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Cognition heavily relies on social determinants and genetic background. Latin America comprises approximately 8% of the global population and faces unique challenges, many derived from specific demographic and socioeconomic variables, such as violence and inequality. While such factors have been described to influence mental health outcomes, no large-scale studies with Latin American population have been carried out. Therefore, we aim to describe the cognitive performance of a representative sample of Latin American individuals with schizophrenia and its relationship to clinical factors. Additionally, we aim to investigate how socioeconomic status (SES) relates to cognitive performance in patients and controls.
We included 1175 participants from five Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico): 864 individuals with schizophrenia and 311 unaffected subjects. All participants were part of projects that included cognitive evaluation with MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery and clinical assessments.
Patients showed worse cognitive performance than controls across all domains. Age and diagnosis were independent predictors, indicating similar trajectories of cognitive aging for both patients and controls. The SES factors of education, parental education, and income were more related to cognition in patients than in controls. Cognition was also influenced by symptomatology.
Patients did not show evidence of accelerated cognitive aging; however, they were most impacted by a lower SES suggestive of deprived environment than controls. These findings highlight the vulnerability of cognitive capacity in individuals with psychosis in face of demographic and socioeconomic factors in low- and middle-income countries.
Normative data should consider sociodemographic diversity for the accurate diagnosis of cognitive impairment. This study aims to provide normative data for a brief neuropsychological battery and present diagnostic criteria for cognitive impairment that could be used in primary care settings.
We selected 9618 Brazilian middle-aged and older adults after detailed exclusion criteria to avoid subtle cognitive impairment. We analyzed age, sex, and education influence on cognitive performance. To verify the evidence of criterion validity, we compared the cognitive performance of subjects with and without a depressive episode. Additionally, we verified the percentage of spurious scores under three different cutoffs.
Age and education had the greatest impact on cognition. Normative scores were provided according to age and education groups. Participants with a depressive episode performed poorer than control subjects. The clinical cutoff of at least two scores below the 7th percentile revealed the adequate percentage of spurious and possible clinical performance.
The Longitudinal Study on Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) provided normative data based on a unique selected set of cognitively normal subjects. Normative groups were selected based on age and education, and the battery was sensitive to the presence of a depressive episode. We suggested clinical cutoffs for the tests in this battery that could be used in primary care settings to improve the accurate diagnosis of cognitive impairment.
One hypothesis proposed to underlie formal thought disorder (FTD), the incoherent speech is seen in some patients with schizophrenia, is that it reflects impairment in frontal/executive function. While this proposal has received support in neuropsychological studies, it has been relatively little tested using functional imaging. This study aimed to examine brain activations associated with FTD, and its two main factor-analytically derived subsyndromes, during the performance of a working memory task.
Seventy patients with schizophrenia showing a full range of FTD scores and 70 matched healthy controls underwent fMRI during the performance of the 2-back version of the n-back task. Whole-brain corrected, voxel-based correlations with FTD scores were examined in the patient group.
During 2-back performance the patients showed clusters of significant inverse correlation with FTD scores in the inferior frontal cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex bilaterally, the left temporal cortex and subcortically in the basal ganglia and thalamus. Further analysis revealed that these correlations reflected an association only with ‘alogia’ (poverty of speech, poverty of content of speech and perseveration) and not with the ‘fluent disorganization’ component of FTD.
This study provides functional imaging support for the view that FTD in schizophrenia may involve impaired executive/frontal function. However, the relationship appears to be exclusively with alogia and not with the variables contributing to fluent disorganization.
Functional brain activity has been only studied marginally in schizoaffective disorder (SAD), a disorder whose nosological status is controversial. The present study investigated the prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity of schizomanic patients during performance of a working memory task.
13 schizoaffective patients, with current schizomanic episode (Young> 18); and 26 sex- and age-matched healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing baseline, 1-back and 2-back versions of the n-back task. Linear models were used to obtain maps of activations and deactivations in the groups.
During performance of the n-back task, controls showed activation in a cluster of frontal areas and de-activation in the medial orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate cortex. The SAD patients showed significantly less activation in prefrontal areas than the controls. They also showed a marked failure to de-activate in medial frontal cortex. The SAD patients’ impaired task performance was associated with both reduced activation of the dorsolateral PFC and reduced de-activation of the medial frontal areas.
