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Alterations in heart rate (HR) may provide new information about physiological signatures of depression severity. This 2-year study in individuals with a history of recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) explored the intra-individual variations in HR parameters and their relationship with depression severity.
Data from 510 participants (Number of observations of the HR parameters = 6666) were collected from three centres in the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK, as a part of the remote assessment of disease and relapse-MDD study. We analysed the relationship between depression severity, assessed every 2 weeks with the Patient Health Questionnaire-8, with HR parameters in the week before the assessment, such as HR features during all day, resting periods during the day and at night, and activity periods during the day evaluated with a wrist-worn Fitbit device. Linear mixed models were used with random intercepts for participants and countries. Covariates included in the models were age, sex, BMI, smoking and alcohol consumption, antidepressant use and co-morbidities with other medical health conditions.
Decreases in HR variation during resting periods during the day were related with an increased severity of depression both in univariate and multivariate analyses. Mean HR during resting at night was higher in participants with more severe depressive symptoms.
Our findings demonstrate that alterations in resting HR during all day and night are associated with depression severity. These findings may provide an early warning of worsening depression symptoms which could allow clinicians to take responsive treatment measures promptly.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is prevalent, often chronic, and requires ongoing monitoring of symptoms to track response to treatment and identify early indicators of relapse. Remote Measurement Technologies (RMT) provide an exciting opportunity to transform the measurement and management of MDD, via data collected from inbuilt smartphone sensors and wearable devices alongside app-based questionnaires and tasks.
To describe the amount of data collected during a multimodal longitudinal RMT study, in an MDD population.
RADAR-MDD is a multi-centre, prospective observational cohort study. People with a history of MDD were provided with a wrist-worn wearable, and several apps designed to: a) collect data from smartphone sensors; and b) deliver questionnaires, speech tasks and cognitive assessments and followed-up for a maximum of 2 years.
A total of 623 individuals with a history of MDD were enrolled in the study with 80% completion rates for primary outcome assessments across all timepoints. 79.8% of people participated for the maximum amount of time available and 20.2% withdrew prematurely. Data availability across all RMT data types varied depending on the source of data and the participant-burden for each data type. We found no evidence of an association between the severity of depression symptoms at baseline and the availability of data. 110 participants had > 50% data available across all data types, and thus able to contribute to multiparametric analyses.
RADAR-MDD is the largest multimodal RMT study in the field of mental health. Here, we have shown that collecting RMT data from a clinical population is feasible.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is characterised by a recurrent course and high comorbidity rates. A lifespan perspective may therefore provide important information regarding health outcomes. The aim of the present study is to examine mental disorders that preceded 12-month MDD diagnosis and the impact of these disorders on depression outcomes.
Data came from 29 cross-sectional community epidemiological surveys of adults in 27 countries (n = 80 190). The Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was used to assess 12-month MDD and lifetime DSM-IV disorders with onset prior to the respondent's age at interview. Disorders were grouped into depressive distress disorders, non-depressive
distress disorders, fear disorders and externalising disorders. Depression outcomes included 12-month suicidality, days out of role and impairment in role functioning.
Among respondents with 12-month MDD, 94.9% (s.e. = 0.4) had at least one prior disorder (including previous MDD), and 64.6% (s.e. = 0.9) had at least one prior, non-MDD disorder. Previous non-depressive distress, fear and externalising disorders, but not depressive distress disorders, predicted higher impairment (OR = 1.4–1.6) and suicidality (OR = 1.5–2.5), after adjustment for sociodemographic variables. Further adjustment for MDD characteristics weakened, but did not eliminate, these associations. Associations were largely driven by current comorbidities, but both remitted and current externalising disorders predicted suicidality among respondents with 12-month MDD.
These results illustrate the importance of careful psychiatric history taking regarding current anxiety disorders and lifetime externalising disorders in individuals with MDD.
