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After the discovery of ‘homocystinuria syndrome’, many studies have suggested that high blood levels of homocysteine may be associated with schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to analyse the association between hyperhomocysteinaemia and schizophrenia.
In a population of inpatients suffering from exacerbated schizophrenic disorders (N=100), we evaluated homocysteine levels the day after their admission to an acute psychiatric ward and compared it with that of a non-patient control group (N=110), matched for age and gender. We statistically analysed the correlation between homocysteine levels and selected variables: gender, age, years of illness and number of previous psychiatric admissions as well as Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, Positive Negative Syndrome Scale and Global Assessment Functioning (GAF) Scores.
We observed elevated homocysteine levels (an increase of 7.84 µM on average per patient) in 32% of the patients, but we did not find any statistically significant difference between the homocysteine levels of our patients and controls. Hyperhomocysteinaemia presented a positive statistically significant correlation with years of illness (p<0.005) and a negative statistically significant correlation with GAF score (p<0.001), but not with other clinical variables.
Hyperhomocysteinaemia, which occurred in our schizophrenia patients with poor social and relational functioning after many years of illness, could represent an effect of altered lifestyle due to psychosis, but not a specific marker for schizophrenia.
Major cancer centers cannot ignore psychosocial patient needs that have a significant impact on the process of adjustment to cancer and on compliance to treatments. We introduced a new service, the Gigi Ghirotti Psychosocial Cancer Phone Center (GGPCPC), staffed by professional psychologists, for use by our patients and their relatives. This article investigates its feasibility as a support delivery vehicle for patients in their follow-up phase, and also investigates patients' sense of abandonment related to their care setting.
A close collaboration was set up between GGPCPC psychologists and European Institute of Oncology (IEO) psychologists. Education and awareness sessions regarding the importance of such a source of psychological support were conducted by IEO psychologists with nurses, secretaries, and receptionists. IEO psychologists input monthly data, recorded on specific paper-tabs by GGPCPC psychologists for each call received by the phone center between March 2007 and March 2009, into a SPSS database.
Four hundred and thirty individuals contacted the center mainly to receive psychological support during their treatment phase, when they visited IEO for treatment sessions. Multiple indicators suggest that this telephone support program was feasible and provided support to a broad range of cancer patients. Patients seemed to prefer it to face-to-face psychological support during their treatment-phase.
Significance of results:
The GGPCPC was demonstrated to be an efficacious support and information delivery vehicle for patients and relatives during the illness course.
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