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The Repugnant Conclusion is an implication of some approaches to population ethics. It states, in Derek Parfit's original formulation,
For any possible population of at least ten billion people, all with a very high quality of life, there must be some much larger imaginable population whose existence, if other things are equal, would be better, even though its members have lives that are barely worth living. (Parfit 1984: 388)
Long-term lithium-treatment has been associated with deficits in several cognitive domains in euthymic bipolar patients. At the same time, long-term lithium treatment is also associated with an increase in parathyroid levels, often without a concomitant increase in calcium levels. Such an isolated increase in parathyroid levels has been linked to depressive symptoms and cognitive deficits in otherwise healthy individuals.
To investigate whether increased parathyroid levels are associated with cognitive deficits in euthymic bipolar patients.
We plan to recruit 30 euthymic bipolar patients on lithium treatment for this study. Patients will take part in several neuropsychological tests, covering executive functioning, memory and attention. In parallel, blood levels of lithium, parathyroid hormone, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, creatinine, calcium and phosphate will be assessed, besides clinical chemistry and blood cell count. In addition, to account for potential confounders, a variety of clinical variables will be recorded, including established mood rating scales and demographic variables as well as further parameters relevant to the course of the illness.
As the study is still ongoing results are not available yet at this moment.
Results will be discussed in the context of previous studies examining the impact of lithium and parathyroid hormone on mood and cognition in healthy individuals and patients with bipolar disorder, respectively. Dependent on the outcome of this study, potential future studies, including intervention trials aiming at lowering increased PTH levels in bipolar patients on lithium will be outlined.
With respect to mental health disorders, there are cultural and migration-related differences in the personal experience and the way of dealing with them. However, the association between migration experiences and the development and the continuation of mental health disorders respectively, remain unclear. Epidemiological studies on mental health disorders of migrants rarely exist, even though such information is decisive for the appropriate medical care of this target group. We therefore conducted a cross-sectional survey regarding mental health of immigrants in Germany attending in non-health specific counseling agencies of welfare associations. Besides somatization symptoms (Beschwerdeliste (BL)) and symptoms of mental disorders (depression: patients’ health questionnaire (PHQ-D); anxiety: GAD-7; hazardous alcohol consumption: AUDIT), data on the social and occupational situation, as well as on the migration background was acquired. Data of n= 506 immigrants (55.5% female) were analyzed (age: 54.7 ± 12.4). The immigrants stems from the states of the former Soviet Union (n= 196), Turkey (n= 77), Italy (n= 95) and Spain (n= 67). Overall, 27.1% show evidence for a somatization disorder, 15.8% for a depressive disorder and 23.1% for increased anxiety (GAD-7 ≥ 5). 16.0% of the respondents show evidence of hazardous alcohol consumption. The study provides empirically profound information about the mental health of immigrants, who attend non-health specific counseling agencies. The analysis, subject to the migration status and socio-demographic factors, allows the development of measures of the enhancement of health care for this group regarding mental health.
Decreased levels of polyunsaturated membrane fatty acids (PUFA) and increased activity of cytosolic phospholipase A2 (PLA2) enzymes (key regulating enzymes of membrane remodelling and PUFA availability) are supporting pillars of the “membrane phospholipids concept of schizophrenia”. Assuming that membrane PUFA profile and PLA2 activity are altered during the at risk phase of disorder and influenced by fatty acid supplementation, we investigated PUFA profiles and PLA2 activity simultaneously in ultra high-risk (UHR) subjects before and after (n-3) fatty acids supplementation.
In 81 UHR patients (aged between 13 and 25 years) PUFA levels were assessed in erythrocyte membranes using gas chromatography, and cytosolic PLA2 activity was measured in blood serum using a fluorometric HPTLC-based assay. Measurements were performed before and after a 6 month interval of placebo-controlled supplementation with n-3 fatty acids.
At baseline significant associations were found between (n-9) and (n-6)-PUFA levels and psychopathology (especially in negative symptoms) assessed by the PANSS according to PACE criteria. (n-3)-PUFA supplementation caused significant changes in (n-3)- and (n-6)-PUFA levels and a significant decrease of PLA2 activity.
