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There are no conclusive findings about the possible protective role of religion on students’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, more research is needed.
The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between the level of emotional distress and religiosity among students from 7 different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data were collected by an online cross-sectional survey that was distributed amongst Polish (N = 1196), Bengali (N = 1537), Indian (N = 483), Mexican (N = 231), Egyptian (N = 565), Philippine (N = 2062), and Pakistani (N = 506) students (N = 6642) from 12th April to 1st June 2021. The respondents were asked several questions regarding their religiosity which was measured by The Duke University Religion Index (DUREL), the emotional distress was measured by the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21).
Egypt with Islam as the dominant religion showed the greatest temple attendance (organizational religious activity: M=5.27±1.36) and spirituality (intrinsic religiosity: M=5.27±1.36), p<0.0001. On another hand, Egyptian students had the lowest emotional distress measured in all categories DASS-21 (depression: M=4.87±10.17, anxiety: M=4.78±10.13, stress: M=20.76±11.46). Two countries with the dominant Christian religion achieved the highest score for private religious activities (non-organizational religious activity; Mexico: M=3.94±0.94, Poland: M=3.63±1.20; p<0.0001) and experienced a moderate level of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and stress. Students from Mexico presented the lowest attendance to church (M=2.46±1,39) and spirituality (M=6.68± 3.41) and had the second highest level of depressive symptoms (M=19.13±13.03) and stress (M=20.27±1.98). Philippines students had the highest DASS-21 score (depression: M=22.77±12.58, anxiety: M=16.07±10.77, stress: M=4.87±10.08) and their level of religiosity reached average values in the whole group. The performed regression analysis confirmed the importance of the 3 dimensions (organizational religious activity, non-organizational religious activity, intrinsic religiosity) of religiosity for the well-being of students, except for the relationship between anxiety and private religious activities. The result was as presented for depression: R2=0.0398, F(3.664)=91.764, p<0.0001, SE of E: 12.88; anxiety: R2=0.0124, F(3.664)=27.683, p<0.0001, SE of E: 10,62; stress: R2= 0.0350, F(3.664)=80.363, p<0.0001, SE of E: 12.30.
The higher commitment to organizational religious activity, non-organizational religious activity, and intrinsic religiositywas correlated with the lower level of depressive symptoms, stress, and anxiety among students during the COVID-19 pandemic, but taking into account factors related to religiosity explains the level of emotional well-being to a small extent.
TDuring COVID-19 pandemic, it was noticed that it was students who were mostly affected by the changes that aroused because of the pandemic. The interesting part is whether students’ well-being could be associated with their fields of study as well as coping strategies.
In this study, we aimed to assess 1) the mental health of students from nine countries with a particular focus on depression, anxiety, and stress levels and their fields of study, 2) the major coping strategies of students after one year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We conducted an anonymous online cross-sectional survey on 12th April – 1st June 2021 that was distributed among the students from Poland, Mexico, Egypt, India, Pakistan, China, Vietnam, Philippines, and Bangladesh. To measure the emotional distress, we used the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21), and to identify the major coping strategies of students - the Brief-COPE.
We gathered 7219 responses from students studying five major studies: medical studies (N=2821), social sciences (N=1471), technical sciences (N=891), artistic/humanistic studies (N=1094), sciences (N=942). The greatest intensity of depression (M=18.29±13.83; moderate intensity), anxiety (M=13.13±11.37; moderate intensity ), and stress (M=17.86±12.94; mild intensity) was observed among sciences students. Medical students presented the lowest intensity of all three components - depression (M=13.31±12.45; mild intensity), anxiety (M=10.37±10.57; moderate intensity), and stress (M=13.65±11.94; mild intensity). Students of all fields primarily used acceptance and self-distraction as their coping mechanisms, while the least commonly used were self-blame, denial, and substance use. The group of coping mechanisms the most frequently used was ‘emotional focus’. Medical students statistically less often used avoidant coping strategies compared to other fields of study. Substance use was only one coping mechanism that did not statistically differ between students of different fields of study. Behavioral disengagement presented the highest correlation with depression (r=0.54), anxiety (r=0.48), and stress (r=0.47) while religion presented the lowest positive correlation with depression (r=0.07), anxiety (r=0.14), and stress (r=0.11).
1) The greatest intensity of depression, anxiety, and stress was observed among sciences students, while the lowest intensity of those components was found among students studying medicine.