Poor transition planning contributes to discontinuity of care at the child–adult mental health service boundary (SB), adversely affecting mental health outcomes in young people (YP). The aim of the study was to determine whether managed transition (MT) improves mental health outcomes of YP reaching the child/adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) boundary compared with usual care (UC).
A two-arm cluster-randomised trial (ISRCTN83240263 and NCT03013595) with clusters allocated 1:2 between MT and UC. Recruitment took place in 40 CAMHS (eight European countries) between October 2015 and December 2016. Eligible participants were CAMHS service users who were receiving treatment or had a diagnosed mental disorder, had an IQ ⩾ 70 and were within 1 year of reaching the SB. MT was a multi-component intervention that included CAMHS training, systematic identification of YP approaching SB, a structured assessment (Transition Readiness and Appropriateness Measure) and sharing of information between CAMHS and adult mental health services. The primary outcome was HoNOSCA (Health of the Nation Outcome Scale for Children and Adolescents) score 15-months post-entry to the trial.
The mean difference in HoNOSCA scores between the MT and UC arms at 15 months was −1.11 points (95% confidence interval −2.07 to −0.14, p = 0.03). The cost of delivering the intervention was relatively modest (€17–€65 per service user).
MT led to improved mental health of YP after the SB but the magnitude of the effect was small. The intervention can be implemented at low cost and form part of planned and purposeful transitional care.
The most common treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) is antidepressant medication (ADM). Results are reported on frequency of ADM use, reasons for use, and perceived effectiveness of use in general population surveys across 20 countries.
Face-to-face interviews with community samples totaling n = 49 919 respondents in the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys asked about ADM use anytime in the prior 12 months in conjunction with validated fully structured diagnostic interviews. Treatment questions were administered independently of diagnoses and asked of all respondents.
3.1% of respondents reported ADM use within the past 12 months. In high-income countries (HICs), depression (49.2%) and anxiety (36.4%) were the most common reasons for use. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), depression (38.4%) and sleep problems (31.9%) were the most common reasons for use. Prevalence of use was 2–4 times as high in HICs as LMICs across all examined diagnoses. Newer ADMs were proportionally used more often in HICs than LMICs. Across all conditions, ADMs were reported as very effective by 58.8% of users and somewhat effective by an additional 28.3% of users, with both proportions higher in LMICs than HICs. Neither ADM class nor reason for use was a significant predictor of perceived effectiveness.
ADMs are in widespread use and for a variety of conditions including but going beyond depression and anxiety. In a general population sample from multiple LMICs and HICs, ADMs were widely perceived to be either very or somewhat effective by the people who use them.
Depressive and anxiety disorders are highly comorbid, which has been theorized to be due to an underlying internalizing vulnerability. We aimed to identify groups of participants with differing vulnerabilities by examining the course of internalizing psychopathology up to age 45.
We used data from 24158 participants (aged 45+) in 23 population-based cross-sectional World Mental Health Surveys. Internalizing disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). We applied latent class growth analysis (LCGA) and investigated the characteristics of identified classes using logistic or linear regression.
The best-fitting LCGA solution identified eight classes: a healthy class (81.9%), three childhood-onset classes with mild (3.7%), moderate (2.0%), or severe (1.1%) internalizing comorbidity, two puberty-onset classes with mild (4.0%) or moderate (1.4%) comorbidity, and two adult-onset classes with mild comorbidity (2.7% and 3.2%). The childhood-onset severe class had particularly unfavorable sociodemographic outcomes compared to the healthy class, with increased risks of being never or previously married (OR = 2.2 and 2.0, p < 0.001), not being employed (OR = 3.5, p < 0.001), and having a low/low-average income (OR = 2.2, p < 0.001). Moderate or severe (v. mild) comorbidity was associated with 12-month internalizing disorders (OR = 1.9 and 4.8, p < 0.001), disability (B = 1.1–2.3, p < 0.001), and suicidal ideation (OR = 4.2, p < 0.001 for severe comorbidity only). Adult (v. childhood) onset was associated with lower rates of 12-month internalizing disorders (OR = 0.2, p < 0.001).
