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Response to lithium in patients with bipolar disorder is associated with clinical and transdiagnostic genetic factors. The predictive combination of these variables might help clinicians better predict which patients will respond to lithium treatment.
To use a combination of transdiagnostic genetic and clinical factors to predict lithium response in patients with bipolar disorder.
This study utilised genetic and clinical data (n = 1034) collected as part of the International Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLi+Gen) project. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were computed for schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, and then combined with clinical variables using a cross-validated machine-learning regression approach. Unimodal, multimodal and genetically stratified models were trained and validated using ridge, elastic net and random forest regression on 692 patients with bipolar disorder from ten study sites using leave-site-out cross-validation. All models were then tested on an independent test set of 342 patients. The best performing models were then tested in a classification framework.
The best performing linear model explained 5.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response and was composed of clinical variables, PRS variables and interaction terms between them. The best performing non-linear model used only clinical variables and explained 8.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response. A priori genomic stratification improved non-linear model performance to 13.7% (P = 0.0001) and improved the binary classification of lithium response. This model stratified patients based on their meta-polygenic loadings for major depressive disorder and schizophrenia and was then trained using clinical data.
Using PRS to first stratify patients genetically and then train machine-learning models with clinical predictors led to large improvements in lithium response prediction. When used with other PRS and biological markers in the future this approach may help inform which patients are most likely to respond to lithium treatment.
Deficits in emotional intelligence (EI) were detected in patients with bipolar disorder (BD), but little is known about whether these deficits are already present in patients after presenting a first episode mania (FEM). We sought (i) to compare EI in patients after a FEM, chronic BD and healthy controls (HC); (ii) to examine the effect exerted on EI by socio-demographic, clinical and neurocognitive variables in FEM patients.
The Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ) was calculated with the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). Performance on MSCEIT was compared among the three groups using generalized linear models. In patients after a FEM, the influence of socio-demographic, clinical and neurocognitive variables on the EIQ was examined using a linear regression model.
In total, 184 subjects were included (FEM n = 48, euthymic chronic BD type I n = 75, HC n = 61). BD patients performed significantly worse than HC on the EIQ [mean difference (MD) = 10.09, standard error (s.e.) = 3.14, p = 0.004] and on the understanding emotions branch (MD = 7.46, s.e. = 2.53, p = 0.010). FEM patients did not differ from HC and BD on other measures of MSCEIT. In patients after a FEM, EIQ was positively associated with female sex (β = −0.293, p = 0.034) and verbal memory performance (β = 0.374, p = 0.008). FEM patients performed worse than HC but better than BD on few neurocognitive domains.
Patients after a FEM showed preserved EI, while patients in later stages of BD presented lower EIQ, suggesting that impairments in EI might result from the burden of disease and neurocognitive decline, associated with the chronicity of the illness.
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar disorder (BD) exhibit difficulties with emotional cognition even during remission. There is evidence for aberrant emotional cognition in unaffected relatives of patients with these mood disorders, but studies are conflicting. We aimed to investigate whether emotional cognition in unaffected first-degree relatives of patients with mood disorders is characterised by heterogeneity using a data-driven approach.
Data from 94 unaffected relatives (33 of MDD patients; 61 of BD patients) and 203 healthy controls were pooled from two cohort studies. Emotional cognition was assessed with the Social Scenarios Test, Facial Expression Recognition Test and Faces Dot-Probe Test. Hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted using emotional cognition data from the 94 unaffected relatives. The resulting emotional cognition clusters and controls were compared for emotional and non-emotional cognition, demographic characteristics and functioning.
Two distinct clusters of unaffected relatives were identified: a relatively ‘emotionally preserved’ cluster (55%; 40% relatives of MDD probands) and an ‘emotionally blunted’ cluster (45%; 29% relatives of MDD probands). ‘Emotionally blunted’ relatives presented with poorer neurocognitive performance (global cognition p = 0.010), heightened subsyndromal mania symptoms (p = 0.004), lower years of education (p = 0.004) and difficulties with interpersonal functioning (p = 0.005) than controls, whereas ‘emotionally preserved’ relatives were comparable to controls on these measures.
