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Autistic symptoms represent a frequent feature in schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD). However, the prevalence and the cognitive and functional correlates of autistic symptoms in unaffected first-degree relatives of people with SSD remain to be assessed.
A total of 342 unaffected first-degree relatives related to 247 outpatients with schizophrenia were recruited as part of the multicenter study of the Italian Network for Research on Psychoses (NIRP). Autistic features were measured with the PANSS Autism Severity Scale. Three groups of participants, defined on the presence and severity of autistic symptoms, were compared on a wide array of cognitive and functional measures.
Of the total sample, 44.9% presented autistic symptoms; 22.8% showed moderate levels of autistic symptoms, which can be observed in the majority of people with SSD. Participants with higher levels of autistic symptoms showed worse performance on Working Memory (p = 0.014) and Social Cognition (p = 0.025) domains and in the Global Cognition composite score (p = 0.008), as well as worse on functional capacity (p = 0.001), global psychosocial functioning (p < 0.001), real-world interpersonal relationships (p < 0.001), participation in community activities (p = 0.017), and work skills (p = 0.006).
A high prevalence of autistic symptoms was observed in first-degree relatives of people with SSD. Autistic symptoms severity showed a negative correlation with cognitive performance and functional outcomes also in this population and may represent a diagnostic and treatment target of considerable scientific and clinical interest in both patients and their first-degree relatives.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is an informative factor on body fatness which has been associated to higher levels of Perinatal Depression (PD) and complications during pregnancy. We aimed to explore the impact of pre-pregnancy and postnatal BMI on the risk of Perinatal Depression and pregnancy outcomes among women recruited at their third trimester of pregnancy.
We report on findings from a large multi-centre study conducted in the South of Italy and involving 1611 women accessing three urban gynaecological departments from July to November 2020. Pregnant women were assessed at their third trimester of pregnancy (T0) and after the childbirth (T1) ;The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) has been employed for the screening of PD over time (T0 and T1) as well as other standardized measures for neuroticism, resilience, and quality of life at baseline. BMI (T0 and T1) and other socio-demographic and clinical characteristics have been collected.
Over-weight and obesity (higher levels of BMI) were associated with higher risk of PD (higher scores of EPDS), higher neuroticism and poorer subjective psychological well-being among enrolled women. Also, obesity and over-weight were associated with lower education, higher number of physical comorbidities, medical treatments and complications during pregnancy.
Over-weight and obesity may impact on mental health and pregnancy outcome of women enrolled. Psycho-educational interventions aimed to improve the management of physical and emotional issues may reduce the risk of PD and complications during pregnancy.
Different electrophysiological (EEG) indices have been investigated as possible biomarkers of schizophrenia. However, these indices have a very limited use in clinical practice, as their associations with clinical and functional outcomes remain unclear. This study aimed to investigate the associations of multiple EEG markers with clinical variables and functional outcomes in subjects with schizophrenia (SCZs).
Resting-state EEGs (frequency bands and microstates) and auditory event-related potentials (MMN-P3a and N100-P3b) were recorded in 113 SCZs and 57 healthy controls (HCs) at baseline. Illness- and functioning-related variables were assessed both at baseline and at 4-year follow-up in 61 SCZs. We generated a machine-learning classifier for each EEG parameter (frequency bands, microstates, N100-P300 task, and MMN-P3a task) to identify potential markers discriminating SCZs from HCs, and a global classifier. Associations of the classifiers’ decision scores with illness- and functioning-related variables at baseline and follow-up were then investigated.
The global classifier discriminated SCZs from HCs with an accuracy of 75.4% and its decision scores significantly correlated with negative symptoms, depression, neurocognition, and real-life functioning at 4-year follow-up.
These results suggest that a combination of multiple EEG alterations is associated with poor functional outcomes and its clinical and cognitive determinants in SCZs. These findings need replication, possibly looking at different illness stages in order to implement EEG as a possible tool for the prediction of poor functional outcome.