We identified eight transdiagnostic trajectories of internalizing psychopathology. Unfavorable outcomes were concentrated in the 1% of participants with childhood onset and severe comorbidity. Early identification of this group may offer opportunities for preventive interventions.
Epidemiological studies indicate that individuals with one type of mental disorder have an increased risk of subsequently developing other types of mental disorders. This study aimed to undertake a comprehensive analysis of pair-wise lifetime comorbidity across a range of common mental disorders based on a diverse range of population-based surveys.
The WHO World Mental Health (WMH) surveys assessed 145 990 adult respondents from 27 countries. Based on retrospectively-reported age-of-onset for 24 DSM-IV mental disorders, associations were examined between all 548 logically possible temporally-ordered disorder pairs. Overall and time-dependent hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models. Absolute risks were estimated using the product-limit method. Estimates were generated separately for men and women.
Each prior lifetime mental disorder was associated with an increased risk of subsequent first onset of each other disorder. The median HR was 12.1 (mean = 14.4; range 5.2–110.8, interquartile range = 6.0–19.4). The HRs were most prominent between closely-related mental disorder types and in the first 1–2 years after the onset of the prior disorder. Although HRs declined with time since prior disorder, significantly elevated risk of subsequent comorbidity persisted for at least 15 years. Appreciable absolute risks of secondary disorders were found over time for many pairs.
Survey data from a range of sites confirms that comorbidity between mental disorders is common. Understanding the risks of temporally secondary disorders may help design practical programs for primary prevention of secondary disorders.
To examine the factors that are associated with changes in depression in people with type 2 diabetes living in 12 different countries.
People with type 2 diabetes treated in out-patient settings aged 18–65 years underwent a psychiatric assessment to diagnose major depressive disorder (MDD) at baseline and follow-up. At both time points, participants completed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the WHO five-item Well-being scale (WHO-5) and the Problem Areas in Diabetes (PAID) scale which measures diabetes-related distress. A composite stress score (CSS) (the occurrence of stressful life events and their reported degree of ‘upset’) between baseline and follow-up was calculated. Demographic data and medical record information were collected. Separate regression analyses were conducted with MDD and PHQ-9 scores as the dependent variables.
In total, there were 7.4% (120) incident cases of MDD with 81.5% (1317) continuing to remain free of a diagnosis of MDD. Univariate analyses demonstrated that those with MDD were more likely to be female, less likely to be physically active, more likely to have diabetes complications at baseline and have higher CSS. Mean scores for the WHO-5, PAID and PHQ-9 were poorer in those with incident MDD compared with those who had never had a diagnosis of MDD. Regression analyses demonstrated that higher PHQ-9, lower WHO-5 scores and greater CSS were significant predictors of incident MDD. Significant predictors of PHQ-9 were baseline PHQ-9 score, WHO-5, PAID and CSS.
This study demonstrates the importance of psychosocial factors in addition to physiological variables in the development of depressive symptoms and incident MDD in people with type 2 diabetes. Stressful life events, depressive symptoms and diabetes-related distress all play a significant role which has implications for practice. A more holistic approach to care, which recognises the interplay of these psychosocial factors, may help to mitigate their impact on diabetes self-management as well as MDD, thus early screening and treatment for symptoms is recommended.
To assess admission rates to seven General Hospital Psychiatric Wards (GHPWs) located in the Lombardy Region in the 40 days after the start of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, compared to similar periods of 2020 and 2019.
Anonymized data from the regional psychiatric care register have been obtained and analyzed. The seven GHPWs care for approximately 1.4 million inhabitants and have a total of 119 beds.
In the 40-day period (February 21–March 31, 2020) after the start of the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy, compared to a similar 40-day period prior to February 21, and compared to two 40-day periods of 2019, there has been a marked reduction in psychiatric admission rates. The reduction was explained by voluntary admissions, while there was not a noticeable reduction for involuntary admissions. The reduction was visible for all diagnostic groups, except for a group of ‘Other’ diagnoses, which includes anxiety disorders, neurocognitive disorders, etc.
