-TRD or HC (F = 11.030, p < 0.001; F = 10.309, p < 0.001, respectively). After an adequate trial of escitalopram treatment, the LICI of non-TRD reduced significantly (t = − 3.628, p < 0.001), whereas the ICF remained lower than that of HC and showed no difference from pretreatment non-TRD.
TRD was characterized by relatively reduced CI, including both GABAA- and GABAB-receptor-mediated neurons while non-TRD preserved partial CI. In non-TRD, SSRIs may mainly modulate GABAB-receptor-related LICI. Our findings revealed distinguishable features of CI in antidepressant-resistant and responsive major depression.
Information systems (IS) have facilitated workflow in the health care system for years. However, the utilization of IS in disaster medical assistance teams (DMATs) has been less studied.
In Taiwan, we started a program in 2008 to build up an information system, MEDical Assistance and Information Dashboard (MED-AID), to improve the capability and increase the efficiency of our national DMAT.
Method: The mission of our national DMAT was to provide acute trauma care and subacute outpatient care in the field after an emergency event (e.g., earthquakes). We built the IS through a user-oriented process to fit the need of the DMAT. We first analyzed the response work in the DMAT missions and reviewed the current paperwork. We evaluated the eligibility and effectiveness of the core functions of DMATs by experts in Taiwan and then developed the IS. The IS was then tested and revised each year in two table-top exercises and one regional full-scale exercise by the DMAT staffs who came from different hospitals in Taiwan.
During the past 10 years, we identified several core concepts of IS of DMAT: patient tracking, medical record, continuity of care, integration of referral resources, disease surveillance, patient information reporting, and medical resources management. The application of the IS facilitate the DMAT in providing safe patient care with continuous recording and integrate patient referral resources based on geographic information. The IS also help the planning in real-time disease surveillance and logistic function in the medical resources monitoring.
Information systems could facilitate patient care and relieve the workload on information analysis and resources management for DMATs.
Research suggests an association between metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and schizophrenia. However, the risk of metabolic disorders in the unaffected siblings of patients with schizophrenia remains unclear.
Using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, 3135 unaffected siblings of schizophrenia probands and 12,540 age-/sex-matched control subjects were included and followed up to the end of 2011. Individuals who developed metabolic disorders during the follow-up period were identified.
The unaffected siblings of schizophrenia probands had a higher prevalence of T2DM (3.4% vs. 2.6%, p = 0.010) than the controls. Logistic regression analyses with the adjustment of demographic data revealed that the unaffected siblings of patients with schizophrenia were more likely to develop T2DM (odds ratio [OR]: 1.39, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.10–1.75) later in life compared with the control group. Moreover, only female siblings of schizophrenia probands had an increased risk of hypertension (OR: 1.47, 95% CI: 1.07–2.01) during the follow-up compared with the controls.
The unaffected siblings, especially sisters, of schizophrenia probands had a higher prevalence of T2DM and hypertension compared with the controls. Our study revealed a familial link between schizophrenia and T2DM in a large sample. Additional studies are required to investigate the shared pathophysiology of schizophrenia and T2DM.
Bipolar disorder is a highly heritable mental illness that transmits intergeneratively. Previous studies supported that first-degree relatives (FDRs), such as parents, offspring, and siblings, of patients with bipolar disorder, had a higher risk of bipolar disorder. However, whether FDRs of bipolar patients have an increased risk of schizophrenia, major depressive disorder (MDD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) remains unclear.
Among the entire population in Taiwan, 87 639 patients with bipolar disorder and 188 290 FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder were identified in our study. The relative risks (RRs) of major psychiatric disorders were assessed among FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder.
FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder were more likely to have a higher risk of major psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder (RR 6.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.95–6.30), MDD (RR 2.89, 95% CI 2.82–2.96), schizophrenia (RR 2.64, 95% CI 2.55–2.73), ADHD (RR 2.21, 95% CI 2.13–2.30), and ASD (RR 2.10, 95% CI 1.92–2.29), than the total population did. These increased risks for major psychiatric disorders were consistent across different familial kinships, such as parents, offspring, siblings, and twins. A dose-dependent relationship was also found between risk of each major psychiatric disorder and numbers of bipolar patients.
Our study was the first study to support the familial coaggregation of bipolar disorder with other major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, MDD, ADHD, and ASD, in a Taiwanese (non-Caucasian) population. Given the elevated risks of major psychiatric disorders, the public health government should pay more attention to the mental health of FDRs of patients with bipolar disorder.
The present study investigates the relationship between BMI and all-cause mortality among middle-aged and older adults with or without pre-existing diseases.
A population-based cohort study.
The Taiwan Longitudinal Study on Aging is a nationwide prospective cohort study comprising a representative random sample of middle-aged and older adults. The study period was 1996–2007.
We followed 4145 middle-aged and older adults, totalling 42 353 person-years.
Overweight and mildly obese participants showed a 16 % and 30 % decrease in the risk of death, respectively, compared with those of normal weight after adjusting for potential covariates (e.g. demographic characteristics, health behaviour, co-morbidities and physical function). Underweight adults showed a 1·36-fold increased adjusted hazard ratio of death compared with normal-weight adults. Adults with a BMI of 27·0–28·0 kg/m2 showed a significantly lower adjusted hazard ratio of all-cause mortality rate compared with adults who had normal BMI values when they had coexisting hypertension or diabetes (adjusted hazard ratio=0·50; 95 % CI 0·30, 0·81 for hypertension and adjusted hazard ratio=0·41; 95 % CI 0·18, 0·89 for diabetes).
The study demonstrates that underweight people have a higher risk of death, and overweight and mildly obese people have a lower risk of death, compared with people of normal weight among middle-aged and older adults. An optimal BMI may be based on the individual, who exhibits pre-existing diseases or not.