Deficits in social cognition (SC) are significantly related to community functioning in schizophrenia (SZ). Few studies investigated longitudinal changes in SC and its impact on recovery. In the present study, we aimed: (a) to estimate the magnitude and clinical significance of SC change in outpatients with stable SZ who were assessed at baseline and after 4 years, (b) to identify predictors of reliable and clinically significant change (RCSC), and (c) to determine whether changes in SC over 4 years predicted patient recovery at follow-up.
The reliable change index was used to estimate the proportion of true change in SC, not attributable to measurement error. Stepwise multiple logistic regression models were used to identify the predictors of RCSC in a SC domain (The Awareness of Social Inference Test [TASIT]) and the effect of change in TASIT on recovery at follow-up.
In 548 participants, statistically significant improvements were found for the simple and paradoxical sarcasm of TASIT scale, and for the total score of section 2. The reliable change index was 9.8. A cut-off of 45 identified patients showing clinically significant change. Reliable change was achieved by 12.6% and RCSC by 8% of participants. Lower baseline TASIT sect. 2 score predicted reliable improvement on TASIT sect. 2. Improvement in TASIT sect. 2 scores predicted functional recovery, with a 10-point change predicting 40% increase in the probability of recovery.
The RCSC index provides a conservative way to assess the improvement in the ability to grasp sarcasm in SZ, and is associated with recovery.
Abnormal auditory processing of deviant stimuli, as reflected by mismatch negativity (MMN), is often reported in schizophrenia (SCZ). At present, it is still under debate whether this dysfunctional response is specific to the full-blown SCZ diagnosis or rather a marker of psychosis in general. The present study tested MMN in patients with SCZ, bipolar disorder (BD), first episode of psychosis (FEP), and in people at clinical high risk for psychosis (CHR).
Source-based MEG activity evoked during a passive auditory oddball task was recorded from 135 patients grouped according to diagnosis (SCZ, BD, FEP, and CHR) and 135 healthy controls also divided into four subgroups, age- and gender-matched with diagnostic subgroups. The magnetic MMN (mMMN) was analyzed as event-related field (ERF), Theta power, and Theta inter-trial phase coherence (ITPC).
The clinical group as a whole showed reduced mMMN ERF amplitude, Theta power, and Theta ITPC, without any statistically significant interaction between diagnosis and mMMN reductions. The mMMN subgroup contrasts showed lower ERF amplitude in all the diagnostic subgroups. In the analysis of Theta frequency, SCZ showed significant power and ITPC reductions, while only indications of diminished ITPC were observed in CHR, but no significant decreases characterized BD and FEP.
Significant mMMN alterations in people experiencing psychosis, also for diagnoses other than SCZ, suggest that this neurophysiological response may be a feature shared across psychotic disorders. Additionally, reduced Theta ITPC may be associated with risk for psychosis.
Antidepressant medication and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) are both recommended interventions in depression treatment guidelines based on literature reviews and meta-analyses. However, ‘conventional’ meta-analyses comparing their efficacy are limited by their reliance on reported study-level information and a narrow focus on depression outcome measures assessed at treatment completion. Individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis, considered the gold standard in evidence synthesis, can improve the quality of the analyses when compared with conventional meta-analysis.
We describe the protocol for a systematic review and IPD meta-analysis comparing the efficacy of antidepressants and IPT for adult acute-phase depression across a range of outcome measures, including depressive symptom severity as well as functioning and well-being, at both post-treatment and follow-up (PROSPERO: CRD42020219891).
We will conduct a systematic literature search in PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase and the Cochrane Library to identify randomised clinical trials comparing antidepressants and IPT in the acute-phase treatment of adults with depression. We will invite the authors of these studies to share the participant-level data of their trials. One-stage IPD meta-analyses will be conducted using mixed-effects models to assess treatment effects at post-treatment and follow-up for all outcome measures that are assessed in at least two studies.
This will be the first IPD meta-analysis examining antidepressants versus IPT efficacy. This study has the potential to enhance our knowledge of depression treatment by comparing the short- and long-term effects of two widely used interventions across a range of outcome measures using state-of-the-art statistical techniques.
we aimed to compare socio-demographic and clinical differences between patients with versus without current RC in order to detect clinical factors that may favor early diagnosis and personalized treatment.