Large-scale pandemics can modify voluntary admission rates to psychiatric facilities in the early phases following pandemic onset. We suggest that the reduction in admission rates may be due to fear of hospitals, seen as possible sites of contagion, as well as to a change in thresholds of behavioral problems acting as a trigger for admission requests from family relatives or referrals from treating clinicians. It is unclear from the study whether the reduction in admissions was contributed to most by the current pandemic or the lockdown imposed due to the pandemic.
There is a substantial proportion of patients who drop out of treatment before they receive minimally adequate care. They tend to have worse health outcomes than those who complete treatment. Our main goal is to describe the frequency and determinants of dropout from treatment for mental disorders in low-, middle-, and high-income countries.
Respondents from 13 low- or middle-income countries (N = 60 224) and 15 in high-income countries (N = 77 303) were screened for mental and substance use disorders. Cross-tabulations were used to examine the distribution of treatment and dropout rates for those who screened positive. The timing of dropout was examined using Kaplan–Meier curves. Predictors of dropout were examined with survival analysis using a logistic link function.
Dropout rates are high, both in high-income (30%) and low/middle-income (45%) countries. Dropout mostly occurs during the first two visits. It is higher in general medical rather than in specialist settings (nearly 60% v. 20% in lower income settings). It is also higher for mild and moderate than for severe presentations. The lack of financial protection for mental health services is associated with overall increased dropout from care.
Extending financial protection and coverage for mental disorders may reduce dropout. Efficiency can be improved by managing the milder clinical presentations at the entry point to the mental health system, providing adequate training, support and specialist supervision for non-specialists, and streamlining referral to psychiatrists for more severe cases.
The present study, conducted in collaboration between the Departments of Psychiatry in Swiss Universities and the World Health Organization, had two main goals: to develop assessment methods which could subsequently be used in the Swiss centres in a standard manner; and to make arrangements for continuing collaboration between the centres in Switzerland and the acquisition of new knowledge about the distinctions between depression and cognitive impairment. For this aim, three different groups of elderly patients of either sex were selected during the period of November 1989 to July 1991 for inclusion in the study. The first two groups included the first ten patients of either sex over 60 years of age consecutively contacting the participating institutions and showing depression with or without clinically significant symptoms of cognitive impairment; the control group included patients showing no depression or clinically significant symptoms of cognitive impairment. A total of 125 patients were included in the initial evaluation, 69 of which were reassessed at a seven-month follow up (on average). Each patient was administered a number of clinician-rated or self-report instruments for the assessment of depression, cognitive impairment, disabilities, physical status and onset of disorders. The study has shown that a variety of instruments can be used for the reliable assessment of depression or cognitive impairment in the elderly; but the instruments for the assessment of depression differentiate only poorly between patients with or without cognitive impairment. Because of the importance of identifying both depressed and cognitively impaired patients among the elderly, different assessment instruments targeted at the different symptom clusters need to be administered simultaneously.
To analyze factors associated with a patient's probability of being a Heavy User (HU) of inpatient psychiatric services and to compare the HU inpatient population with Non-Heavy Users (NHUs).
Patients and methods
The survey was conducted among inpatients enrolled in the PROGRES-Acute-project, an Italian nationwide survey of public and private inpatient facilities. Patients with three or more admissions over the last 12 months were considered HUs, and patients who had undergone one or two admissions during the same period made up the NHU group.
Four hundred and thirty-five (40.5%) were HUs, and 640 (59.5%) NHUs. HUs were younger, more frequently unmarried, unemployed, receiving a disability-pension, and either homeless or living in a residential facility. HUs were more likely to have experienced conflicts with their partners or family members during the week prior to admission. A logistic regression analysis revealed that age, age at first admission, number of life-time admissions, and having been the victim of violence were the most important predictive factors for the HU phenomenon.
Our study suggests that specific attention should be given to patients’ family context, due to its crucial role in daily informal care and in the triggering of events leading to rehospitalization.