Our results support associations between membrane biochemistry and psychopathology (especially negative symptoms) in people at risk to develop psychosis. Supplementation of n-3 PUFA increases PUFA availability at membrane level and modulates membrane repair and remodelling processes. Assuming that PLA2 activity reflects neuronal damage, PUFA supplementation might unfold neuroprotective effects.
The aim of this study was to examine the long-term efficacy and safety of a monotherapy with quetiapine or sodium valproate (VPA) in patients with rapid cycling bipolar disorder.
This open-label trial was conducted at three German centers. A sample of 38 remitted or partly remitted bipolar patients with rapid cycling (quetiapine n = 22; VPA n = 16) were treated with quetiapine or VPA (flexible-dose design) up to 12 months. Analyses were based on the ITT-LOCF principle.
41 % of the patients with quetiapine and 50 % with VPA completed the trial. According to the Clinical Global Impression Scale responder rates tended to be higher for quetiapine than for VPA: i.e. 43 % vs. 25 % (depression), 48 % vs. 36 % (mania), and 43 % vs. 19 % (improvement in both mania and depression). There were no differences found between the treatment groups evaluating the HRSD, MADRS and YMRS. In contrast, Life Chart Method data showed that patients being treated with quetiapine had significantly less depressive days than patients on VPA whilst they did not differ in the number of days with manic symptoms. The incidence of adverse events, especially of orthostatic dysregulation and sedation was higher in the quetiapine group.
Quetiapine may be more effective than VPA regarding depressive symptoms and as effective as VPA in the treatment of manic symptoms in the long-term treatment of rapid cycling bipolar disorder. The side effect profile of quetiapine tends to be less favorable than the one of VPA.
Although there are instruments for the assessment of DSM-IV mental disorders in primary care, there is no brief instrument to assess mental disorders in primary care according to the ICD-10.
The aim of the study was to assess the reliability of a new diagnostic interview, the TRIPS, designed for the assessment of anxiety-, mood-, and alcohol related disorders according to ICD-10 by non-mental health professionals.
At first, all Patients completed a screening questionnaire and were subsequently assessed by the staff of somatic departments of a Vienna General Hospital with the TRIPS. Within a week, patients were re-assessed by psychiatrists of the department of psychiatry with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
Finally, 290 patients could be assessed with both instruments. With the CIDI, 106 out of 290 patients (37%) got any diagnosis of a mental disorder, 74 (26%) had a mood disorder, 64 (22%) an anxiety disorder and 10 patients (3%) an alcohol-related disorder.
Sensitivity of the TRIPS was 88%, specificity was 76% and diagnostic accuracy was 80% for any disorder, and 88%, 83%, and 84% respectively for any mood disorder, 72%, 88%, and 84% for any anxiety disorder, and 60%, 98%, and 97% for alcohol related disorders.
The results show that the TRIPS is a useful instrument with sufficient reliability to detect anxiety disorders and mood disorders in patients with somatic disorders by health professionals without psychiatric training. Due to the low base rate the test criteria for alcohol-related disorders cannot be interpreted sufficiently.
Symptoms of physical pain can indicate a current depressive episode. The study aimed to assess pain symptoms among physically ill general hospital patients and to explore if pain symptoms are more prevalent among physically ill patients with a depressive episode than among those without a depressive episode.
Pain symptoms were assessed by a modified version of the Patient Questionnaire (Spitzer et al1). Diagnosis of a current depressive episode was made by psychiatrists with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI; ICD-10 version2).
Of the 290 patients included in the study 247 (85.2%) indicated at least one pain symptom. About a fifth of the patients suffered from a current depressive episode. Physically ill patients with depression suffered significantly more often from pain and reported significantly more often three or more symptoms of pain than those without depression.
Headaches, stomach pain and chest pain were significant independent predictor variables for depression in a multiple logistic regression analysis controlled for age, gender and primary somatic diagnosis.
Patients in general hospital who suffer from pain symptoms should be checked physically and psychologically in order to detect a comorbid depressive episode.
1Spitzer RL, Williams JB, Kroenke K, Linzer M, deGruy FV 3rd, Hahn SR, Brody D, Johnson JG. Utility of a new procedure for diagnosing mental disorders in primary care. The PRIME-MD 1000 study. JAMA 1994;272:1749-56.
