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We evaluate for the first time the associations of brain white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with neuropsychological variables among middle-aged bipolar I (BPI), II (BPII) and major depressive disorder (MDD) patients and controls using a path model.
Thirteen BPI, 15 BPII, 16 MDD patients, and 21 controls underwent brain MRI and a neuropsychological examination. Two experienced neuroradiologists evaluated WMHs on the MRI scans. We constructed structural equation models to test the strength of the associations between deep WMH (DWMH) grade, neuropsychological performance and diagnostic group.
Belonging in the BPI group as opposed to the control group predicted higher DWMH grade (coefficient estimate 1.13, P = 0.012). The DWMH grade independently predicted worse performance on the Visual Span Forward test (coefficient estimate −0.48, P = 0.002). Group effects of BPI and MDD were significant in predicting poorer performance on the Digit Symbol test (coefficient estimate −5.57, P = 0.016 and coefficient estimate −5.66, P = 0.034, respectively).
Because of the small number of study subjects in groups, the negative results must be considered with caution.
Only BPI patients had an increased risk for DWMHs. DWMHs were independently associated with deficits in visual attention.
To study, whether temperament and character remain stable over time and whether they differ between patients with and without personality disorder (PD) and between patients with specific PDs.
Patients with (n = 225) or without (n = 285) PD from Jorvi Bipolar Study, Vantaa Depression Study (VDS) and Vantaa Primary Care Depression Study were interviewed at baseline and at 18 months, and in the VDS also at 5 years. A general population comparison group (n = 264) was surveyed by mail.
Compared with non-PD patients, PD patients scored lower on self-directedness and cooperativeness. Cluster B and C PDs associated with high Novelty Seeking and Harm Avoidance, respectively. In logistic regression models, sensitivity and specificity of Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) dimensions for presence of any PD were 53% and 75%, and for specific PDs from 11% to 41% and from 92% to 100%, respectively. The 18-month test-retest correlations of TCI-R dimensions ranged from 0.58 to 0.82.
Medium-term temporal stability of TCI in a clinical population appears good. Character scores differ markedly between PD and non-PD patients, whereas temperament scores differ only somewhat between the specific PDs. However, the TCI dimensions capture only a portion of the differences between PD and non-PD patients.
Although suicidal behavior is very common in bipolar disorder (BD), few long-term studies have investigated incidence and risk factors of suicide attempts (SAs) specifically related to illness phases of BD.
We examined incidence of SAs during different phases of BD in a long-term prospective cohort of bipolar I (BD-I) and II (BD-II) patients and risk factors specifically for SAs during major depressive episodes (MDEs).
In the Jorvi bipolar study (JoBS), 191 BD-I and BD-II patients were followed using life-chart methodology. Prospective information on SAs of 177 patients (92.7%) during different illness phases was available up to five years. Incidence of SAs and their predictors were investigated using logistic and Poisson regression models. Analyses of risk factors for SAs occurring during MDEs were conducted using two-level random-intercept logistic regression models.
During the five-year follow-up, 90 SAs per 718 patient-years occurred. Compared with euthymia the incidence was highest, over 120-fold, during mixed states (765/1000 person-years [95% confidence interval (CI) 461–1269]) and also very high in MDEs, almost 60-fold (354/1000 [95%CI 277–451]). For risk of SAs during MDEs, the duration of MDEs, severity of depression and cluster C personality disorders were significant predictors.
In this long-term study, the highest incidences of SAs occurred in mixed phases and MDEs. The variations in incidence rates between euthymia and illness phases were remarkably large, suggesting that the question “when” rather than “who” may be more relevant for suicide risk in BD. However, risk during MDEs is likely also influenced by personality factors.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Differential diagnosis between bipolar disorder (BD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) is often challenging due to some overlap in symptoms and comorbidity of disorders. We investigated correlations in self-reported symptoms of BD and BPD in screening questionnaires at the levels of both total scores and individual items and explored overlapping dimensions.
The McLean Screening Instrument (MSI) for BPD and the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) for BD were filled in by patients with unipolar and bipolar mood disorders (n = 313) from specialized psychiatric care within a pilot study of the Helsinki University Psychiatric Consortium. Pearson's correlation coefficients between total scores and individual items of the MSI and the MDQ were estimated. Relationships between MDQ and MSI were evaluated by exploratory factor analysis (EFA).
The correlation between total scores of the MDQ and MSI was moderate (r = 0.431, P < 0.001). Significant correlations were found between the MSI items of “impulsivity” and “mood instability” and all MDQ items (P < 0.01). In the EFA, the MSI “impulsivity” and “mood instability” items had significant cross-loadings (0.348 and 0.298, respectively) with the MDQ factor. The MDQ items of “irritability”, “flight of thoughts” and “distractibility” (0.280, 0.210 and 0.386, respectively) cross-loaded on the MSI factor.
The MDQ and MSI items of “affective instability”, “impulsivity”, “irritability”, “flight of thoughts” and “distractibility” appear to overlap in content. The other scale items are more disorder-specific, and thus, may help to distinguish BD and BPD.
We tested the degree to which longitudinal observations fit two hypotheses of psychiatric co-morbidity in DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD) among adult patients: (1) Axis I co-morbidity is dependent on major depressive episode (MDE) course, and (2) Axis I co-morbidity is independent of MDE course.
In the Vantaa Depression Study (VDS), 269 psychiatric secondary-care patients with a DSM-IV MDD were evaluated with the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) at intake and at 6 and 18 months. Three evaluations of co-morbidity were available for 193 out of 259 living patients (75%). A latent curve model (LCM) was used to examine individual-level changes in depressive and anxiety symptoms across time. Outcome of MDD was modeled in terms of categorical DSM-IV diagnosis and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) scores, and co-morbidity in terms of categorical DSM-IV anxiety and alcohol use disorder (AUD) diagnoses and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) scores.
Depression and anxiety correlated cross-sectionally at baseline. Longitudinally, changes in depression and anxiety correlated in both the 0–6 and 6–18 months time windows. Higher baseline depression raised the likelihood of an AUD at 6 months, and patients with more depressive symptoms in the 0–6 months time window were more likely to have had an AUD at 6 months, which further linked to less improvement in depression symptoms in the 6–18 months time window.
Longitudinal and individual-level courses of both internalizing and externalizing disorders in adult patients with MDD seem to be dependent, albeit to differing degrees, on the course of depressive symptoms.
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