The opinions of relatives of patients with schizophrenia about the causes, treatments, and psychosocial consequences of this disorder can influence its course and outcome.
In 2003, the Italian Psychiatric Association has promoted a study on family psychoeducational interventions to explore the effectiveness of this intervention on relatives' opinions and beliefs about mental illness.
In each of the 10 Italian mental health services selected for the study, 30 patients with schizophrenia and 30 relatives were randomly recruited to receive the experimental intervention or the standard care.
The experimental intervention consisted of 12 manual-based informative sessions on the main aspects of schizophrenia. Each relative was asked to fill in the self-reported Relatives' Questionnaire on the Opinions About Mental Illness.
The treated sample included 107 patients and 112 relatives, the control group consisted of 105 patients and 118 relatives. Stress, traumas, heredity and family difficulties were most frequently mentioned as determinants of the disorder in both groups. Relatives' opinions about patients' civil rights and social competence improved at the end of the intervention. In particular, the right to get married, to have children and to vote increased at the end of the intervention. Moreover, the opinions that patients with schizophrenia are unpredictable and that are kept aloof from others decreased at the end of the intervention.
The results of our study confirm that relatives of patients with schizophrenia should be provided with psychoeducational interventions, particularly in Italy where patients most rely on their relatives, who are in close contact with mental health professionals
Pragmatic abilities play a crucial role in daily functioning and have been suggested to be impaired in schizophrenia. Nevertheless, patterns of such deficits at the onset of the illness still needs to be elucidated.
To outline pragmatic abilities in the first episode of psychosis (FEP).
To evaluate pragmatic verbal performance and its relationship with pre-frontal abilities in FEP subjects recruited in a large randomized multi-center controlled study (GET UP).
58 FEP (mean age±SD:34±9 years; 46% males) and 58 1:1 matched healthy controls (HC) were assessed on the metaphor and idiom comprehension subtask of the MEC Protocol and with WCST. A PAF Analysis with Promax rotation of open (=spontaneous explanations) and closed (=multiple choice) metaphors/idioms and WCST variables was conducted.
A 3-factor latent structure emerged in both groups but partially different patterns emerged. As for FEP, open metaphor/idiom explanations loaded into Factor 1 (Self-generated inferences); Factor 2 (Feedback-generated inferences) was loaded by WCST perseverative errors and by closed metaphor explanations. Finally, closed metaphors/idioms loaded into Factor 3 (Inhibition). As for HC, Factor 1 was similarly loaded but explained less variance; Factor 2 was qualitatively different (Reasoning, self+feedback-generated inferences), being loaded by the WCST number of categories and by open metaphors/idioms. Factor 3 was loaded by closed metaphors.
Findings suggest a shared underlying cognitive construct in self-generating perceptual inferences both for verbal pragmatics and pre-frontal skills in HC and patients, while a failure to integrate different sources of perceptual evidence is found only in FEP.
In Italy, the only prevalence study carried out with rigorous methodology in a sample of children and adolescents found that about 8% met criteria for any mental disorders. However, there is no systematic information available about the sociodemographic, clinical and treatment-related characteristics of young patients in contact with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
To assess the characteristics of children and adolescents in contact with CAMHS and to analyse the pathways through which they referred to services.
All public outpatient CAMHS operating in a Region of 633,725 inhabitants aged 6–17 years participated to the study. A total of 710 consecutive patients were enrolled and were evaluated with a detailed Sociodemografic Form, and standardized assessment instruments, including the CBCL, the HoNOSCA, the C-GAS, the CGI.
The mean age of the users was 10(± 3) years, about 60% was male, and they were comparable to general population in terms of nationality, living situation and socioeconomic status. A large proportion (76%) of patients were diagnosed within the broad groups of emotional and specific developmental disorders. Most parents had been referred by general practitioners (48,2%), and/or by school teacher (31,9%); About 60% had never received any treatment before the first contact with CAMHS.
