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While adult outcome in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is generally measured using socially valued roles, it could also be understood in terms of aspects related to health status – an approach that could inform on potential gender differences.
We investigated gender differences in two aspects of outcome related to health-status, i.e. general functioning and self-perceived health status, and co-occurring health conditions in a large multi-center sample of autistic adults. Three hundred and eighty-three participants were consecutively recruited from the FondaMental Advanced Centers of Expertise for ASD cohort (a French network of seven expert centers) between 2013 and 2020. Evaluation included a medical interview, standardized scales for autism diagnosis, clinical and functional outcomes, self-perceived health status and verbal ability. Psychosocial function was measured using the Global Assessment of Functioning scale.
While autistic women in this study were more likely than men to have socially valued roles, female gender was associated with poorer physical and mental health (e.g. a 7-fold risk for having three or more co-occurring physical health conditions) and a poorer self-perceived health status. Psychosocial function was negatively associated with depression and impairment in social communication. Half of the sample had multiple co-occurring health conditions but more than 70% reported that their visit at the Expert Center was their first contact with mental health services.
To improve objective and subjective aspects of health outcome, gender differences and a wide range of co-occurring health conditions should be taken into account when designing healthcare provision for autistic adults.
Tobacco use is common in subjects with schizophrenia (SZ) and has sometimes been associated with better functioning in short-term studies. Only few studies embrace an extensive examination of tobacco influence on clinical, cognitive and therapeutic characteristics in stabilized SZ outpatients. The objective of the present study was to assess the association between cognitive performances and smoking status in SZ subjects.
In total, 1233 SZ participants (73.9% men, mean age 31.5) were included and tested with a comprehensive battery. Tobacco status was self-declared (never-, ex-, or current smokers). Multivariable analyses including principal component analyses (PCA) were used.
In total, 53.7% were smokers with 33.7% of them nicotine-dependent. Multiple factor analysis revealed that current tobacco smoking was associated with impaired general intellectual ability and abstract reasoning (aOR 0.60, 95% IC 0.41–0.88, p = 0.01) and with a lifetime alcohol use disorder (p = 0.026) and a lifetime cannabis use disorder (p < 0.001). Ex- and never-smokers differed for age, mean outcome, cannabis history and medication [ex-smokers being older (p = 0.047), likely to have higher income (p = 0.026), a lifetime cannabis use disorder (p < 0.001) and higher CPZeq doses (p = 0.005)]. Premorbid IQ in the three groups significantly differed with, from higher to lower: ex-smokers, never-smoker, current smokers (all p < 0.001).
This study is the largest to date providing strong evidence that chronic smoking is associated with cognitive impairment in SZ, arguing against the self-medication hypothesis as a contributor to the high prevalence of smoking in SZ. Ex-smokers may also represent a specific subgroup. Longitudinal studies are warranted to determine the developmental impact of tobacco on neurocognition.
The determinants of quality of life (QoL) in schizophrenia are largely debated, mainly due to methodological discrepancies and divergence about the concepts concerned. As most studies have investigated bi- or tri-variate models, a multivariate model accounting for simultaneous potential mediations is necessary to have a comprehensive view of the determinants of QOL. We sought to estimate the associations between cognitive reserve, cognition, functioning, insight, depression, schizophrenic symptoms, and QoL in schizophrenia and their potential mediation relationships.
We used structural equation modeling with mediation analyses to test a model based on existing literature in a sample of 776 patients with schizophrenia from the FondaMental Foundation FACE-SZ cohort.
Our model showed a good fit to the data. We found better functioning to be positively associated with a better QoL, whereas better cognition, better insight, higher levels of depression, and schizophrenic symptoms were associated with a lower QoL in our sample. Cognitive reserve is not directly linked to QoL, but indirectly in a negative manner via cognition. We confirm the negative relationship between cognition and subjective QoL which was previously evidenced by other studies; moreover, this relationship seems to be robust as it survived in our multivariate model. It was not explained by insight as some suggested, thus the mechanism at stake remains to be explained.
The pathways to subjective QoL in schizophrenia are complex and the determinants largely influence each other. Longitudinal studies are warranted to confirm these cross-sectional findings.
Few studies have explored whether high-anticholinergic load may hamper rehabilitation in persons with schizophrenia. We aim to explore the associations between anticholinergic load of psychotropic treatment and functioning or cognitive performances of persons with psychosis engaged in psychosocial rehabilitation.