2) Not using avoidant coping strategies might be associated with lower intensity of all DASS components among students.
3) Behavioral disengagement might be strongly associated with greater intensity of depression, anxiety, and stress among students.
4) There was no coping mechanism that provided the alleviation of emotional distress in all the fields of studies of students.
Proper nutrition with fats has a protective effect on the functioning of the nervous system. However, a disturbed ratio of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids supply is nowadays a common phenomenon. A diet overloaded with saturated fats and a shortage of those essential ones in the company with possibly some unfavorable genetic endowment could lead to the release of psychosis from the framework of diet defined by nature for thousands of years.
The study aims to review the literature to assess the influence of supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids in the occurrence of psychotic disorders prevention, as well as their impact on remission prolongation.
Literature review in PubMed, Google Scholar, and Web of Science using the keywords [psychosis] OR [psychotic] OR [schizophrenia] OR [unipolar] OR [bipolar] OR [schizoaffective] OR [depression] OR [manic] OR [hypomanic] OR [mania] OR [hypomania] OR [first episode psychosis] OR [ultra-high risk] OR [UHR] AND [polyunsaturated fatty acids] OR [PUFA] OR [prostaglandin] OR [phospholipid] OR [phospholipase A2] OR [arachidonic acid] OR [linoleic acid] OR [alpha-linolenic acid] OR [omega-3] OR [omega-6] OR [nutrition] OR [diet]. The review included original articles, reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and case reports from 1977-2022 in Polish and English.
86 articles devoted to diet and nutrition in psychotic disorders were analyzed. Patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorders exhibit deficiencies in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Such results may indicate compliance with David Horrobin’s theory of the psychotic disorders development in predisposed individuals.
Supplementation with polyunsaturated fatty acids may be a chance for a selected group of patients to prolong remission but also hope to prevent the occurrence of psychotic disorders in particularly vulnerable individuals.
Schizophrenia (SZ) is associated with changes in haematological parameters related to low-grade inflammation state and could be amplified via oxidative stress (OS) related mechanisms. Although studies confirm this relationship, the results could be cofounded by patients’ treatment.
The study aimed to assess the connection between venous blood count and OS in drug-naïve first-episode SZ patients.
The study consisted of 24 SZ drug-naïve patients during first episode of psychosis (median age: 22 years), and 31 healthy individuals (HC) as a control group (median age: 28 years). The examination included clinical data, OS parameters (enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants), peripheral blood counts.
We did not find differences between SZ and HC in blood count parameters (p>0.05). In patients group, white blood cells (WBC), neutrophils and neutrophils-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) were positively related with the severity of positive symptoms (R=0.59, R=0.53, R=0.50; p<0.05, respectively). WBC was related to superoxide dismutase (SOD-1) levels (HC: R=-0.36, SZ: R=0.70; p<0.05). Neutrophils were positively related to catalase (CAT) (R=0.52; p<0.05) and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) (R=0.61; p<0.05), but only in the patients’ group. There was a positive relationship between NLR and CAT (R=0.45; p<0.05) in the SZ group.
The results indicate potential connection and interplay between OS and blood count parameters in the onset of psychotic episode. Further studies on a larger group of patients are needed.
The COVID-19 pandemic currently remains the most significant stressor affecting the global population. Researchers continually report widespread mistrust and negative attitudes towards vaccination, but only a little focus on its association with the emotional well-being.
We aimed to investigate the attitudes towards vaccination against COVID-19, as well as its relationship with well-being and religiosity after one year of the pandemic duration amongst Polish students.
We conducted an anonymous online cross-sectional survey between 12th April – 1st June 2021 amongst Polish students (n=1202). To evaluate emotional distress, we used the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21), for measuring spirituality/religiosity we used The Duke University Religion Index.
The highest rate of vaccinated individuals was noted in a group of medical students (69.9%), the lowest - among responders studying science (1.9%). Students who wanted to be vaccinated had higher levels of depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms compared to those who were already vaccinated (p=0.04); they also had higher depressive symptoms than unvaccinated and unwilling participants (p=0.028). Students who didn’t want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 showed the highest religiosity compared to those who would like to be vaccinated (p<0.001) or were vaccinated (p=0.003). There was a negative correlation between the level of religiosity and severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms (p=0.002).