Schizomanic patients show failure of activation in a network of cortical regions, and also a failure to de-activate the ventromedial PFC and anterior cingulate cortex. This latter area corresponds to the one of the components of the 'default mode network´. This pattern of abnormality is similar to that found by our group to characterise schizophrenia (failure to activate and failure to de-activate), but different from that which characterises manic patients (failure to de-activate only).
Recent evidences of clinical overlap, familial co-aggregation, and shared genetic alterations support a neurodevelopmental deviation to represent a probable common vulnerability factor not only for the psychiatric disorders included in the meta-structure of neurodevelopmental disorders, but also for other major psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia.
The present paper reviews the literature to identify (1) positive and negative implications of the increasing enlargement of the group of neurodevelopmental disorders and (2) most useful clinical aspect for re-defining diagnostic boundaries between syndromic groups.
The search purpose was reached through a systematic mapping of literature.
The last years’ trend to increasingly enlarge the number of psychiatric features comprised in the autism spectrum should be better evaluated for potential negative impact on research and clinical resources for those autistic syndromes more reliable with Kanner's descriptions or associated with lower personal functioning profiles and different level of ID.
Crucial clinical aspects for the differentiation resulted to be age of onset, interest towards others, main positive symptoms, and anatomical anomalies of the central nervous system.
While on one hand the neurodevelopmental perspective might contribute to a better understanding of the multifactorial aetiopathogenetic mechanisms underlying many psychiatric disorders and provide new intervention strategies, on the other hand it might determine a premature abandonment of the traditional nosology and the appearance of very broad spectrum conditions covering all the range of current psychopathology.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Several studies have suggested variations in the prevalence of schizophrenia spectrum disorders diagnosis across time. This could be due to a change in diagnostic practice motivated either for changes in DSM criteria as for local culture factors. The aim of this study is to explore the evolution of the schizophrenia spectrum disorders. We hypothesize that we would observe a transference from the schizophrenia diagnosis to psychosis not otherwise specified.
A retrospective review of all psychiatric discharges in acute unit in the INAD of Parc de Salut Mar of Barcelona, between 2002 and 2014 was performed, relating each discharge to its axis I psychiatric diagnostic. An ANOVA analysis was used to calculate the differences between the months and the frequency of the diagnosis.
We have not been able to observe any transference between diagnoses across years. We observe a decrease of the proportion of schizophrenic spectrum disorders in its prevalence at discharge from 2012 to 2014. The proportion of not otherwise specified psychosis remains quite constant as a third of the schizophrenia diagnoses.
Disclosure of interest
The authors report no conflict of interest in this study. LG is funded by the Instituto.de.Salud.Carlos.III (CM14/00111).
Evidence-informed planning and interpretation of research results both require standardised description of local care delivery context. Such context analysis descriptions should be comparable across regions and countries to allow benchmarking and organizational learning, and for research findings to be interpreted in context. The European Service Mapping Schedule (ESMS) is a classification of adult mental health services that was later adapted for the assessment of health and social systems research (Description and Evaluation of Services and DirectoriEs - DESDE). The aim of the study was to review the diffusion and use of the ESMS/DESDE system in health and social care and its impact in health policy and decision-making.
We conducted a systematic review following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines (1997–2018).
Out of 155 papers mentioning ESMS/DESDE, 71 have used it for service research and planning. The classification has been translated into eight languages and has been used by seven international research networks. Since 2000, it has originated 11 instruments for health system research with extensive analysis of their metric properties. The ESMS/DESDE coding system has been used in 585 catchment areas in 34 countries for description of services delivery at local, regional and national levels.
The ESMS/DESDE system provides a common terminology, a classification of care services, and a set of tools allowing a variety of aims to be addressed in healthcare and health systems research. It facilitates comparisons across and within countries for evidence-informed planning.
