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Despite the multitude of clinical manifestations of post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), studies applying statistical methods to directly investigate patterns of symptom co-occurrence and their biological correlates are scarce.
We assessed 30 symptoms pertaining to different organ systems in 749 adults (age = 55 ± 14 years; 47% female) during in-person visits conducted at 6–11 months after hospitalization due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including six psychiatric and cognitive manifestations. Symptom co-occurrence was initially investigated using exploratory factor analysis (EFA), and latent variable modeling was then conducted using Item Response Theory (IRT). We investigated associations of latent variable severity with objective indices of persistent physical disability, pulmonary and kidney dysfunction, and C-reactive protein and D-dimer blood levels, measured at the same follow-up assessment.
The EFA extracted one factor, explaining 64.8% of variance; loadings were positive for all symptoms, and above 0.35 for 16 of them. The latent trait generated using IRT placed fatigue, psychiatric, and cognitive manifestations as the most discriminative symptoms (coefficients > 1.5, p < 0.001). Latent trait severity was associated with decreased body weight and poorer physical performance (coefficients > 0.240; p ⩽ 0.003), and elevated blood levels of C-reactive protein (coefficient = 0.378; 95% CI 0.215–0.541; p < 0.001) and D-dimer (coefficient = 0.412; 95% CI 0.123–0.702; p = 0.005). Results were similar after excluding subjects with pro-inflammatory comorbidities.
Different symptoms that persist for several months after moderate or severe COVID-19 may unite within one latent trait of PASC. This trait is dominated by fatigue and psychiatric symptoms, and is associated with objective signs of physical disability and persistent systemic inflammation.
The crosstalk between maternal stress exposure and fetal development may be mediated by epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation (DNAm). To address this matter, we collect 32 cord blood samples from low-income Brazilian pregnant adolescents participants of a pilot randomized clinical intervention study (ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier: NCT02807818). We hypothesized that the association between the intervention and infant neurodevelopmental outcomes at 12 months of age would be mediated by DNAm. First, we searched genome methylation differences between cases and controls using different approaches, as well as differences in age acceleration (AA), represented by the difference of methylation age and birth age. According to an adjusted p-value ≤ 0.05 we identified 3090 differentially methylated positions- CpG sites (DMPs), 21 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and one comethylated module weakly preserved between groups. The intervention group presented a smaller AA compared to the control group (p = 0.025). A logistic regression controlled by sex and with gestational age indicated a coefficient of −0.35 towards intervention group (p = 0.016) considering AA. A higher cognitive domain score from Bayley III scale was observed in the intervention group at 12 months of age. Then, we performed a potential causal mediation analysis selecting only DMPs highly associated with the cognitive domain (adj. R2 > 0.4), DMRs and CpGs of hub genes from the weakly preserved comethylated module and epigenetic clock as raw values. DMPs in STXBP6, and PF4 DMR, mediated the association between the maternal intervention and the cognitive domain at 12 months of age. In conclusion, DNAm in different sites and regions mediated the association between intervention and cognitive outcome.
The present study explored the influence of romantic love on the expression of several obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) characteristics, including symptom severity, symptom dimensions, age at onset, sensory phenomena (SP), and developmental course, as well as other related comorbid disorders. It was hypothesized that love-precipitated OCD would be associated with a set of distinct characteristics and exhibit greater rates of comorbid disorders.
The analyses were performed using a large sample (n = 981) of clinical patients with a primary diagnosis of OCD (Females = 67.3%, M age = 35.31).
Love-precipitated OCD was associated with greater severity of SP and later age at onset of obsessions. However, symptom severity, symptom dimension, developmental course, and psychiatric comorbidities were not associated with love-precipitated OCD.
It was concluded that romantic love does shape the expression of OCD, especially with regard to SP and onset age. These findings encourage further exploration to determine its clinical significance as a phenotype.
The symptoms of obsessive−compulsive disorder (OCD) are highly heterogeneous and it is unclear what is the optimal way to conceptualize this heterogeneity. This study aimed to establish a comprehensive symptom structure model of OCD across the lifespan using factor and network analytic techniques.
A large multinational cohort of well-characterized children, adolescents, and adults diagnosed with OCD (N = 1366) participated in the study. All completed the Dimensional Yale-Brown Obsessive−Compulsive Scale, which contains an expanded checklist of 87 distinct OCD symptoms. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis were used to outline empirically supported symptom dimensions, and interconnections among the resulting dimensions were established using network analysis. Associations between dimensions and sociodemographic and clinical variables were explored using structural equation modeling (SEM).