The study was performed using data collected at baseline assessment in the REHABase cohort including persons referred to a French network of psychosocial rehabilitation centers. The composite-rating scale developed by Salahudeen et al. was used to rate the anticholinergic load of psychotropic drugs prescribed at baseline assessment. The associations between total anticholinergic load score (categorized as ‘low’ <3 v. ‘high’ ⩾3) and functioning or cognitive characteristics were explored using multivariate analyses.
Of the 1012 participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders identified in the REHABase, half used at least two psychotropic drugs with anticholinergic activity and one out of three was prescribed at least one psychotropic drug with high-anticholinergic activity. High-anticholinergic load was significantly associated with lower stage of recovery [odds ratio (OR) = 1.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05–2.76, p = 0.03], poor mental well-being (OR = 1.55, 95% CI 1.02–2.33, p = 0.04) and poor self-rated medication adherence (OR = 2.14, 95% CI 1.29–3.53, p = 0.003). Regarding cognition, a high-anticholinergic score was associated with poorer delayed-episodic memory (OR = 1.69, 95% CI 1.01–2.85, p = 0.05) and at the trend level with faster completion time on the test exploring executive performance (OR = 0.67, 95% CI 0.43–1.04, p = 0.07).
The psychosocial rehabilitation plan of persons with psychosis should integrate optimization of psychotropic treatment in order to lessen the functional and cognitive impact of high-anticholinergic load.
Functional capacity (FC) has been identified as a key outcome to improve real-world functioning in schizophrenia. FC is influenced by cognitive impairments, negative symptoms, self-stigma and reduced physical activity (PA). Psychosocial interventions targeting FC are still under-developed.
we conducted a quasi-experimental study evaluating the effects of an exercise-enriched integrated social cognitive remediation (SCR) intervention (RemedRugby [RR]) compared with an active control group practicing Touch Rugby (TR). To our knowledge, this is the first trial to date evaluating the effectiveness of such a program provided in a real-life environment.
Eighty-seven people with schizophrenia were included and allocated to either the RR group (n = 57) or the TR group (n = 30) according to the routine clinical practice of the recruiting center. Outcomes were evaluated at baseline and post-treatment in both groups and after 6 months of follow-up in the RR group using standardized scales for symptom severity, social functioning, self-stigma, and a large cognitive battery. After treatment we observed moderate to large improvements in social function (Personal and Social Performance Scale [PSP], p < 0.001, d = 1.255), symptom severity (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale [PANSS] negative, p < 0.001, d = 0.827; PANSS GP, p < 0.001, d = 0.991; PANSS positive, p = 0.009, d = 0.594), verbal abstraction (p = 0.008, d = 0.554), aggression bias (p = 0.008, d = 0.627), and self-stigma (stereotype endorsement, p = 0.019, d = 0.495; discrimination experiences, p = 0.047; d = 0.389) that were specific to the RR group and were not observed in participants playing only TR. Effects were persistent over time and even larger between post-treatment and follow-up.
Exercise-enriched integrated SCR appears promising to improve real-life functioning in schizophrenia. Future research should investigate the potential effects of this intervention on neuroplasticity and physical fitness.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is underdiagnosed and undertreated in schizophrenia, and has been strongly associated with impaired quality of life.
To determine the prevalence and associated factors of MDD and unremitted MDD in schizophrenia, to compare treated and non-treated MDD.
Participants were included in the FondaMental Expert Centers for Schizophrenia and received a thorough clinical assessment. MDD was defined by a Calgary score ≥6. Non-remitted MDD was defined by current antidepressant treatment (unchanged for >8 weeks) and current Calgary score ≥6.
613 patients were included and 175 (28.5%) were identified with current MDD. MDD has been significantly associated with respectively paranoid delusion (odds ratio 1.8; P = 0.01), avolition (odds ratio 1.8; P = 0.02), blunted affect (odds ratio 1.7; P = 0.04) and benzodiazepine consumption (odds ratio 1.8; P = 0.02). Antidepressants were associated with lower depressive symptoms score (5.4 v. 9.5; P < 0.0001); however, 44.1% of treated patients remained in non-remittance MDD. Nonremitters were found to have more paranoid delusion (odds ratio 2.3; P = 0.009) and more current alcohol misuse disorder (odds ratio 4.8; P = 0.04). No antidepressant class or specific antipsychotic were associated with higher or lower response to antidepressant treatment. MDD was associated with Metabolic syndrome (31.4 v. 20.2%; P = 0.006) but not with increased C-reactive protein.
Antidepressant administration is associated with lower depressive symptom level in patients with schizophrenia and MDD. Paranoid delusions and alcohol misuse disorder should be specifically explored and treated in cases of non-remission under treatment. MetS may play a role in MDD onset and/or maintenance in patients with schizophrenia.
Declaration of interest
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