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The aim of the current study was to explore the effect of gender, age at onset, and duration on the long-term course of schizophrenia.
Twenty-nine centers from 25 countries representing all continents participated in the study that included 2358 patients aged 37.21 ± 11.87 years with a DSM-IV or DSM-5 diagnosis of schizophrenia; the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale as well as relevant clinicodemographic data were gathered. Analysis of variance and analysis of covariance were used, and the methodology corrected for the presence of potentially confounding effects.
There was a 3-year later age at onset for females (P < .001) and lower rates of negative symptoms (P < .01) and higher depression/anxiety measures (P < .05) at some stages. The age at onset manifested a distribution with a single peak for both genders with a tendency of patients with younger onset having slower advancement through illness stages (P = .001). No significant effects were found concerning duration of illness.
Our results confirmed a later onset and a possibly more benign course and outcome in females. Age at onset manifested a single peak in both genders, and surprisingly, earlier onset was related to a slower progression of the illness. No effect of duration has been detected. These results are partially in accord with the literature, but they also differ as a consequence of the different starting point of our methodology (a novel staging model), which in our opinion precluded the impact of confounding effects. Future research should focus on the therapeutic policy and implications of these results in more representative samples.
Decreased hippocampal volume reported in neuropsychiatric and endocrine disorders is considered a result of putative neuronal damage mediated by corticosteroids. This is the first prospective study of hippocampal volume and function in patients treated with corticosteroids.
14 subjects treated systemically with prednisone or betamethasone for dermatological or rheumatic disorders underwent prospective neurocognitive testing (Auditory Verbal Learning Test—AVLT, Trail Making Test—TMT, Digit Span—DS) and nine of them also repeated magnetic resonance volumetry.
The mean duration of treatment between the first and the second assessment was 73 ± 38 days with mean daily dose of 37 ± 17 mg prednisone and 193 ± 29 days, with mean daily dose of 24 ± 15 mg prednisone between the first and the third assessment. There was a trend towards decreases in total AVLT scores and an improvement in the TMT and DS, but no significant changes in the volumes of the right or the left hippocampi between the assessments. Prednisone dose did not correlate with the hippocampal volume change.
We observed a trend for decline in verbal memory despite improvement in psychomotor speed, attention/working memory and no macroscopic hippocampal volume changes during 36–238 days of treatment with therapeutic doses of corticosteroids.
Previous studies have suggested altered structural and functional asymmetry of the brain in schizophrenia.
Functional MRI was used to assess differences in cortical activation during a verbal task in Broca's area and its contralateral homologue in four pairs of right-handed monozygotic (MZ) twins discordant and concordant for schizophrenia with low and high familial loading for the illness and four healthy control MZ twin pairs.
Pooled data from all subjects with schizophrenia showed increased activation in the right homologue of Broca's area in contrast to healthy individuals. Concordant twins (i.e. high familial loading group) showed prominent between co-twin differences in lateralization index within given region of interest. Intra-pair differences in lateralization index were significantly higher in concordant twins compared to the controls (0.69 ± 0.4 vs. 0.13 ± 0.13, P < 0.03), albeit no significant differences in the variable were shown between the discordant and control groups.
This study provides evidence of reduced cerebral dominance for language processing in patients with schizophrenia. The findings further suggest the need for additional research on relative proportion of genetic and environmental factors underlying deviations of functional asymmetry in schizophrenia.
Previous studies of patients with unipolar depression have shown that early decrease of prefrontal EEG cordance in theta band can predict clinical response to various antidepressants. We have now examined whether decrease of prefrontal quantitative EEG (QEEG) cordance value after 1 week of venlafaxine treatment predicts clinical response to venlafaxine in resistant patients.
We analyzed 25 inpatients who finished 4-week venlafaxine treatment. EEG data were monitored at baseline and after 1 week of treatment. QEEG cordance was computed at three frontal electrodes in theta frequency band. Depressive symptoms and clinical status were assessed using Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), Beck Depression Inventory-Short Form (BDI-S) and Clinical Global Impression (CGI).
Eleven of 12 responders (reduction of MADRS ≥50%) and only 5 of 13 non-responders had decreased prefrontal QEEG cordance value after the first week of treatment (p = 0.01). The decrease of prefrontal cordance after week 1 in responders was significant (p = 0.03) and there was no significant change in non-responders. Positive and negative predictive values of cordance reduction for response were 0.7 and 0.9, respectively.
The reduction of prefrontal theta QEEG cordance value after first week of treatment might be helpful in the prediction of response to venlafaxine.
T1 and T2 relaxation times were examined in four pairs of monozygotic (MZ) twins discordant and concordant for schizophrenia with low and high genetic loading for the illness and five healthy control MZ twin pairs. Patients with schizophrenia (n = 11) showed significant prolongation in T1 relaxation times in the globus pallidus (GP) bilaterally (P < 0.005, Bonferroni corrected) when compared to 14 healthy MZ twins.
The aim of the current study was to explore the changing interrelationships among clinical variables through the stages of schizophrenia in order to assemble a comprehensive and meaningful disease model.
Twenty-nine centers from 25 countries participated and included 2358 patients aged 37.21 ± 11.87 years with schizophrenia. Multiple linear regression analysis and visual inspection of plots were performed.
