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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented global health crisis that may cause mental health problems and heighten suicide risk. We investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trends in suicide attempts and suicide deaths in New Taipei City, Taiwan.
The current study used the official daily data on suicide attempts and deaths in New Taipei City, Taiwan (4 million inhabitants) between 2015 and 2020 from the Taiwan National Suicide Prevention Reporting System. Interrupted time-series (ITS) analyses with parameters corrected by the estimated autocorrelations were applied on weekly aggregated data to examine whether the suicide trends during the early COVID-19 pandemic (late January to July 2020) deviated from previous trends (January 2015 to late January 2020). The impact due to the suicide prevention policy change was also examined (since August 2020).
ITS analyses revealed no significant increases in both mean and trend on weekly suicide deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic and after the policy change. In contrast, there was a significant increasing trend in weekly suicide attempts since the COVID-19 outbreak at the rate of 1.54 attempts per week (95% confidence interval 0.49–2.60; p = 0.004). Sex difference analysis revealed that, however, this increasing trend was observed only in females not in males.
The COVID-19 pandemic has different impacts on suicides attempts and deaths during the early pandemic in New Taipei City, Taiwan. The COVID-19 outbreak drastically increased the trend of suicide attempts. In contrast, the number of suicide deaths had remained constant in the investigated periods.
High prevalence of insulin resistance (IR) has been reported in bipolar disorder (BD) patients. Importantly, impaired insulin sensitivity could modulate the course and treatment outcome in BD. Here, we hypothesized that insulin sensitivity could be potentially associated with the neurocognitive trajectory in euthymic BD. We aimed to examine differences in insulin sensitivity and executive function between BD patients and controls.
Sixty-two patients with BD receiving mood stabilizer treatment and 62 controls, matching age, sex, and body mass index, were recruited in this study. Insulin sensitivity was estimated using the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). The Wisconsin card-sorting test (WCST) was applied to test participants’ ability to shift cognitive set. Group differences were measured and multivariate regression analysis was performed to examine relationships among factors.
The results indicated that the HOMA-IR (P = .048) value in the patients with BD were significantly higher than those in controls. With regards to executive function, the BD patients performed significantly poorer than the control subjects (P < .05). Moreover, the interaction effect between BD diagnosis and HOMA-IR value on the WCST-preservation errors was significant (P = .01), and post-hoc analyses showed that the cognitive abilities were worse in the BD patients with a higher IR than in the others groups.
Insulin sensitivity is associated with the neurocognitive performance in euthymic BD patients. Although the underlying mechanisms remain unclear, interventions to improve insulin sensitivity could potentially improve the functional outcome of BD.