2Wittchen, H.U., Pfister, H., 1997. DIA-X-Interviews. Manual für Screening-Verfahren und Interview; PC-Programm zur Durchführung des Interviews (Längs- und Querschnittuntersuchung); Auswertungsprogramm. Frankfurt, Swets & Zeitlinger.
Computer based trainings (CBTs) are established in the rehabilitation of mentally ill people to recover cognitive skills (Medalia et al., 2009). The Critique to some CBTs are lack of preparation for real life scenario, no use of tasks that simultaneously engage multiple cognitive processes and lack of enhancing motivation (Medalia & Choi, 2009). This may be summarized as a lack of biotic design in CBTs.
In depressive disorders besides other symptoms a lack of energy/motivation, forgetfulness and difficulty in concentrating are observable. The goal of this pilot study was to develop a new “biotic” designed CBT (Mebitrain) and evaluate its effect on global working memory (GWM) and motivation with data from patients suffering from depression.
To test whether Mebitrain enhances GWM (measured before and after a ten day training period with the LGT from Bäumler) and motivation (measured before and after training with custom rating scales and during the training with time and performance) five depressive (ICD diagnoses F31.0, F33.2, F32.3) patients were tested.
Differences between pre- (mean 33.6 ± 10.35) and post- (mean 38 ± 6) LGT values show a marginal significant trend (p = 0.1) with moderate effect size (d = .54).
The time finishing the training decreased per training session significantly with an increasing in performance (r = −.788, p < .005).
First results indicate that the development of a biotic designed training and its application may increase global cognitive functions and motivation in depressive patients. Limitations (e.g. sample size, transfer, etc.) of this pilot study are discussed.
We report the case of a 68-year-old depressive patient who developed severe thrombocytopenia during hospitalization. EDTA-associated thrombocytopenia and psychodrug-induced thrombocytopenia are illustrated as potential causes of low platelet counts, particularly in regard to psychiatric patients.
To detect eating disorders and risky eating behaviour in early stages, screening tests are used. In order to examine as many adolescents as possible, these tests should be economic, i. e. as short as possible but at the same time they should fulfil the psychometric quality criteria. We compared the German version of the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26D) and the German version of the SCOFF test (which contains only five Yes-no questions) in a sample of 425 twelve year old girls and 382 boys from Thuringia, Germany. Although the EAT-26D reached higher psychometric properties, the SCOFF has been proved as a useful screening tool with a test-retest reliability of rtt = .73 and a maximum accuracy of 82% (area under the ROC curve). In reference to the EAT-26D (20 point cut-off) the sensitivity of the SCOFF was 78%, specificity 75%, positive predictive value 28%, and the negative predictive value, which is more relevant for screenings, was 96%. The construct validity reached r = .52.
The study aimed at assessing stunting, wasting and breast-feeding as correlates of body composition in Cambodian children. As part of a nutrition trial (ISRCTN19918531), fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) were measured using 2H dilution at 6 and 15 months of age. Of 419 infants enrolled, 98 % were breastfed, 15 % stunted and 4 % wasted at 6 months. At 15 months, 78 % were breastfed, 24 % stunted and 11 % wasted. Those not breastfed had lower FMI at 6 months but not at 15 months. Stunted children had lower FM at 6 months and lower FFM at 6 and 15 months compared with children with length-for-age z ≥0. Stunting was not associated with height-adjusted indexes fat mass index (FMI) or fat-free mass index (FFMI). Wasted children had lower FM, FFM, FMI and FFMI at 6 and 15 months compared with children with weight-for-length z (WLZ) ≥0. Generally, FFM and FFMI deficits increased with age, whereas FM and FMI deficits decreased, reflecting interactions between age and WLZ. For example, the FFM deficits were –0·99 (95 % CI –1·26, –0·72) kg at 6 months and –1·44 (95 % CI –1·69; –1·19) kg at 15 months (interaction, P<0·05), while the FMI deficits were –2·12 (95 % CI –2·53, –1·72) kg/m2 at 6 months and –1·32 (95 % CI –1·77, –0·87) kg/m2 at 15 months (interaction, P<0·05). This indicates that undernourished children preserve body fat at the detriment of fat-free tissue, which may have long-term consequences for health and working capacity.