Although many mental health care systems provide care interventions that are not related to direct health care, little is known about the interfaces between the latter and core health care. ‘Core health care’ refers to services whose explicit aim is direct clinical treatment which is usually provided by health professionals, i.e., physicians, nurses, psychologists. ‘Other care’ is typically provided by other staff and includes accommodation, training, promotion of independence, employment support and social skills. In such a definition, ‘other care’ does not necessarily mean being funded or governed differently. The aims of the study were: (1) using a standard classification system (Description and Evaluation of Services and Directories in Europe for Long Term Care, DESDE-LTC) to identify ‘core health’ and ‘other care’ services provided to adults with mental health problems; and (2) to investigate the balance of care by analysing the types and characteristics of core health and other care services.
The study was conducted in eight selected local areas in eight European countries with different mental health systems. All publicly funded mental health services, regardless of the funding agency, for people over 18 years old were identified and coded. The availability, capacity and the workforce of the local mental health services were described using their functional main activity or ‘Main Types of Care’ (MTC) as the standard for international comparison, following the DESDE-LTC system.
In these European study areas, 822 MTCs were identified as providing core health care and 448 provided other types of care. Even though one-third of mental health services in the selected study areas provided interventions that were coded as ‘other care’, significant variation was found in the typology and characteristics of these services across the eight study areas.
The functional distinction between core health and other care overcomes the traditional division between ‘health’ and ‘social’ sectors based on governance and funding. The overall balance between core health and other care services varied significantly across the European sites. Mental health systems cannot be understood or planned without taking into account the availability and capacity of all services specifically available for this target population, including those outside the health sector.
Disease surveillance can be made more effective by either improving disease detection, providing cost savings, or doing both. Currently, cattle herds in low-risk areas (LRAs) for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in England are tested once every 4 years. In Scotland, the default herd testing frequency is also 4 years, but a risk-based system exempts some herds from testing altogether. To extend this approach to other areas, a bespoke understanding of at-risk herds and how risk-based surveillance can affect bTB detection is required. Here, we use a generalized linear mixed model to inform a Bayesian probabilistic model of freedom from infection and explore risk-based surveillance strategies in LRAs and Scotland. Our analyses show that in both areas the primary herd-level risk factors for bTB infection are the size of the herd and purchasing cattle from high-risk areas of Great Britain and/or Ireland. A risk-based approach can improve the current surveillance system by both increasing detection (9% and 7% fewer latent infections), and reducing testing burden (6% and 26% fewer animal tests) in LRAs and Scotland, respectively. Testing at-risk herds more frequently can also improve the level of detection by identifying more infected cases and reducing the hidden burden of the disease, and reduce surveillance effort by exempting low-risk herds from testing.
There is a need of more quantitative standardised data to compare local Mental Health Systems (MHSs) across international jurisdictions. Problems related to terminological variability and commensurability in the evaluation of services hamper like-with-like comparisons and hinder the development of work in this area. This study was aimed to provide standard assessment and comparison of MHS in selected local areas in Europe, contributing to a better understanding of MHS and related allocation of resources at local level and to lessen the scarcity in standard service comparison in Europe. This study is part of the Seventh Framework programme REFINEMENT (Research on Financing Systems’ Effect on the Quality of Mental Health Care in Europe) project.
A total of eight study areas from European countries with different systems of care (Austria, England, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Romania, Spain) were analysed using a standard open-access classification system (Description and Evaluation of Services for Long Term Care in Europe, DESDE-LTC). All publicly funded services universally accessible to adults (≥18 years) with a psychiatric disorder were coded. Care availability, diversity and capacity were compared across these eight local MHS.
The comparison of MHS revealed more community-oriented delivery systems in the areas of England (Hampshire) and Southern European countries (Verona – Italy and Girona – Spain). Community-oriented systems with a higher proportion of hospital care were identified in Austria (Industrieviertel) and Scandinavian countries (Sør-Trøndelag in Norway and Helsinki-Uusimaa in Finland), while Loiret (France) was considered as a predominantly hospital-based system. The MHS in Suceava (Romania) was still in transition to community care.
There is a significant variation in care availability and capacity across MHS of local areas in Europe. This information is relevant for understanding the process of implementation of community-oriented mental health care in local areas. Standard comparison of care provision in local areas is important for context analysis and policy planning.
Relatively few studies have investigated whether relatives of patients with bipolar disorder show brain functional changes, and these have focused on activation changes. Failure of de-activation during cognitive task performance is also seen in the disorder and may have trait-like characteristics since it has been found in euthymia.
