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Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
Patient satisfaction with care has received little attention within the field of congenital heart disease. Our objective was to examine patient satisfaction with the care received when undergoing open-heart surgery in order to identify the best and worst aspects of peri-operative care. Moreover, we examined whether having contact with a specialised nurse in addition to usual care is associated with higher patient satisfaction levels.
Patient satisfaction was measured by the Satisfaction with Hospital Care Questionnaire, evaluating nine aspects of care by answering individual items and giving overall grades. A top 10 of the best and worst items was selected. Linear regression analyses were used to examine the relationship between having contact with a specialised nurse and patient satisfaction (9 grades), independent of patient characteristics – sex, age, educational level, and health status.
Data were available for 75 patients. Grades ranged from 6.74 for “discharge and after care” to 8.18 for “medical care”. In all, 21% of patients were dissatisfied with the clarity of the information about lifestyle adjustments given by the surgeon. However, patients who had contact with a specialised nurse were more satisfied with the provided information (B-coefficient is 0.497, p-value is 0.038), independent of patient characteristics.
Patients were satisfied with the received care, although there is room for improvement, especially in discharge and after care and the clarity of the information provided by the surgeon. This gap in care can be compensated for by specialised nurses, as patients who were counselled by a specialised nurse were more satisfied with the provided information.
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