Overall, patients do not come from families with disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds; adolescent with behavioural disorders seems to require more intensive levels of care. the recognition of the patient's problems by parents and general practitioners play a central role in the referral pathway to CAMHS.
Recent reviews of evidence-based guidelines for the clinical management of Bipolar Disorders (BD) have recommended that “all patients with BD should be offered group or individual psychoeducation” to prevent relapse, improve treatment adherence, quality of life and functioning.
The present study aimed at evaluating the psychoeducation in routine mental health.
One hundred and two outpatients were recruited from two Italian DMHs. Inclusion criteria were a lifetime diagnosis of BD type I or II assessed by SCID-I, being euthymic for at least 3 months. Exclusion criteria were a DSM-IV Axis I comorbidity, mental retardation (IQ < 70), organic brain damage. All subjects received standard psychiatric care, with standard pharmacological treatment; one group received additional 21 weekly sessions of psychoeducation group, according to Colom and Vieta model.
Data show that the number of patients hospitalized during the 1-year follow-up, the mean number of hospitalizations per patient and the mean number of days in hospital were significantly lower for psychoeducated patients.
Our study supports the view that group psychoeducation is an efficacious intervention to prevent patients’ hospitalization and decrease hospital days in pharmacologically treated patients with bipolar disorder, also in routine clinical settings. The results seem to confirm that the psychoeducation promotes an improvement in the course of illness, avoiding acute phases, and producing a greater stabilization of the disease and consequently an improvement in quality of life in people with BD.
Persons with severe mental disorders and a history of violent offending are usually seen as a difficult-tomanage population: most have schizophrenia or severe affective disorders, while some suffer from severe personality disorders.
To investigate the sociodemographic, clinical, and treatment-related characteristics of a sample of patients living in RFs with a history of antisocial behaviour (‘violent’ group); to compare the characteristics of the ‘violent’ group with residents never violent; and to compare the rate of violent behaviour in the two groups over two years and to assess the likelihood of discharge in the two groups.
This is prospective observational cohort study involved 23 RFs of the St John of God Order in Northern Italy. The sample was divided into two groups: non-violent patients and ‘violent’ patients. The last included patients at last one time admitted in FMH or arrested for violent crimes or acted violent behaviors against people.
For each inpatient was filled out a “Patient Schedule”: socio-demographic and clinical data were collected, including a specific session to assess aggressive behavior lifetime and in the last year.
The study involved 403 patients: 89 ‘violents’ and 314 non-violent. ‘Violent’ group was mainly male, younger, with a prevalence of personality disorders. Coherently, in the group of ‘violent’ there were more people lifetime arrested and admitted to a FMH.
There are some differences in the monitoring of violent behavior in the two years of assessment. We observed more threatening, slap, punch, inappropriate sexual harassment, etc. in the ‘violents’ group.
A large body of research has shown that Oxytocin (OXT) is an important prosocial peptide and there is also initial evidence that the central OXT system is altered in several mental disorders that are characterized by severe social disturbances and deficits, such as anxiety disorders disorders with prominent social dysfunction (e.g., schizophrenia) mood disorders and borderline personality disorder. In particular, Feifel et al. (2010) and Pedersen et al (2011) recently conducted two randomized, placebo-controlled study of intranasal oxytocin in schizophrenia patients to test the hypothesis that oxytocin can reduce symptoms of this disorder. Their results support the hypothesis that oxytocin may reduce psychotic symptoms and may diminish certain social cognition deficits that are not improved by current antipsychotic medications.
to review the main studies conducted on oxytocin and its relation with mental disorders.
We will present a systematic review on the studies conducted on oxytocin and mental disorder, both in non-clinical and in clinical samples. In order to overcome some of the limitations of the previous studies, we will present a study which is going to be run, aimed at testing whether the intranasal administration of the neuropeptide oxytocin as adjunct to antipsychotic treatment improves positive and negative symptoms its effect on social cognition, social functioning and empathy in patients with schizophrenia.