Our findings show discrete emotional cognition profiles that occur across healthy first-degree relatives of patients with MDD and BD. These emotional cognition clusters may provide insight into emotional cognitive markers of genetically distinct subgroups of individuals at familial risk of mood disorders.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Bipolar disorder (BD) represents one of the most therapeutically complex psychiatric disorders. The development of a feasible comprehensive psychological approach to complement pharmacotherapy to improve its clinical management is required. The main objective of the present randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to test the efficacy of a novel adjunctive treatment entitled integrative approach in patients with BD, including: psychoeducation, mindfulness training, and functional remediation.
This is a parallel two-armed, rater-blind RCT of an integrative approach plus treatment as usual (TAU), v. TAU alone. Participants were recruited at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona and randomized to one of the two conditions. They were assessed at baseline and after finishing the intervention. The main outcome variable included changes in psychosocial functioning assessed through the Functioning Assessment Short Test (FAST).
After finishing the treatment, the repeated-measures analyses revealed a significant group × time interaction in favor of the patients who received the integrative approach (n = 28) compared to the TAU group (n = 37) (Pillai's trace = 0.10; F(1,57) = 6.9; p = 0.01), improving the functional outcome. Significant effects were also found in two out of the six domains of the FAST, including the cognitive domain (Pillai's trace = 0.25; F(1,57) = 19.1; p < 0.001) and leisure time (Pillai's trace = 0.11; F(1,57) = 7.15; p = 0.01). Regarding the secondary outcomes, a significant group × time interaction in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale changes was detected (Pillai's trace = 0.08; F(1,62) = 5.6; p = 0.02).
This preliminary study suggests that the integrative approach represents a promising cost-effective therapy to improve psychosocial functioning and residual depressive symptoms in patients suffering from BD.
Although mania is the hallmark symptom of bipolar I disorder (BD-I), most patients initially present for treatment with depressive symptoms. Misdiagnosis of BD-I as major depressive disorder (MDD) is common, potentially resulting in poor outcomes and inappropriate antidepressant monotherapy treatment. Screening patients with depressive symptoms is a practical strategy to help healthcare providers (HCPs) identify when additional assessment for BD-I is warranted. The new 6-item Rapid Mood Screener (RMS) is a pragmatic patient-reported BD-I screening tool that relies on easily understood terminology to screen for manic symptoms and other BD-I features in <2 minutes. The RMS was validated in an observational study in patients with clinically confirmed BD-I (n=67) or MDD (n=72). When 4 or more items were endorsed (“yes”), the sensitivity of the RMS for identifying patients with BP-I was 0.88 and specificity was 0.80; positive and negative predictive values were 0.80 and 0.88, respectively. To more thoroughly understand screening tool use among HCPs, a 10-minute survey was conducted.
A nationwide sample of HCPs (N=200) was selected using multiple HCP panels; HCPs were asked to describe their opinions/current use of screening tools, assess the RMS, and evaluate the RMS versus the widely recognized Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ). Results were reported by grouped specialties (primary care physicians, general nurse practitioners [NPs]/physician assistants [PAs], psychiatrists, and psychiatric NPs/PAs). Included HCPs were in practice <30 years, spent at least 75% of their time in clinical practice, saw at least 10 patients with depression per month, and diagnosed MDD or BD in at least 1 patient per month. Findings were reported using descriptive statistics; statistical significance was reported at the 95% confidence interval.
Among HCPs, 82% used a tool to screen for MDD, while 32% used a tool for BD. Screening tool attributes considered to be of the greatest value included sensitivity (68%), easy to answer questions (66%), specificity (65%), confidence in results (64%), and practicality (62%). Of HCPs familiar with screening tools, 70% thought the RMS was at least somewhat better than other screening tools. Most HCPs were aware of the MDQ (85%), but only 29% reported current use. Most HCPs (81%) preferred the RMS to the MDQ, and the RMS significantly outperformed the MDQ across valued attributes; 76% reported that they were likely to use the RMS to screen new patients with depressive symptoms. A total of 84% said the RMS would have a positive impact on their practice, with 46% saying they would screen more patients for bipolar disorder.