The results suggest that with progression stages, there are changing correlations among Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale factors at each stage and each factor correlates with all the others in that particular stage, in which this factor is dominant. This internal structure further supports the validity of an already proposed four stages model, with positive symptoms dominating the first stage, excitement/hostility the second, depression the third, and neurocognitive decline the last stage.
The current study investigated the mental organization and functioning in patients with schizophrenia in relation to different stages of illness progression. It revealed two distinct “cores” of schizophrenia, the “Positive” and the “Negative,” while neurocognitive decline escalates during the later stages. Future research should focus on the therapeutic implications of such a model. Stopping the progress of the illness could demand to stop the succession of stages. This could be achieved not only by both halting the triggering effect of positive and negative symptoms, but also by stopping the sensitization effect on the neural pathways responsible for the development of hostility, excitement, anxiety, and depression as well as the deleterious effect on neural networks responsible for neurocognition.
Positive symptoms are a useful predictor of aggression in schizophrenia. Although a similar pattern of abnormal brain structures related to both positive symptoms and aggression has been reported, this observation has not yet been confirmed in a single sample.
To study the association between positive symptoms and aggression in schizophrenia on a neurobiological level, a prospective meta-analytic approach was employed to analyze harmonized structural neuroimaging data from 10 research centers worldwide. We analyzed brain MRI scans from 902 individuals with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia and 952 healthy controls.
The result identified a widespread cortical thickness reduction in schizophrenia compared to their controls. Two separate meta-regression analyses revealed that a common pattern of reduced cortical gray matter thickness within the left lateral temporal lobe and right midcingulate cortex was significantly associated with both positive symptoms and aggression.
These findings suggested that positive symptoms such as formal thought disorder and auditory misperception, combined with cognitive impairments reflecting difficulties in deploying an adaptive control toward perceived threats, could escalate the likelihood of aggression in schizophrenia.
Reports linking the deinstitutionalisation of psychiatric care with
homelessness and imprisonment have been published widely.
To identify cohort studies that followed up or traced back long-term
psychiatric hospital residents who had been discharged as a consequence
A broad search strategy was used and 9435 titles and abstracts were
screened, 416 full articles reviewed and 171 articles from cohort studies
of deinstitutionalised patients were examined in detail.
Twenty-three studies of unique populations assessed homelessness and
imprisonment among patients discharged from long-term care. Homelessness
and imprisonment occurred sporadically; in the majority of studies no
single case of homelessness or imprisonment was reported.
Our results contradict the findings of ecological studies which indicated
a strong correlation between the decreasing number of psychiatric beds
and an increasing number of people with mental health problems who were
homeless or in prison.
It is unclear whether there is a direct link between economic crises and changes in suicide rates.
The Lopez-Ibor Foundation launched an initiative to study the possible impact of the economic crisis on European suicide rates.
Data was gathered and analysed from 29 European countries and included the number of deaths by suicide in men and women, the unemployment rate, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, the annual economic growth rate and inflation.
There was a strong correlation between suicide rates and all economic indices except GPD per capita in men but only a correlation with unemployment in women. However, the increase in suicide rates occurred several months before the economic crisis emerged.
Overall, this study confirms a general relationship between the economic environment and suicide rates; however, it does not support there being a clear causal relationship between the current economic crisis and an increase in the suicide rate.
La disminución del volumen del hipocampo comunicada en trastornos neuropsiquiátricos y endocrinos se considera resultado de un daño neuronal putativo mediado por corticoesteroides. Éste es el primer estudio prospectivo del volumen y la función del hipocampo en pacientes tratados con corticoesteroides.
Se sometió a 14 sujetos tratados sistémicamente con prednisona o betametasona por trastornos dermatológicos o reumáticos a pruebas neurocognitivas prospectivas (Prueba de Aprendizaje Verbal Auditivo [AVLT], Prueba del Trazo [TMT], Amplitud de dígitos [AD]) y nueve de ellos repitieron también una volumetría de resonancia magnética.
La duración media del tratamiento entre la primera evaluación y la segunda fue 73 ± 38 días con dosis diaria media de 37 ± 17 mg de prednisona y 193 ± 29 días, con dosis diaria media de 24 ± 15 mg de prednisona, entre la primera evaluación y la tercera. Hubo una tendencia a disminuciones en las puntuaciones totales de la AVLT y una mejoría en la TMT y la AD, pero ausencia de cambios significativos en el volumen de los hipocampos derecho o izquierdo entre las evaluaciones. La dosis de prednisona no correlacionaba con el cambio de volumen del hipocampo.
Observamos una tendencia a la disminución en la memoria verbal a pesar de la mejora en la velocidad psicomotriz, la atención/memoria operativa y una ausencia de cambios del volumen macroscópico del hipocampo durante los 36-238 días de tratamiento con dosis terapéuticas de corticoesteroides.
Psychiatry and psychopharmacology are no longer aiming to make a decisive breakthrough at the end of the century. Rather than seeking explanations, research workers are looking for ‘predictions’. Three main types of prediction are emerging: a tautological, a heuristic, and an irrelevant one. Few predictions found in the recent literature can be marked as ‘logical’ ones. Nevertheless, predictions play two important roles: they generate new hypotheses that can be falsified in properly designed scientific experiments; they also may serve to falsify given hypotheses. The main recent findings on predictions in psychiatry are briefly summarised.
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