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To evoke a therapeutically effective seizure, electrical stimulation in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has to overcome the combined resistivity of scalp, skull and other tissues. Static impedances are measured prior to stimulation using high-frequency electrical alternating pulses, dynamic impedances during passage of the stimulation current. Static impedance can partially be influenced by skin preparation techniques. Earlier studies showed a correlation between dynamic and static impedance in bitemporal and right unilateral ECT.
This study aims at assessing the correlation of dynamic and static impedance with patient characteristics and seizure quality criteria in bifrontal ECT
We performed a cross-sectional single-centre retrospective analysis of ECT treatments at the Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich between May 2012 and March 2020 and used linear mixed-effects regression models in 78 patients with a total of 1757 ECT sessions.
Dynamic and static impedance were strongly correlated. Dynamic impedance was significantly correlated with age and higher in women. Energy set and factors positively (caffeine) and negatively (propofol) affecting seizure at the neuronal level were not associated with dynamic impedance. For secondary outcomes, dynamic impedance was significantly related to Maximum Sustained Power and Average Seizure Energy Index. Other seizure quality criteria showed no significant correlation with dynamic impedance.
Aiming for low static impedance might reduce dynamic impedance, which is correlated with positive seizure quality parameters. Therefore, good skin preparation to achieve low static impedance is recommended.
Coercive measures (such as seclusion, mechanical restraint, and forced medication) during psychiatric inpatient treatment should be avoided whenever possible. Different interventions were already developed to reduce coercion, but for their effective application, it is crucial to know the risk factors of individuals and clinical situations that might be associated with coercion. Since the results of previous studies differ considerably the current study aims to fill this gap by evaluating the course of the exertion of coercion in detail.
In this study, we analyzed clinical, procedural, and sociodemographic data from patients (n = 16,607 cases) who were treated as inpatients in Switzerland’s largest psychiatric institution with 320 beds during the years 2017 to 2020. We used regression models to identify predictors for the exertion of coercion, the number of coercive measures during a treatment episode and time until exertion of the first and last coercive measure.
Coercive measures are mostly used during the first days of treatment. We identified clinical parameters such as manic or psychotic episodes to be the most relevant predictors for the exertion of coercion. Cases with those disorders also received coercion more often and earlier in their treatment course than other diagnostic groups. Other promoting factors for frequency and early application of coercion were involuntary admission and factors of chronicity and clinical severity.
Knowing the risk factors may help to target preventive strategies for those at highest risk. In particular, interventions should focus on the critical timeframe at the beginning of treatment.
Despite multiple ethical issues and little evidence of their efficacy, compulsory admission and treatment are still common psychiatric practice. Therefore, we aimed to assess potential differences in treatment and outcome between voluntarily and compulsorily admitted patients.
We extracted clinical data from inpatients treated in an academic hospital in Zurich, Switzerland between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2019. Observation time started upon the first admission and ended after a one-year follow-up after the last discharge. Several sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, including Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS) scores, were retrospectively obtained. We then identified risk factors of compulsory admission using logistic regression in order to perform a widely balanced propensity score matching. Altogether, we compared 4,570 compulsorily and 4,570 voluntarily admitted propensity score-matched patients. Multiple differences between these groups concerning received treatment, coercive measures, clinical parameters, and service use outcomes were detected.
Upon discharge, compulsorily admitted patients reached a similar HoNOS sum score in a significantly shorter duration of treatment. They were more often admitted for crisis interventions, were prescribed less pharmacologic treatment, and received fewer therapies. During the follow-up, voluntarily admitted patients were readmitted more often, while the time to readmission did not differ.
Under narrowly set circumstances, compulsory admissions might be helpful to avert and relieve exacerbations of severe psychiatric disorders.
There is a substantial burden on global mental health as a result of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that has become putting pressure on healthcare systems. There is increasing concern about rising suicidality consequential to the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken. Existing research about the impact of earlier epidemics and economic crises as well as current studies about the effects of the pandemic on public mental health and populations at risk indicate rising suicidality, especially in the middle and longer term.
This study investigated the early impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicidality by comparing weekly in-patient admissions for individuals who were suicidal or who attempted suicide just before admission, for the first 6 months after the pandemic's onset in Switzerland with corresponding 2019 control data.
Data was collected at the Psychiatric University Hospital of Zurich. An interrupted time-series design was used to analyse the number of patients who were suicidal.
Instead of a suggested higher rate of suicidality, fewer admissions of patients with suicidal thoughts were found during the first 6-months after the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the proportion of involuntary admissions was found to be higher and more patients have been admitted after a first suicide attempt than in the corresponding control period from 2019.