1. The attitudes towards vaccination against COVID-19 depended on the fields of study. 2. Religiousness has been linked with the attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination as well as level of depression and anxiety amongst Polish students.
Despite the huge progression in depression treatment, many individuals do not achieve full recovery. Studies demonstrated alternatives from neurotransmitter targets which are promising to predict and manage illness.
This study aimed to select metabolic factors linked to the severity of depression symptoms.
66 patients (36% males) with episode of depression from part of SANGUT study were assessed for laboratory biomarkers (insulin, glucose, ALT, AST, lipid profile, cortisol, hs-CRP), anthropometric measurements (BMI, body composition, WHR ratio) and severity of subjective depressive (BDI scale) and stress (PSS-10 scale) symptoms.
Maximum accuracy for differentiating mood symptoms was achieved by the combination of triglycerides (cut-off point > 101 mg/dl) and HDL cholesterol (cut-off point <=48 mg/dl). For differentiating stress symptoms the combination of cholesterol LDL (cut-off point > 108.35 mg/dl) and hs-CRP (cut-off point <=1.55 mg/dl) were most accurate. In the regression analysis model, total; LDL and HDL cholesterol, adjusting for HOMA-ir, cortisol, hs-CRP, triglycerides, age and body fat content were independently related to mood symptoms severity and explain 23.4% variability. Stress symptoms were related to cortisol, hs-CRP levels and WHR ratio adjusted for age, duration of illness, LDL cholesterol, and body fat content. The following model explains 19% variability of symptoms severity.
In patients with mood disorders, more attention should be paid to metabolic changes, predicting intensified depression traits. The results indicate lifestyle changes as an available to all patients tool for depression management.
Endophenotypes represent intermediate phenotypes on the putative causal pathway from the genotype to the phenotype. Endophenotype abnormalities in domains such as neurophysiology or neurocognition occur in schizophrenia patients as well as their clinically “unaffected” relatives, and reflect polymorphisms in the DNA of schizophrenia spectrum subjects which create vulnerability to developing schizophrenia.
The aim of our study was searching endophenotype traits in schizophrenia among H1MRS results according to Gur at al (2007) following criteria: I. Association with illness—moderate to large effect sizes between schizophrenia patients and controls II. State independent III. Heritability IV.
Found in unaffected relatives at a higher rate than in the general population.
We examined the H1 MRS-NAA, Cho, mI, GLX, Cr metabolite ratios in 9 brain structures: Nucleus caudatus(NC), Nucleus lentiformis(NL), Nucleus lateralis thalami(NLT), Prefrontal cortex(PC), Anterior cingulate gyrus(ACG), Centrum semiovale(CS), Posterior cingulate gyrus(PCG), Hippocampus(H), Cerebellum(CE) of 36 patients with schizophrenia, 33 unaffected siblings, 18 control group.
With the reference to the analyzed 408 neurometabolical variables, criterion I was fulfilled by 25 variables from the following structures: 2NC, 1NL, 5PC, 4CS, 7H, 4NLT, 2CE; criterion IV-145 variables: 24NC, 16NL, 19PC, 13CS, 7H, 13NLT, 22C, 20ACG, 11PCG; criterion II - 15 variables: 4PC, 4CS, 4H, 2NLT, 2C, criterion III - 1NC, 1H, 1NLT.
All four criteria were fulfilled by 2 variables: Glx1/Cr proportions in the left part of Hippocampus, and mI/Cr proportions in the right Nucleus lateralis thalami, which can be considered as potential endophenotypical markers in schizophrenia.
Offspring of parents with Bipolar Disorder are at increased risk for a range of psychopathology, including Bipolar Disorder, ADHD and disruptive behavior disorders and problems in their psychosocial and cognitive functioning. Familial aggregation of BD is associated with earlier age of onset, more frequent co-occurrence of other psychiatric disorders, more severe illness course.
To compare subsequent generations of BD patients in one family, taking account of a number of variables related to course of illness and patients’ functioning.
Twelve patients with
(1) Adolescent-diagnosed BD and
(2) BD in first-degree relatives in at least three generations, were analyzed. The first-degree relatives with Bipolar Disorder in each family were compared regarding: age of onset; cognitive functioning (WCST); social functioning; course of illness, medication response, co-occurrence of other psychiatric disorders.
