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The 1970s saw the rise of shaken baby syndrome diagnoses. In many countries this has led to children placed in custody and parents prosecuted. Child protection services were rapidly established in Anglo-American countries from the 1970s. Often professionals were mandated to report to government authorities on suspicion of child maltreatment, with the definition expanded to include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and neglect. In the desire to keep children safe, child abuse paediatricians may be reluctant to accept possible non-abuse causes for medical findings. Instead of adversarial child protection systems focused on removal of children to keep them safe from dangerous parents, Nordic and some Continental European countries have a family-support orientation. This views abuse as a problem of family conflict or dysfunction arising from social and psychological difficulties, which will respond to support and help. Out-of-home care is last resort. The way that child abuse is framed influences outcomes for children and their families to a much greater extent than whether or not there is mandatory reporting.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare worldwide. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where people may have limited access to affordable quality care, the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to have a particularly adverse impact on the health and healthcare of individuals with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). A World Health Organization survey found that disruption of delivery of healthcare for NCDs was more significant in LMICs than in high-income countries. However, the study did not elicit insights into the day-to-day impacts of COVID-19 on healthcare by front-line healthcare workers (FLHCWs).
To gain insights directly from FLHCWs working in countries with a high NCD burden, and thereby identify opportunities to improve the provision of healthcare during the current pandemic and in future healthcare emergencies.
We recruited selected frontline healthcare workers (general practitioners, pharmacists, and other medical specialists) from nine countries to complete an online survey (n = 1347). Survey questions focused on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on clinical practice and NCDs; barriers to clinical care during the pandemic; and innovative responses to the many challenges presented by the pandemic.
The majority of FLHCWs responding to our survey reported that their care of patients had been impacted both adversely and positively by the public health measures imposed. Most FLHCs (95%) reported a deterioration in the mental health of their patients.
Continuity of care for NCDs as part of pandemic preparedness is needed so that chronic conditions are not exacerbated by public health measures and the direct impacts of the pandemic.
Primary health care (PHC) includes both primary care (PC) and essential public health (PH) functions. While much is written about the need to coordinate these two aspects, successful integration remains elusive in many countries. Furthermore, the current global pandemic has highlighted many gaps in a well-integrated PHC approach. Four key actions have been recognized as important for effective integration.
A survey of PC stakeholders (clinicians, researchers, and policy-makers) from 111 countries revealed many of the challenges encountered when facing the pandemic without a coordinated effort between PC and PH functions. Participants’ responses to open-ended questions underscored how each of the key actions could have been strengthened in their country and are potential factors to why a strong PC system may not have contributed to reduced mortality.
By integrating PC and PH greater capacity to respond to emergencies may be possible if the synergies gained by harmonizing the two are realized.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
Different diagnostic interviews are used as reference standards for major depression classification in research. Semi-structured interviews involve clinical judgement, whereas fully structured interviews are completely scripted. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a brief fully structured interview, is also sometimes used. It is not known whether interview method is associated with probability of major depression classification.
To evaluate the association between interview method and odds of major depression classification, controlling for depressive symptom scores and participant characteristics.
Data collected for an individual participant data meta-analysis of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) diagnostic accuracy were analysed and binomial generalised linear mixed models were fit.
A total of 17 158 participants (2287 with major depression) from 57 primary studies were analysed. Among fully structured interviews, odds of major depression were higher for the MINI compared with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.15–3.87). Compared with semi-structured interviews, fully structured interviews (MINI excluded) were non-significantly more likely to classify participants with low-level depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≤6) as having major depression (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 0.98–10.00), similarly likely for moderate-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores 7–15) (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.56–1.66) and significantly less likely for high-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥16) (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26–0.97).
The MINI may identify more people as depressed than the CIDI, and semi-structured and fully structured interviews may not be interchangeable methods, but these results should be replicated.
Declaration of interest
Drs Jetté and Patten declare that they received a grant, outside the submitted work, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, which was jointly funded by the Institute and Pfizer. Pfizer was the original sponsor of the development of the PHQ-9, which is now in the public domain. Dr Chan is a steering committee member or consultant of Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer. She has received sponsorships and honorarium for giving lectures and providing consultancy and her affiliated institution has received research grants from these companies. Dr Hegerl declares that within the past 3 years, he was an advisory board member for Lundbeck, Servier and Otsuka Pharma; a consultant for Bayer Pharma; and a speaker for Medice Arzneimittel, Novartis, and Roche Pharma, all outside the submitted work. Dr Inagaki declares that he has received grants from Novartis Pharma, lecture fees from Pfizer, Mochida, Shionogi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo, Meiji Seika and Takeda, and royalties from Nippon Hyoron Sha, Nanzando, Seiwa Shoten, Igaku-shoin and Technomics, all outside of the submitted work. Dr Yamada reports personal fees from Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., MSD K.K., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, Seishin Shobo, Seiwa Shoten Co., Ltd., Igaku-shoin Ltd., Chugai Igakusha and Sentan Igakusha, all outside the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests. No funder had any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
While we now have a strong evidence base for cognitive behaviour therapy in managing mental health problems, the challenge is to disseminate it into real-world settings. Two dissemination approaches exist: the dominant ‘research to practice’ model, a linear sequence, taking interventions from the research laboratory and overcoming barriers so as to apply them in the real world and a more collaborative approach, in which researchers work together with clinicians and patients to adapt existing treatments for real-world settings. This article provides a detailed example of a collaborative approach to adapting cognitive behaviour therapy, by developing a very brief mental health intervention for patients in a primary-care (family doctor) setting.
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