The RMS was viewed positively by HCPs who participated in a brief survey. A large percentage of respondents preferred the RMS over the MDQ and indicated that they would use it in their practice. Collectively, responses indicated that the RMS is likely to have a positive impact on screening behavior.
Cariprazine, a dopamine D3-preferring D3/D2 and serotonin 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist, is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and for depressive, manic, or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder. Previous post hoc analyses have demonstrated that cariprazine was effective versus placebo for improving cognitive symptoms in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar depression. This post hoc analysis evaluated the effects of cariprazine on cognitive symptoms in patients with acute manic or mixed bipolar episodes.
Data from 3 phase II/III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in patients with manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder (NCT00488618, NCT01058096, NCT01058668) were pooled and analyzed. Patients were randomized to placebo or flexibly dosed cariprazine (3-12 mg/d, 3-6 mg/d, or 6-12 mg/d [1 study only]) for 3 weeks of double-blind treatment; all dose groups were combined for the pooled analysis. Cognitive symptoms were assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) Cognitive subscale (sum of PANSS items P2, N5, N7, G10, G11); a score of 15 or greater at baseline indicated the presence of cognitive symptoms. Mean changes from baseline to week 3 in PANSS cognitive subscale/item scores and Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) total score were evaluated in the overall intent-to-treat (ITT) population and in the subgroup of patients with baseline cognitive symptoms. A mixed-effects model for repeated measures (MMRM) was used to impute missing values.
Of the 1012 patients in the ITT population, 174 (placebo=71; cariprazine=103) had a PANSS Cognitive subscale score of 15 or greater at baseline. At week 3, the cariprazine group demonstrated significantly greater mean improvement than the placebo group on PANSS cognitive subscale scores in both the ITT population (−2.2 vs −1.3; P<.0001) and the subgroup with baseline cognitive symptoms (−4.0 vs −1.9; P=.0002). In patients with baseline cognitive symptoms, improvement was significantly greater for cariprazine- versus placebo-treated patients on YMRS total score (−16.7 vs −8.2; P<.0001) and the individual PANSS cognitive subscale items of conceptual disorganization (−1.1 vs −0.5; P=.0004), difficulty in abstract thinking (−0.8 vs −0.3; P=.0044), stereotyped thinking (−0.3 vs −0.1; P=.0350), and poor attention (−1.1 vs −0.6; P=.0043).
In patients with manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder, cariprazine versus placebo was effective in improving cognitive symptoms in the overall patient population as well as in patients with baseline cognitive symptoms. In addition, cariprazine versus placebo also demonstrated efficacy in improving manic symptoms in patients with baseline cognitive symptoms. These results suggest that cariprazine may provide benefits for the treatment of cognitive symptoms in patients with bipolar I mania.
Subjects with bipolar disorder (BD) show heterogeneous cognitive profile and that not necessarily the disease will lead to unfavorable clinical outcomes. We aimed to identify clinical markers of severity among cognitive clusters in individuals with BD through data-driven methods.
We recruited 167 outpatients with BD and 100 unaffected volunteers from Brazil and Spain that underwent a neuropsychological assessment. Cognitive functions assessed were inhibitory control, processing speed, cognitive flexibility, verbal fluency, working memory, short- and long-term verbal memory. We performed hierarchical cluster analysis and discriminant function analysis to determine and confirm cognitive clusters, respectively. Then, we used classification and regression tree (CART) algorithm to determine clinical and sociodemographic variables of the previously defined cognitive clusters.
We identified three neuropsychological subgroups in individuals with BD: intact (35.3%), selectively impaired (34.7%), and severely impaired individuals (29.9%). The most important predictors of cognitive subgroups were years of education, the number of hospitalizations, and age, respectively. The model with CART algorithm showed sensitivity 45.8%, specificity 78.4%, balanced accuracy 62.1%, and the area under the ROC curve was 0.61. Of 10 attributes included in the model, only three variables were able to separate cognitive clusters in BD individuals: years of education, number of hospitalizations, and age.