A total of 20 euthymic patients with bipolar disorder, 20 of their unaffected siblings and 40 healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during performance of the n-back working memory task. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was fitted to individual whole-brain maps from each set of patient–relative–matched pair of controls. Clusters of significant difference among the groups were used as regions of interest to compare mean activations/de-activations between them.
A single cluster of significant difference among the three groups was found in the whole-brain ANOVA. This was located in the medial prefrontal cortex, a region of task-related de-activation in the healthy controls. Both the patients and their siblings showed significantly reduced de-activation compared with the healthy controls in this region, but the failure was less marked in the relatives.
Failure to de-activate the medial prefrontal cortex in both euthymic bipolar patients and their unaffected siblings adds to evidence for default mode network dysfunction in the disorder, and suggests that it may act as a trait marker.
N- and p-type filled-skutterudite materials prepared for thermoelectric power generation modules were analyzed by neutron diffraction at the POWGEN beam line of the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The skutterudite powders were processed by melt spinning, followed by ball milling and annealing. The n-type material consists of Ba–Yb–Co–Sb and the p-type material consists of Di–Fe–Ni–Sb or Di–Fe–Co–Sb (Di = didymium, an alloy of Pr and Nd). Powders for prototype module fabrication from General Motors and Marlow Industries were analyzed in this study. XRD and neutron diffraction studies confirm that both the n- and p-type materials have cubic symmetry. Structural Rietveld refinements determined the lattice parameters and atomic parameters of the framework and filler atoms. The cage filling fraction was found to depend linearly on the lattice parameter, which in turn depends on the average framework atom size. This knowledge may allow the filling fraction of these skutterudite materials to be purposefully adjusted, thereby tuning the thermoelectric properties.
The aim of this randomized clinical trial follow-up at three months was to evaluate the effectiveness of an educational intervention with a focus on diet and physical activity (PA) to change the amount of PA, body mass index (BMI) and the waist circumference (WC) in patients with severe mental illness.
We recruited 332 outpatients with severe mental disorders undergoing treatment with antipsychotic medication from Mental Healthcare Centers of Barcelona. They were randomly assigned to an intervention or a control group. The patients in the intervention group participated in a group PA and diet educational program. The blinded measurements at 0 and 3 months were: the level of PA (IPAQ questionnaire), BMI, WC, blood pressure, dietary habits (PREDIMED questionnaire), quality of life (SF-36 questionnaire) and laboratory parameters (cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose).
The average age was 46.7 years and 55% were males. Schizophrenia had been diagnosed in 67.1% of them. At 3 months, the average weekly walking METs rose significantly in the IG 266.05 METs (95%CI: 16.86 to 515.25; P = 0.036). The total MET average also rose although not significantly: 191.38 METs (95%CI: 1.38 to 381.38; P = 0.086). However, the BMI decreased significantly more in the CG, by 0.26 kg/m2 (95%CI: 0.02 to 0.51; P = 0.038), than in the IG. There were no significant differences in the WC.
The short-term results suggest that the intervention increases the level of PA, but does not improve physical or laboratory parameters.
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01729650 (effectiveness of a physical activity and diet program in patients with psychotic disorder [CAPiCOR]).
In a background of interest in staging models in psychiatry, we tested the validity of a simple staging model of cognitive impairment to predict incident dementia.
A large community sample of adults aged ≥55 years (N = 4803) was assessed in the baseline of a longitudinal, four-wave epidemiological enquiry. A two-phase assessment was implemented in each wave, and the instruments used included the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE); the History and Aetiology Schedule and the Geriatric Mental State-AGECAT. For the standardised degree of cognitive impairment Perneczky et al's MMSE criteria were applied. A panel of psychiatrists diagnosed cases of dementia according to DSM-IV criteria, and cases and sub-cases of dementia were excluded for the follow-up waves. Competing risk regression models, adjusted by potential confounders, were used to test the hypothesised association between MMSE levels and dementia risk.
Out of the 4057 participants followed up, 607 (14.9%) were classified as ‘normal’ (no cognitive impairment), 2672 (65.8%) as ‘questionable’ cognitive impairment, 732 (18.0%) had ‘mild’ cognitive impairment, 38 (0.9%) had ‘moderate’ cognitive impairment and eight (0.2%) had ‘severe’ impairment.