Although admissions relating to suicidality decreased during the pandemic, the rising number of patients admitted with a first suicide attempt may be an early indicator for an upcoming extra burden on public mental health (and care). Being a multifactorial process, suicidality is influenced in several ways; low in-patient admissions of patients who are suicidal could also reflect fear of contagion and related uncertainty about seeking mental healthcare.
The Swiss trials on medical prescription of injectable diacetylmorphine (pharmaceutical heroin) for “severe” heroin dependence provoked very controversial commentaries. Despite methodological shortcomings, the evaluation of the Swiss heroin trials yielded some interesting findings. Study participants showed substantial improvements in health and well-being and noticeable declines in illicit drug use and criminal activities. Heroin prescription may thus be helpful for some of those who continue to regularly use illicit heroin while maintained on methadone or who refuse other available treatment options. However, research-based evidence suggests that the intravenous (IV) application of heroin under medical supervision may have untoward side effects. Recent studies have shown that heroin injections produce transient, but significant decreases in systemic and cortical oxygenation most likely secondary to respiratory depression. Among others, these effects are the subject of ongoing studies.
Psychiatric and neurodegenerative illnesses are characterized by cognitive impairments, in particular deficits in working memory, decision-making, and executive functions including cognitive flexibility. However, the neuropharmacology of these cognitive functions is poorly understood. The serotonin (5-HT) 2A receptor might be a promising candidate for the modulation of cognitive processes. However, pharmacological studies investigating the role of this receptor system in humans are rare. Recent evidence demonstrates that the effects of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) are mediated via agonistic action at the 5-HT2A receptor. Yet, the effects of LSD on specific cognitive domains using standardized neuropsychological test have not been studied.
We examined the acute effects of LSD (100 µg) alone and in combination with the 5-HT2A antagonist ketanserin (40 mg) on cognition, employing a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, within-subject design in 25 healthy participants. Executive functions, cognitive flexibility, spatial working memory, and risk-based decision-making were examined by the Intra/Extra-Dimensional shift task (IED), Spatial Working Memory task (SWM), and Cambridge Gambling Task (CGT) of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery.
Compared to placebo, LSD significantly impaired executive functions, cognitive flexibility, and working memory on the IED and SWM, but did not influence the quality of decision-making and risk taking on the CGT. Pretreatment with the 5-HT2A antagonist ketanserin normalized all LSD-induced cognitive deficits.
The present findings highlight the role of the 5-HT2A receptor system in executive functions and working memory and suggest that specific 5-HT2A antagonists may be relevant for improving cognitive dysfunctions in psychiatric disorders.
Bipolar disorder I (BD-I) is defined by episodes of mania, depression and euthymic states. These episodes are among other symptoms characterized by altered reward processing and negative symptoms (NS), in particular apathy. However, the neural correlates of these deficits are not well understood.
We first assessed the severity of NS in 25 euthymic BD-I patients compared with 25 healthy controls (HC) and 27 patients with schizophrenia (SZ). Then, we investigated ventral (VS) and dorsal striatal (DS) activation during reward anticipation in a Monetary Incentive Delayed Task and its association with NS.
In BD-I patients NS were clearly present and the severity of apathy was comparable to SZ patients. Apathy scores in the BD-I group but not in the SZ group correlated with sub-syndromal depression scores. At the neural level, we found significant VS and DS activation in BD-I patients and no group differences with HC or SZ patients. In contrast to patients with SZ, apathy did not correlate with striatal activation during reward anticipation. Explorative whole-brain analyses revealed reduced extra-striatal activation in BD-I patients compared with HC and an association between reduced activation of the inferior frontal gyrus and apathy.
This study found that in BD-I patients apathy is present to an extent comparable to SZ, but is more strongly related to sub-syndromal depressive symptoms. The findings support the view of different pathophysiological mechanisms underlying apathy in the two disorders and suggest that extra-striatal dysfunction may contribute to impaired reward processing and apathy in BD-I.
Cognitive–behavioural therapy is efficacious in the treatment of major
depressive disorder but response rates are still far from
To better understand brain responses to individualised emotional stimuli
and their association with outcome, to enhance treatment.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected prior to
individual psychotherapy. Differences in brain activity during passive
viewing of individualised self-critical material in 23 unmedicated
out-patients with depression and 28 healthy controls were assessed. The
associations between brain activity, cognitive and emotional change, and
outcome were analysed in 21 patients.
Patients showed enhanced activity in the amygdala and ventral striatum
compared with the control group. Non-response to therapy was associated
with enhanced activity in the right amygdala compared with those who
responded, and activity in this region was negatively associated with
outcome. Emotional but not cognitive changes mediated this
Amygdala hyperactivity may lessen symptom improvement in psychotherapy
for depression through attenuating emotional skill acquisition.
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