These results corroborate with recent findings of neuropsychological heterogeneity in BD, and suggest an overlapping between premorbid and morbid aspects that influence distinct cognitive courses of the disease.
Functional impairment is a defining feature of psychotic disorders. A range of factors has been shown to influence functioning, including negative symptoms, cognitive performance and cognitive reserve (CR). However, it is not clear how these variables may affect functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients. This 2-year follow-up study aimed to explore the possible mediating effects of CR on the relationship between cognitive performance or specific clinical symptoms and functional outcome.
A prospective study of non-affective FEP patients was performed (211 at baseline and 139 at follow-up). CR was entered in a path analysis model as potential mediators between cognitive domains or clinical symptoms and functioning.
At baseline, the relationship between clinical variables or cognitive performance and functioning was not mediated by CR. At follow-up, the effect of attention (p = 0.003) and negative symptoms (p = 0.012) assessed at baseline on functioning was partially mediated by CR (p = 0.032 and 0.016), whereas the relationship between verbal memory (p = 0.057) and functioning was mediated by CR (p = 0.014). Verbal memory and positive and total subscales of PANSS assessed at follow-up were partially mediated by CR and the effect of working memory on functioning was totally mediated by CR.
Our results showed the influence of CR in mediating the relationship between cognitive domains or clinical symptoms and functioning in FEP. In particular, CR partially mediated the relationship between some cognitive domains or clinical symptoms and functioning at follow-up. Therefore, CR could improve our understanding of the long-term functioning of patients with a non-affective FEP.
The COVID-19 pandemic has and will have a huge impact on mental health, especially in countries that have been significantly affected, such as Spain.
Here we aim to provide the perspectives of a group of psychiatrists from Barcelona, one of the epicentres of the pandemic so far, to highlight the potential fatality of a virus that caught us unaware and unprepared, and hopefully this article will be of aid to countries about to face the pandemic.
The unprecedented situations that we have been faced with so far have included reconfiguring hospitals and the redeployment of healthcare professionals, with flexibility and adaptability key to managing the overload in demand. This has led to healthcare professionals being exposed to extremely stressful situations and they have had impossible decisions to make that may have mental health consequences, some of which may be severe and long lasting.
A rebound effect on mental health problems is to be expected in the medium and long term, especially for healthcare professionals and psychiatric patients, necessitating a strengthening of preventive approaches and policies for mental health along with a prompt reopening of mental health services. Ways to provide psychiatric healthcare in the immediate future need to be re-evaluated, and the development of telepsychiatry services is probably to be expected.
Previous literature supports antipsychotics’ (AP) efficacy in acute first-episode psychosis (FEP) in terms of symptomatology and functioning but also a cognitive detrimental effect. However, regarding functional recovery in stabilised patients, these effects are not clear. Therefore, the main aim of this study is to investigate dopaminergic/anticholinergic burden of (AP) on psychosocial functioning in FEP. We also examined whether cognitive impairment may mediate these effects on functioning.
A total of 157 FEP participants were assessed at study entry, and at 2 months and 2 years after remission of the acute episode. The primary outcomes were social functioning as measured by the functioning assessment short test (FAST). Cognitive domains were assessed as potential mediators. Dopaminergic and anticholinergic AP burden on 2-year psychosocial functioning [measured with chlorpromazine (CPZ) and drug burden index] were independent variables. Secondary outcomes were clinical and socio-demographic variables.
Mediation analysis found a statistical but not meaningful contribution of dopaminergic receptor blockade burden to worse functioning mediated by cognition (for every 600 CPZ equivalent points, 2-year FAST score increased 1.38 points). Regarding verbal memory and attention, there was an indirect effect of CPZ burden on FAST (b = 0.0045, 95% CI 0.0011–0.0091) and (b = 0.0026, 95% CI 0.0001–0.0006) respectively. However, only verbal memory post hoc analyses showed a significant indirect effect (b = 0.009, 95% CI 0.033–0.0151) adding premorbid IQ as covariate. We did not find significant results for anticholinergic burden.
