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Abnormal auditory processing of deviant stimuli, as reflected by mismatch negativity (MMN), is often reported in schizophrenia (SCZ). At present, it is still under debate whether this dysfunctional response is specific to the full-blown SCZ diagnosis or rather a marker of psychosis in general. The present study tested MMN in patients with SCZ, bipolar disorder (BD), first episode of psychosis (FEP), and in people at clinical high risk for psychosis (CHR).
Source-based MEG activity evoked during a passive auditory oddball task was recorded from 135 patients grouped according to diagnosis (SCZ, BD, FEP, and CHR) and 135 healthy controls also divided into four subgroups, age- and gender-matched with diagnostic subgroups. The magnetic MMN (mMMN) was analyzed as event-related field (ERF), Theta power, and Theta inter-trial phase coherence (ITPC).
The clinical group as a whole showed reduced mMMN ERF amplitude, Theta power, and Theta ITPC, without any statistically significant interaction between diagnosis and mMMN reductions. The mMMN subgroup contrasts showed lower ERF amplitude in all the diagnostic subgroups. In the analysis of Theta frequency, SCZ showed significant power and ITPC reductions, while only indications of diminished ITPC were observed in CHR, but no significant decreases characterized BD and FEP.
Significant mMMN alterations in people experiencing psychosis, also for diagnoses other than SCZ, suggest that this neurophysiological response may be a feature shared across psychotic disorders. Additionally, reduced Theta ITPC may be associated with risk for psychosis.
Clozapine is the only drug licensed for treatment-resistant schizophrenia (TRS) but the real-world clinical and cost-effectiveness of community initiation of clozapine is unclear.
The aim was to assess the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of community initiation of clozapine.
This was a naturalistic study of community patients recommended for clozapine treatment.
Of 158 patients recommended for clozapine treatment, 88 (56%) patients agreed to clozapine initiation and, of these, 58 (66%) were successfully established on clozapine. The success rate for community initiation was 65.4%; which was not significantly different from that for in-patient initiation (58.82%, χ2(1,88) = 0.47, P = 0.49). Following clozapine initiation, there was a significant reduction in median out-patient visits over 1 year (from 24.00 (interquartile range (IQR) = 14.00–41.00) to 13.00 visits (IQR = 5.00–24.00), P < 0.001), and 2 years (from 47.50 visits (IQR = 24.75–71.00) to 22.00 (IQR = 11.00–42.00), P < 0.001), and a 74.71% decrease in psychiatric hospital bed days (z = −2.50, P = 0.01). Service-use costs decreased (1 year: –£963/patient (P < 0.001); 2 years: –£1598.10/patient (P < 0.001). Subanalyses for community-only initiation also showed significant cost reductions (1 year: –£827.40/patient (P < 0.001); 2 year: –£1668.50/patient (P < 0.001) relative to costs prior to starting clozapine. Relative to before initiation, symptom severity was improved in patients taking clozapine at discharge (median Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale total score: initial visit: 80 (IQR = 71.00–104.00); discharge visit 50.5 (IQR = 44.75–75.00), P < 0.001) and at 2 year follow-up (Health of Nation Outcome Scales total score median initial visit: 13.00 (IQR = 9.00–15.00); 2 year follow-up: 8.00 (IQR = 3.00–13.00), P = 0.023).
These findings indicate that community initiation of clozapine is feasible and is associated with significant reductions in costs, service use and symptom severity.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs), although conceptualized as separate entities, may share some clinical and neurobiological features. ASD symptoms may have a relevant role in determining a more severe clinical presentation of schizophrenic disorder but their relationships with cognitive aspects and functional outcomes of the disease remain to be addressed in large samples of individuals.
To investigate the clinical, cognitive, and functional correlates of ASD symptoms in a large sample of people diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The severity of ASD symptoms was measured with the PANSS Autism Severity Scale (PAUSS) in 921 individuals recruited for the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses multicenter study. Based on the PAUSS scores, three groups of subjects were compared on a wide array of cognitive and functional measures.
Subjects with more severe ASD symptoms showed a poorer performance in the processing speed (p = 0.010), attention (p = 0.011), verbal memory (p = 0.035), and social cognition (p = 0.001) domains, and an overall lower global cognitive composite score (p = 0.010). Subjects with more severe ASD symptoms also showed poorer functional capacity (p = 0.004), real-world interpersonal relationships (p < 0.001), and participation in community-living activities (p < 0.001).
These findings strengthen the notion that ASD symptoms may have a relevant impact on different aspects of the disease, crucial to the life of people with schizophrenia. Prominent ASD symptoms may characterize a specific subpopulation of individuals with SSD.
Data from the Italian national point-prevalence survey (PPS) of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) were used to evaluate antimicrobial usage (AMU) in Italy and to identify targets for future interventions.
The second Italian PPS was conducted in 2016 as part of the European PPS initiated by the ECDC. We compared these results with those of the first national survey, conducted in 2011.
An overall AMU prevalence of 44.5% (95% CI, 43.7–45.3) was estimated in 2016. No significant change in AMU prevalence was detected when comparing data with the first survey. In both surveys, the most prevalent indication for AMU was the treatment of infections. Considering all indications, penicillins plus β-lactamase inhibitors (BLIs) were the most commonly prescribed antimicrobial group in 2016; they were used significantly more than in 2011, and piperacillin plus BLI was the most frequently used agent. Broad-spectrum agents accounted for >60% of all antimicrobials for systemic use. No significant increase in the use of carbapenems occurred in 2016. Stable or decreasing carbapenem-resistance levels were identified in this study, although these levels remain alarmingly high for both Klebsiella pneumoniae (50%) and Acinetobacter baumannii (>75%).
These results can be used to identify priorities and targets for interventions that promote more prudent use of antimicrobials, improve healthcare quality and patient safety, and combat the emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.
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