Cognitive impairment was associated with risk of dementia, the risk increasing in parallel with the level of impairment (hazard ratio: 2.72, 4.78 and 8.38 in the ‘questionable’, ‘mild’ and ‘moderate’ level of cognitive impairment, respectively).
The documented gradient of increased risk of dementia associated with the severity level of cognitive impairment supports the validity of the simple staging model based on the MMSE assessment.
Functional imaging studies in relatives of schizophrenic patients have had inconsistent findings, particularly with respect to altered dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation. Some recent studies have also suggested that failure of deactivation may be seen.
A total of 28 patients with schizophrenia, 28 of their siblings and 56 healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during performance of the n-back working memory task. An analysis of variance was fitted to individual whole-brain maps from each set of patient–relative–matched pair of controls. Clusters of significant difference among the groups were then used as regions of interest to compare mean activations and deactivations among the groups.
In all, five clusters of significant differences were found. The schizophrenic patients, but not the relatives, showed reduced activation compared with the controls in the lateral frontal cortex bilaterally, the left basal ganglia and the cerebellum. In contrast, both the patients and the relatives showed significant failure of deactivation compared with the healthy controls in the medial frontal cortex, with the relatives also showing less failure than the patients. Failure of deactivation was not associated with schizotypy scores or presence of psychotic-like experiences in the relatives.
Both schizophrenic patients and their relatives show altered task-related deactivation in the medial frontal cortex. This in turn suggests that default mode network dysfunction may function as a trait marker for schizophrenia.
This paper aims to present the Integrated Atlas of Mental Health of Catalonia (2010) focusing on: (a) the importance of using a taxonomy-based coding and standard system of data collection when assessing health services; and (b) its relevance as a tool for evidence-informed policy.
This study maps all the care-related services for people with mental disorders available in Catalonia in 2010, using the ‘Description and Evaluation of Services and Directories in Europe for long-term care’ (DESDE-LTC). The unit of analysis is the Basic Stable Input of Care (BSIC), which is the minimal organisation unit composed by a set of inputs with temporal stability. We presented data on: (a) availability of BSICs and their capacity; (b) the adequacy of the provision of care, taking into account availability and accessibility; (c) the evolution of BSCIs from 2002 to 2010; and (d) the perceived relevance of Atlas of Mental Health as a tool for evidence-informed policy.
We identified a total of 639 BSICs. A lack of Health services was detected in highly rural areas, although there was moderate availability of Social Services. Overall, more than 80% of the small mental health areas in Catalonia had an adequate core mental health service. Since 2002 the availability of mental health services has increased. Decision makers found the Atlas a useful and relevant tool for evidence informed policy.
Policy makers can use Atlases to detect gaps and inequities in the provision of care for people with mental health needs.
To test the hypothesis that cognitive impairment in older adults is associated with all-cause mortality risk and the risk increases when the degree of cognitive impairment augments; and then, if this association is confirmed, to report the population-attributable fraction (PAF) of mortality due to cognitive impairment.
A representative random community sample of individuals aged over 55 was interviewed, and 4557 subjects remaining alive at the end of the first year of follow-up were included in the analysis. Instruments used in the assessment included the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE), the History and Aetiology Schedule (HAS) and the Geriatric Mental State (GMS)-AGECAT. For the standardised degree of cognitive impairment Perneczky et al's MMSE criteria were applied. Mortality information was obtained from the official population registry. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard models were used to test the association between MMSE degrees of cognitive impairment and mortality risk. We also estimated the PAF of mortality due to specific MMSE stages.
Cognitive impairment was associated with mortality risk, the risk increasing in parallel with the degree of cognitive impairment (Hazard ratio, HR: 1.18 in the ‘mild’ degree of impairment; HR: 1.29 in the ‘moderate’ degree; and HR: 2.08 in the ‘severe’ degree). The PAF of mortality due to severe cognitive impairment was 3.49%.
A gradient of increased mortality-risk associated with severity of cognitive impairment was observed. The results support the claim that routine assessment of cognitive function in older adults should be considered in clinical practice.