CPZ dose effect over functioning is mediated by verbal memory but this association appears barely relevant.
Psychopathological heterogeneity in manic syndromes may in part reflect underlying latent classes with characteristic outcome patterns. Differential treatment course and outcome after 12 weeks of treatment were examined for three distinct classes of patients with acute mania in bipolar disorder.
Subjects and methods
Three thousand four hundred and twenty-five patients with acute mania were divided into three distinct mania classes: ‘Typical’, ‘Psychotic’ and ‘Dual’ (i.e. comorbid substance use) mania. Persistence of class differences and social outcomes were examined, using multilevel regression analyses and odds ratios.
The three classes showed substantial stability post-baseline in the pattern of associations with class-characteristic variables. Psychotic and Dual mania predicted poorer outcome in terms of psychosis comorbidity and overall bipolar and mania severity, while Dual mania additionally predicted poorer outcome of alcohol and substance abuse. Worse social outcomes were observed for both Dual and Psychotic mania.
The identified distinct classes are stable and associated with differential treatment outcome. Overall, Dual and Psychotic mania show less favourable outcomes compared to Typical mania. These findings additionally give rise to concern on the generalisability of randomized clinical trials RCTs.
There are few controlled studies evaluating the treatment of bipolar mixed states. Evidence suggests that mixed states may be more responsive to some anticonvulsants than to lithium. Olanzapine alone or in combination with divalproate or lithium has been adequately evaluated in randomized clinical trials involving mixed-state patients, whereas risperidone and quetiapine have not. There is also some evidence demonstrating the efficacy of ziprasidone and aripiprazole. The risk of switching to depression is high in mixed states. Conventional antipsychotics, such as haloperidol, may be less efficacious at protecting against a switch to depression than atypical antipsychotics, divalproate or lithium. When choosing drugs for the treatment of mania, and especially for the treatment of mixed states, their efficacy against manic and depressive symptoms, and their safety in terms of the risk of switching to depression should be taken into account.
Clinical guidelines for treatment and research of bipolar disorder greatly benefit from the synthesis of data from individual studies. The British Association for Psychopharmacology bases its guidelines on evidence from opinions (level D) to systematic reviews of primary trial data (level A). The report details conclusions of its 1-day consensus meeting to develop guidelines covering diagnosis, clinical management, pharmacotherapy for acute episodes, relapse prevention and treatment discontinuation. Monotherapy for long-term management is preferred, having reduced side-effects and drug interactions and improved compliance. Combination therapy is often preferred for acute episodes, using antipsychotics for mania or antidepressants for depression. Increased efficacy may be attributed to multiple mechanisms of action and potentially lower doses. In clinical practice, maintenance monotherapy has limited success for chronic episodes and polypharmacy is frequently used, though the best combination remains unclear. A new collaborative approach based on simple clinical trials is required to change current medical practice.
Mixed bipolar states are not infrequent and may be extremely difficult to treat. Lithium, anticonvulsants including valproate and carbamazepine, and antipsychotics such as olanzapine, ziprasidone, and aripiprazole have been reported to be at least partially effective in controlled clinical trials, but many patients do not respond to pharmacological approaches. Electroconvulsive therapy has been tested to be efficacious for the treatment of both manic and depressive episodes, but much less evidence is available with regards to mixed states. The aim of the review was to report the available evidence for the use of electroconvulsive therapy in mixed bipolar states.
A systematic review of the literature on treatment of mixed states, focused on electroconvulsive therapy, was made, beginning in August 1992 and ending in March 2007. The key words were “electroconvulsive therapy” and “mixed bipolar”.
Only three studies met the required quality criteria and were included. This literature suggests that ECT is an effective, safe, and probably underutilized treatment of mixed states. Recent technical developments have made ECT more friendly, tolerable, and safe. Potential alternatives, such as vagus nerve stimulation, deep brain stimulation, or transcranial stimulation, are still far to be proved as effective as ECT.