Thirteen first-order symptom dimensions emerged that could be parsimoniously reduced to eight broad dimensions, which were valid across the lifespan: Disturbing Thoughts, Incompleteness, Contamination, Hoarding, Transformation, Body Focus, Superstition, and Loss/Separation. A general OCD factor could be included in the final factor model without a significant decline in model fit according to most fit indices. Network analysis showed that Incompleteness and Disturbing Thoughts were most central (i.e. had most unique interconnections with other dimensions). SEM showed that the eight broad dimensions were differentially related to sociodemographic and clinical variables.
Future research will need to establish if this expanded hierarchical and multidimensional model can help improve our understanding of the etiology, neurobiology and treatment of OCD.
Mental disorders can have a major impact on brain development. Peripheral blood concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are lower in adult psychiatric disorders. Serum BDNF concentrations and BDNF genotype have been associated with cortical maturation in children and adolescents. In 2 large independent samples, this study tests associations between serum BDNF concentrations, brain structure, and psychopathology, and the effects of BDNF genotype on BDNF serum concentrations in late childhood and early adolescence.
Children and adolescents (7-14 years old) from 2 cities (n = 267 in Porto Alegre; n = 273 in São Paulo) were evaluated as part of the Brazilian high-risk cohort (HRC) study. Serum BDNF concentrations were quantified by sandwich ELISA. Genotyping was conducted from blood or saliva samples using the SNParray Infinium HumanCore Array BeadChip. Subcortical volumes and cortical thickness were quantified using FreeSurfer. The Development and Well-Being Behavior Assessment was used to identify the presence of a psychiatric disorder.
Serum BDNF concentrations were not associated with subcortical volumes or with cortical thickness. Serum BDNF concentration did not differ between participants with and without mental disorders, or between Val homozygotes and Met carriers.
No evidence was found to support serum BDNF concentrations as a useful marker of developmental differences in brain and behavior in early life. Negative findings were replicated in 2 of the largest independent samples investigated to date.
Introduction: Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have several similarities and are included among the obsessive-compulsive spectrum of disorders. However, the content of preoccupations and level of insight of BDD patients differ from OCD patients.
Objective: To compare the level of insight regarding obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) and other clinical features in OCD patients with and without comorbid BDD.
Methods: We evaluated 103 OCD patients (n=25, comorbid BDD), according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, the University of São Paulo Sensory Phenomena Scale, the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories, and the Brown Assessment of Beliefs Scale.
Results: The study groups differed significantly on several clinical features, including level of insight. A worse level of insight regarding OCS was independently associated with the presence of comorbid BDD. Lower educational level, more psychiatric comorbidities, presence of somatic and hoarding obsessions, and presence of intrusive images were associated with BDD comorbidity, even after adjusting for possible confounders.
Conclusion: The presence of BDD in OCD patients is associated with poorer insight into obsessional beliefs and higher morbidity, reflected by lower educational levels and higher number of psychiatric comorbid disorders in general.
A variety of subjective experiences have been reported to be associated with the symptom expression of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette syndrome (TS). First described in TS patients, these subjective experiences have been defined in different ways. There is no consensus in the literature on how to best define subjective experiences. This lack of consensus may hinder the understanding of study results and prevents the possibility of including them in the search for etiological factors associated with OCD and TS.
The objective of this article was to review the descriptions of subjective experiences in the English-language literature from 1980–2007. This meta-analytic review was carried out using the English-language literature from 1980–2007 available on MEDLINE, PsyclNFO, and the Cochrane Library databases using the following search terms: premonitory urges, sensory tics, “just-right” perceptions, sensory phenomena, sensory experiences, incompleteness, “not just-right” phenomena, obsessive-compulsive disorder and TS, including OCD and/or TS, in all combination searches. We also searched for the references cited in each article previously found that referred to the aforementioned terms. Thirtyone articles were included in the study.
Subjective experiences, in particular, the sensory phenomena, were important phenotypic variables in the characterization of the tic-related OCD subtype and were more frequent in the early-onset OCD subtype. There is a paucity of studies using structured interviews to assess sensory phenomena, their epidemiology and the etiological mechanisms associated with sensory phenomena.
The current review provides some evidence that sensory phenomena can be useful to identify more homogenous subgroups of OCD and TS patients and should be included as important phenotypic variables in future clinical, genetic, neuroimaging, and treatment-response studies.
Trichotillomania (TTM, repetitive hair pulling) is a complex underdiagnosed syndrome that often causes considerable psychological distress and physical disfigurement. Although many aspects of hair pulling bear similarity to compulsions of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), TTM lacks obsessions associated with OCD. The phenomenology of TTM also is similar to tics in Tourette Syndrome (TS) and overlaps with TS in both limited structural neuroimaging data and in terms of treatment response to pharmacotherapy with dopamine antagonists.
