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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telemedicine as a way to reduce COVID-19 infections was noted and consequently deregulated. However, the degree of telemedicine regulation varies from country to country, which may alter the widespread use of telemedicine. This study aimed to clarify the telepsychiatry regulations for each collaborating country/region before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We used snowball sampling within a global network of international telepsychiatry experts. Thirty collaborators from 17 different countries/regions responded to a questionnaire on barriers to the use and implementation of telepsychiatric care, including policy factors such as regulations and reimbursement at the end of 2019 and as of May 2020.
Thirteen of 17 regions reported a relaxation of regulations due to the pandemic; consequently, all regions surveyed stated that telepsychiatry was now possible within their public healthcare systems. In some regions, restrictions on prescription medications allowed via telepsychiatry were eased, but in 11 of the 17 regions, there were still restrictions on prescribing medications via telepsychiatry. Lower insurance reimbursement amounts for telepsychiatry consultations v. in-person consultations were reevaluated in four regions, and consequently, in 15 regions telepsychiatry services were reimbursed at the same rate (or higher) than in-person consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our results confirm that, due to COVID-19, the majority of countries surveyed are altering telemedicine regulations that had previously restricted the spread of telemedicine. These findings provide information that could guide future policy and regulatory decisions, which facilitate greater scale and spread of telepsychiatry globally.
In the treatment of psychosis, agitation and aggression in Alzheimer's disease, guidelines emphasise the need to ‘use the lowest possible dose’ of antipsychotic drugs, but provide no information on optimal dosing.
This analysis investigated the pharmacokinetic profiles of risperidone and 9-hydroxy (OH)-risperidone, and how these related to treatment-emergent extrapyramidal side-effects (EPS), using data from The Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness in Alzheimer's Disease study (Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00015548).
A statistical model, which described the concentration–time course of risperidone and 9-OH-risperidone, was used to predict peak, trough and average concentrations of risperidone, 9-OH-risperidone and ‘active moiety’ (combined concentrations) (n = 108 participants). Logistic regression was used to investigate the associations of pharmacokinetic biomarkers with EPS. Model-based predictions were used to simulate the dose adjustments needed to avoid EPS.
The model showed an age-related reduction in risperidone clearance (P < 0.0001), reduced renal elimination of 9-OH-risperidone (elimination half-life 27 h), and slower active moiety clearance in 22% of patients, (concentration-to-dose ratio: 20.2 (s.d. = 7.2) v. 7.6 (s.d. = 4.9) ng/mL per mg/day, Mann–Whitney U-test, P < 0.0001). Higher trough 9-OH-risperidone and active moiety concentrations (P < 0.0001) and lower Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores (P < 0.0001), were associated with EPS. Model-based predictions suggest the optimum dose ranged from 0.25 mg/day (85 years, MMSE of 5), to 1 mg/day (75 years, MMSE of 15), with alternate day dosing required for those with slower drug clearance.
Our findings argue for age- and MMSE-related dose adjustments and suggest that a single measure of the concentration-to-dose ratio could be used to identify those with slower drug clearance.
A new method for photopatterning of a bisanthracene-functionalized mesogenic compound 1 was developed. The monomer 1 had two anthracene moieties on each molecular end, and showed crystalline and liquid-crystalline phases at room temperature and at an elevated temperature, respectively. Upon UV irradiation of 1 in the molten state, intermolecular photodimerization of the anthracene moieties was induced, and consequently resulted in the formation of a linear polymer. In contrast to the monomer 1, the obtained polymer exhibited amorphous phase at room temperature. When 1 was irradiated with UV light through a photomask in the molten state, the irradiated areas changed to amorphous phase due to photopolymerization, whereas the non-irradiated areas remained the ordered phase. This phenomenon provided visual images with a clear contrast under polarized light. In addition, the images could be erased by heating the whole sample at a temperature above ca. 200 °C, because the amorphous phase changed to the ordered phase due to a reproduction of the monomer 1 from the polymer associated with thermal back-reaction of the anthracene photodimer. Photopatterning could be performed for the erased sample again and the process was found to be fairly reversible.
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