A total of 1675 patients (males: n = 714 and females: n = 961; bipolar 1: n = 1042 and bipolar 2: n = 633) from different psychiatric clinics were grouped and compared according to the current presence of RC in terms of socio-demographic and clinical variables. Chi-squared tests for qualitative variables and Student’s t tests for quantitative variables were executed for group comparison, and multivariable logistic regressions were performed, considering the current presence of RC as dependent variable, and socio-demographic/clinical factors as independent variables.
Female gender (male versus female: OR = 0.64, p = 0.04), unidentifiable prevalent polarity (versus depressive polarity: OR = 1.76, p = 0.02; versus manic polarity: OR: 2.86, p < 0.01) and hospitalization in the last year (no versus yes: OR = 0.63, p = 0.02) were found to be associated with RC in the final multivariable regression analysis.
RC in BD seems to be more prevalent in female gender and associated with some unfavorable clinical features, such as an increased risk of hospitalization. These aspects should be taken into account in the management and monitoring of RC versus non-RC patients.
The possible presence of gender-related differences in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) may have diagnostic and therapeutic implications. This multicenter study aimed to investigate gender differences in BD in the largest Italian database collected to date, on behalf of the Italian Chapter of the International Society of Bipolar Disorders.
A total of 1674 patients (males: n = 714; females: n = 960) from different psychiatric departments were compared according to gender on demographic/clinical variables. Owing to the large number of variables statistically related to the dependent variable (gender) at the univariate analyses, preliminary multiple logistic regression analyses were performed. A final multivariable logistic regression was then performed, considering gender as the dependent variable and statistically significant demographic/clinical characteristics as independent variables.
The results of the final multivariable logistic regression analysis with previous statistically significant demographic and clinical variables were the following: female gender was less frequently associated with employment (odds ratio [OR] = 0.7, P < 0.01), lifetime single marital status (OR = 0.45, P < 0.01), and substance abuse in the last year (OR = 0.35, P < 0.01), whereas it was more frequently associated with a major number of lifetime major depressive episodes (OR = 1.78, P < 0.01) and psychiatric visits in the last year (OR = 1.38, P = 0.01).
Few significant differences were found between genders in BD, particularly for those clinical features that are associated with poor prognosis (substance abuse for males and number of depressive episodes for females). Transcultural studies are needed to identify cultural versus illness-related variables possibly explaining the different clinical presentation of BD in relation to gender.
Introduction: An increasing amount of data suggests that dysregulation of the immune system, including the cytokine network, is associated with the etiology and pathophysiology of mood disorders. Genes encoding cytokines are highly polymorphic and single nucleotide polymorphisms, associated with increased or reduced cytokine production, have been described. The aim of this study was to define the genetic immunologic scenario associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder.
Methods: Eighty-four Italian outpatients affected by bipolar disorder type I, bipolar disorder type II, or MDD, and 363 healthy controls were enrolled into the study. We analyzed allele and genotype distribution of −308 (G/A) tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), +874 (T/A) interferon-γ (IFN-γ), -174 (G/C) interleukin (IL)-6, and −1082 (G/A) IL-10 promoter polymorphisms by Polymerase Chain Reaction Sequence Specific Primers technique.
Results: We observed different genotype and allele distributions of TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-10 polymorphisms in the three groups of patients analyzed. In particular, bipolar II patients were characterized by an absence of adenine (A) high producer allele of TNF-α (P<.001) and a lower percentage of TT high producer genotype of IFN-γ (P <.001); bipolar I individuals showed reduced percentage of AA low producer genotype of IL-10 (P<.001). Both bipolar I and bipolar II patients not carrying guanine (G) high producer IL-6 allele showed a lower mean age at onset (P=.048).
Conclusion: These data support the existence of a genetic profile related to pro-inflammatory cytokines in patients affected by mood disorders. The differences observed across the three clinical phenotypes suggest the presence of different pathogenetic mechanisms involved in the susceptibility of phenotypically different mood disorders.
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