In daily clinical practice, the smooth, timely and comprehensive transfer of information between care settings is important and reflects a cornerstone of high-quality patient care. The integration of nutritional information in the medical information transfer is currently not included in an evidence-based approach. It was, therefore, the aim of this study to develop a nutritional documentation tool (NDoc) on the basis of evidence and test it for its usability in daily clinical practice. Based on the results of a literature review, the authors collected core content using a modified Delphi survey from experts across Europe and included the information collected in a structured, NDoc. The subsequently developed tool included thirty items and was tested for its usability on a daily basis among primary care physicians and clinical physicians. The new NDoc can be introduced for use in any computer-based hospital information system regionally and adapted for worldwide use.
Little is known about potential harmful effects as a consequence of self-guided internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy (iCBT), such as symptom deterioration rates. Thus, safety concerns remain and hamper the implementation of self-guided iCBT into clinical practice. We aimed to conduct an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis to determine the prevalence of clinically significant deterioration (symptom worsening) in adults with depressive symptoms who received self-guided iCBT compared with control conditions. Several socio-demographic, clinical and study-level variables were tested as potential moderators of deterioration.
Randomised controlled trials that reported results of self-guided iCBT compared with control conditions in adults with symptoms of depression were selected. Mixed effects models with participants nested within studies were used to examine possible clinically significant deterioration rates.
Thirteen out of 16 eligible trials were included in the present IPD meta-analysis. Of the 3805 participants analysed, 7.2% showed clinically significant deterioration (5.8% and 9.1% of participants in the intervention and control groups, respectively). Participants in self-guided iCBT were less likely to deteriorate (OR 0.62, p < 0.001) compared with control conditions. None of the examined participant- and study-level moderators were significantly associated with deterioration rates.
Self-guided iCBT has a lower rate of negative outcomes on symptoms than control conditions and could be a first step treatment approach for adult depression as well as an alternative to watchful waiting in general practice.
Chronic paediatric heart disease is often associated with residual symptoms, persisting functional restrictions, and late sequelae for psychosocial development. It is, therefore, increasingly important to evaluate the health-related quality of life of children and adolescents with chronic heart disease. The aim of this study was to determine medical and socio-demographic variables affecting health-related quality of life in school-aged children and adolescents with chronic heart disease.
Patients and methods
The Pediatric Cardiac Quality of Life Inventory was administered to 375 children and adolescents and 386 parental caregivers. Medical information was obtained from the charts. The socio-demographic information was provided by the patients and caregivers.
Greater disease severity, low school attendance, current cardiac medication, current parental employment, uncertain or limited prognosis, history of connection to a heart–lung machine, number of nights spent in a hospital, and need for treatment in a paediatric aftercare clinic independently contributed to lower health-related quality of life (self-report: R2=0.41; proxy-report: R2=0.46). High correlations between self-reports and parent-proxy reports indicated concordance regarding the evaluation of a child’s health-related quality of life.
Beyond medical treatment, integration into school is important to increase health-related quality of life in children and adolescents surviving with chronic heart disease. Regular screening of health-related quality of life is recommended to identify patients with special needs.
Almost nothing is known about the potential negative effects of Internet-based psychological treatments for depression. This study aims at investigating deterioration and its moderators within randomized trials on Internet-based guided self-help for adult depression, using an individual patient data meta-analyses (IPDMA) approach.
Studies were identified through systematic searches (PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Cochrane Library). Deterioration in participants was defined as a significant symptom increase according to the reliable change index (i.e. 7.68 points in the CES-D; 7.63 points in the BDI). Two-step IPDMA procedures, with a random-effects model were used to pool data.
A total of 18 studies (21 comparisons, 2079 participants) contributed data to the analysis. The risk for a reliable deterioration from baseline to post-treatment was significantly lower in the intervention v. control conditions (3.36 v. 7.60; relative risk 0.47, 95% confidence interval 0.29–0.75). Education moderated effects on deterioration, with patients with low education displaying a higher risk for deterioration than patients with higher education. Deterioration rates for patients with low education did not differ statistically significantly between intervention and control groups. The benefit–risk ratio for patients with low education indicated that 9.38 patients achieve a treatment response for each patient experiencing a symptom deterioration.
Internet-based guided self-help is associated with a mean reduced risk for a symptom deterioration compared to controls. Treatment and symptom progress of patients with low education should be closely monitored, as some patients might face an increased risk for symptom deterioration. Future studies should examine predictors of deterioration in patients with low education.