In subsequent generations, familial aggregation of Bipolar Disorder was associated with: earlier age of onset; more severe episodes and co-occurrence of other psychiatric disorders; worse medication response (Lithium) for a part of families; lower cognitive and social functioning.
In order to reduce the risk for long-term functional impairment in offspring, interventions addressing parental functioning and early interventions targeting the child's psychopathology should be introduced.
Depression is a complex, heterogeneous psychiatric disorder with multifactorial aetiology. Substantial evidence indicates that depressive episodes are associated not only with changes in neurotransmission in the central nervous system (CNS), but also may lead to structural changes in the brain through neuroendocrine, inflammatory, and immunological mechanisms. Among the factors deserving special attention connected with developing systematic inflammation are altered intestinal permeability, IgG food intolerance, and changes in gut microbiota.
We present a possible scenario of the development of depression, linking elevated zonulin production, loosening of the tight junction barrier, an increase in permeability of the gut wall, and the passage of macromolecules, normally staying the gut, into the bloodstream, with the immuno-inflammatory cascade and induction of IgG-dependent food sensitivity. Alterations in bidirectional signaling between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain, so called “microbiota–gut–brain axis”, may be normalized by dietary immunomodulating factors, including prebiotics and probiotics. In the case of increased IgG concentrations, the implementation of an elimination–rotation diet may prove to be an effective method of reducing inflammation and, in this way, alleviating depressive symptoms.
Given complexity and variety of mood disorders, it is necessary to develop improved integration models. Preliminary study results raise hope that the new methods mentioned above, i.e. psychobiotics, prebiotics, an elimination-rotation diet, may be an important addition to the psychiatrist's armamentarium as therapeutic agents improving the efficacy of the treatment for affective disorders [1–3].
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Intellectual functioning in schizophrenia has been associated with genetic vulnerability and obstetric complications.
The aim of this study was to assess:
– the incidence of complications during pregnancy, labor and delivery;
– the association of OCs with general intellectual ability in two groups: patients with schizophrenia and their healthy siblings.
Forty-two patients with schizophrenia according to DSM-IV and 43 their healthy siblings were included in the study and examined using MINI and WAIS-R. Their mothers were interviewed to gather data on OCs. The ‘midwife protocol’ of Parnas et al. was used to quantify the presence and entity of OCs.
Asphyxia, mother's serious illness during pregnancy, premature delivery with weight < 2500 g, labor time > 48 h, infarcts in the placenta and eclampsia were statistically more frequent in schizophrenic group. OCs were more common in individuals with a family history. The two investigated groups were different in the following WAIS-R subtests: comprehension (P = 0.018), block design (P = 0.0001), digit symbol (P = 0.001), as well as in performance IQ and total IQ. In the patient group, correlations between OCs indexes and WAIS-R results include all intelligence quotients (verbal, performance, total IQ) and 5 WAIS-R subtests, while in the sibling group: verbal and total IQ and 2 subtests. The correlation between Vocabulary subtest and OCs was the strongest in both groups.
OCs may interact with genetic vulnerability to increase the risk of schizophrenia and have been associated with cognitive deficits in the patient group.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
There is an evidence indicating that women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) quite common suffer from anxiety and depression, but predictors and protective factors are not well known in this group of patients.
The aim of the study was to try to find factor that are connected with higher rates of anxiety and depressive symptoms in the group of female patients experiencing IPV.
The study was conducted in six randomly selected centers of primary health care (PHCs) in Lublin province. One hundred and two female patients experiencing IPV were administered a structured questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). The sequential models were created with using backward stepwise multiple regression to investigate potential risk and protective factors connected with higher rates of anxiety and depression symptom in the group.
In a study group, 68% in Anxiety Subscale(A) and 56% in Depression Subscale of HADS (D) had positive scores. Living in the country (P = 0.003) was connected with higher scores in HADS-A (P = 0.003) but not in HADS-D. Experiencing physical violence was connected with higher score in HADS-D (P = 0.005), but not in HADS-A. Chronic physical illness (A P = 0.013; D P = 0.015), being unemployed (A P = 0.024; B P = 0.008), and experiencing economic violence (A P < 0.001; D P = 0.001) were connected with higher stores in both Subscales of HADS. Taking financial support (A P = 0.002, D P = 0.003) was the protective factor for both kinds of symptoms.
Socio-economic factors have stronger influence on anxiety and depressive symptoms in women experiencing IPV than demographic factors.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
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