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Cognitive deficits may be characteristic for only a subgroup of first-episode psychosis (FEP) and the link with clinical and functional outcomes is less profound than previously thought. This study aimed to identify cognitive subgroups in a large sample of FEP using a clustering approach with healthy controls as a reference group, subsequently linking cognitive subgroups to clinical and functional outcomes.
204 FEP patients were included. Hierarchical cluster analysis was performed using baseline brief assessment of cognition in schizophrenia (BACS). Cognitive subgroups were compared to 40 controls and linked to longitudinal clinical and functional outcomes (PANSS, GAF, self-reported WHODAS 2.0) up to 12-month follow-up.
Three distinct cognitive clusters emerged: relative to controls, we found one cluster with preserved cognition (n = 76), one moderately impaired cluster (n = 74) and one severely impaired cluster (n = 54). Patients with severely impaired cognition had more severe clinical symptoms at baseline, 6- and 12-month follow-up as compared to patients with preserved cognition. General functioning (GAF) in the severely impaired cluster was significantly lower than in those with preserved cognition at baseline and showed trend-level effects at 6- and 12-month follow-up. No significant differences in self-reported functional outcome (WHODAS 2.0) were present.
Current results demonstrate the existence of three distinct cognitive subgroups, corresponding with clinical outcome at baseline, 6- and 12-month follow-up. Importantly, the cognitively preserved subgroup was larger than the severely impaired group. Early identification of discrete cognitive profiles can offer valuable information about the clinical outcome but may not be relevant in predicting self-reported functional outcomes.
This meta-analysis on peripheral blood compounds in drug-naïve first-episode patients with either schizophrenia or major depressive disorder (MDD) examined which compounds change following psychopharmacological treatment.
The Embase, PubMed and PsycINFO databases were systematically searched for longitudinal studies reporting measurements of blood compounds in drug-naïve first-episode schizophrenia or MDD.
For this random-effects meta-analysis, we retrieved a total of 31 studies comprising 1818 schizophrenia patients, and 14 studies comprising 469 MDD patients. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) increased following treatment in schizophrenia (Hedges' g (g): 0.55; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.39–0.70; p < 0.001) and MDD (g: 0.51; CI 0.06–0.96; p = 0.027). Interleukin (IL)-6 levels decreased in schizophrenia (g: −0.48; CI −0.85 to −0.11; p = 0.011), and for MDD a trend of decreased IL-6 levels was observed (g: −0.39; CI −0.87 to 0.09; p = 0.115). Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) also decreased in schizophrenia (g: −0.34; CI −0.68 to −0.01; p = 0.047) and in MDD (g: −1.02; CI −1.79 to −0.25; p = 0.009). Fasting glucose levels increased only in schizophrenia (g: 0.26; CI 0.07–0.44; p = 0.007), but not in MDD. No changes were found for C-reactive protein, IL-1β, IL-2 and IL-4.
Psychopharmacological treatment has modulating effects on BDNF and TNFα in drug-naïve first-episode patients with either schizophrenia or MDD. These findings support efforts for further research into transdiagnostic preventive strategies and augmentation therapy for those with immune dysfunctions.
The prevalence of psychotic experiences (PEs) is higher in low-and-middle-income-countries (LAMIC) than in high-income countries (HIC). Here, we examine whether this effect is explicable by measurement bias.
A community sample from 13 countries (N = 7141) was used to examine the measurement invariance (MI) of a frequently used self-report measure of PEs, the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE), in LAMIC (n = 2472) and HIC (n = 4669). The CAPE measures positive (e.g. hallucinations), negative (e.g. avolition) and depressive symptoms. MI analyses were conducted with multiple-group confirmatory factor analyses.
MI analyses showed similarities in the structure and understanding of the CAPE factors between LAMIC and HIC. Partial scalar invariance was found, allowing for latent score comparisons. Residual invariance was not found, indicating that sum score comparisons are biased. A comparison of latent scores before and after MI adjustment showed both overestimation (e.g. avolition, d = 0.03 into d = −0.42) and underestimation (e.g. magical thinking, d = −0.03 into d = 0.33) of PE in LAMIC relative to HIC. After adjusting the CAPE for MI, participants from LAMIC reported significantly higher levels on most CAPE factors but a significantly lower level of avolition.
Previous studies using sum scores to compare differences across countries are likely to be biased. The direction of the bias involves both over- and underestimation of PEs in LAMIC compared to HIC. Nevertheless, the study confirms the basic finding that PEs are more frequent in LAMIC than in HIC.
In a large and comprehensively assessed sample of patients with bipolar disorder type I (BDI), we investigated the prevalence of psychotic features and their relationship with life course, demographic, clinical, and cognitive characteristics. We hypothesized that groups of psychotic symptoms (Schneiderian, mood incongruent, thought disorder, delusions, and hallucinations) have distinct relations to risk factors.
In a cross-sectional study of 1342 BDI patients, comprehensive demographical and clinical characteristics were assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-I) interview. In addition, levels of childhood maltreatment and intelligence quotient (IQ) were assessed. The relationships between these characteristics and psychotic symptoms were analyzed using multiple general linear models.
A lifetime history of psychotic symptoms was present in 73.8% of BDI patients and included delusions in 68.9% of patients and hallucinations in 42.6%. Patients with psychotic symptoms showed a significant younger age of disease onset (β = −0.09, t = −3.38, p = 0.001) and a higher number of hospitalizations for manic episodes (F11 338 = 56.53, p < 0.001). Total IQ was comparable between groups. Patients with hallucinations had significant higher levels of childhood maltreatment (β = 0.09, t = 3.04, p = 0.002).
In this large cohort of BDI patients, the vast majority of patients had experienced psychotic symptoms. Psychotic symptoms in BDI were associated with an earlier disease onset and more frequent hospitalizations particularly for manic episodes. The study emphasizes the strength of the relation between childhood maltreatment and hallucinations but did not identify distinct subgroups based on psychotic features and instead reported of a large heterogeneity of psychotic symptoms in BD.
Autoimmune encephalitis associated with autoantibodies against the N‐methyl‐d‐aspartate receptor (NMDAR) often presents with behavioural change. Our objective was to describe in detail the psychiatric presentation and pathways to care in order to aid the early diagnosis of NMDAR encephalitis.
Sera and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients with suspected NMDAR encephalitis were tested on HEK 293 cells transfected with the NR1 subunit of the NMDAR. Clinical information was obtained from the referring psychiatrists and neurologists and by review of the clinical records.
Samples from 15 patients (13 female, 2 male, mean age 24 years, range 5–56 years) tested anti‐NMDAR positive. Twelve of the 15 patients (80%) presented with prominent psychiatric symptoms and 8 were initially referred to a psychiatric service. The most prominent initial psychiatric symptoms were anxiety in seven (47%), behavioural change (often bizarre) in six (40%) and agitation in five (33%). All patients developed psychiatric symptoms in the first 6 weeks of illness. Thirteen patients received psychotropic medications: antipsychotics in 12 and benzodiazepines in 11. Treating physicians considered the psychotropic medication not effective in 11 patients resulting in many drug switches. At nadir, all patients were in a very poor condition. However, eight patients (53%) recovered (almost) completely. Outcome tended to be better in patients who had received early immunotherapy or tumour removal.
Autoimmune encephalitis and anti‐NMDAR testing in serum and CSF should be considered in patients, especially young females, presenting with atypical psychiatric phenomena. Early diagnosis and treatment will likely improve the prognosis of NMDAR encephalitis.
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