In order to study potential comorbid relationships between TTM, TS, and OCD, a total of 61 patients with either TS, OCD, or OCD comorbid with TS were assessed using structured interviews as part of a phenomenological study of these groups. Post hoc analyses indicated significantly higher proportions of hair pulling in those subjects with OCD comorbid with TS compared to subjects with either OCD or TS alone.
These data, in conjunction with clinical phenomenology, neuroimaging results, and response to pharmacotherapy suggest the possibility that some forms of TTM may be more closely related to tic disorders than OCD. Futher research is needed to clarify and confirm these observations of putative relationships between TTM and TS and potential treatment implications.
The clinical presentation of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) varies not only across patients but over the course of the disorder. This diversity indicates that OCD is a heterogeneous disorder, which may have an important impact on psychopathological, longitudinal, genetic, and treatment research. To better understand OCD heterogeneity, more homogeneous phenotypic descriptions are necessary to delimiting clinically meaningful subgroups of patients. Besides phenotypic descriptions, another method of delimiting OCD patient subgroups includes the search for endophenotypes (extended phenotypes) based on neurophysiological, immunological, genetic, neuropsychological, or neuroanatomic (neuroimaging) paradigms. This article will describe some strategies that deal with OCD heterogeneity, including the identification of more homogeneous phenotypical categories, an improved understanding of obsessive-compulsive symptom dimensions and how to use them as quantitative traits, and broadening the diagnostic boundaries of OCD to include other related conditions. The relevance and limitations of each approach are also discussed. Since the etiological mechanisms associated with the expressions of OCD are unknown, there is probably not one but several heuristic strategies to search for more homogeneous OCD subgroup, that combined may provide the most fruitful results.
Introduction: Research suggests that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is not a unitary entity, but rather a highly heterogeneous condition, with complex and variable clinical manifestations.
Objective: The aims of this study were to compare clinical and demographic characteristics of OCD patients with early and late age of onset of obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS); and to compare the same features in early onset OCD with and without tics. The independent impact of age at onset and presence of tics on comorbidity patterns was investigated.
Methods: Three hundred and thirty consecutive outpatients meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria for OCD were evaluated: 160 patients belonged to the “early onset” group (EOG): before 11 years of age, 75 patients had
Results: The EOG had a predominance of males, higher frequency of family history of OCS, higher mean scores on the “aggression/violence” and “miscellaneous” dimensions, and higher mean global DY-BOCS scores. Patients with EOG without tic disorders presented higher mean global DY-BOCS scores and higher mean scores in the “contamination/cleaning” dimension.
Conclusion: The current results disentangle some of the clinical overlap between early onset OCD with and without tics.
Issler CK, Monkul ES, Amaral JAMS, Tamada RS, Shavitt RG, Miguel EC, Lafer B. Bipolar disorder and comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder is associated with higher rates of anxiety and impulse control disorders.
Although bipolar disorder (BD) with comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is highly prevalent, few controlled studies have assessed this comorbidity. The objective of this study was to investigate the clinical characteristics and expression of comorbid disorders in female BD patients with OCD.
We assessed clinically stable female outpatients with BD: 15 with comorbid OCD (BD+OCD group) and 15 without (BD/no-OCD group). All were submitted to the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, with additional modules for the diagnosis of kleptomania, trichotillomania, pathological gambling, onychophagia and skin picking.
The BD+OCD patients presented more chronic episodes, residual symptoms and previous depressive episodes than the BD/no-OCD patients. Of the BD+OCD patients, 86% had a history of treatment-emergent mania, compared with only 40% of the BD/no-OCD patients. The following were more prevalent in the BD+OCD patients than the BD/no-OCD patients: any anxiety disorder other than OCD; impulse control disorders; eating disorders; and tic disorders.
Female BD patients with OCD may represent a more severe form of disorder than those without OCD, having more depressive episodes and residual symptoms, and being at a higher risk for treatment-emergent mania, as well as presenting a greater anxiety and impulse control disorder burden.
Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is heterogeneous, with some forms related to Gilles de la Tourette's syndrome (GTS). This is a phenomenological study designed to investigate the nature of these possible OCD subtypes and the relationship between OCD and GTS.
We evaluated 20 adult outpatients with OCD, 21 with GTS, and 20 with OCD plus GTS using a semi-structured interview designed to assess cognitive, sensory and autonomic phenomena preceding repetitive behaviours.
More cognitions and autonomic anxiety and fewer sensory phenomena were reported in OCD than in GTS. Like the GTS group, the OCD plus GTS group reported more sensory phenomena and fewer cognitions than the OCD group.
The presence or absence of cognitions, sensory phenomena, and autonomic anxiety distinguishes repetitive behaviours in patients with OCD from those with OCD plus GTS, and GTS. These subjective experiences may be useful in subtyping OCD and may represent valid predictors of prognosis and treatment response.
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