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Psychomotor slowing is a key feature of depressive disorders. Despite its great clinical importance, the pathophysiology and prevalence across different diagnoses and mood states are still poorly understood. Actigraphy allows unbiased, objective, and naturalistic assessment of physical activity as a marker of psychomotor slowing. Yet, the true effect-sizes remain unclear as recent, large systematic reviews are missing. We conducted a novel meta-analysis on actigraphically measured slowing in depression with strict inclusion and exclusion criteria for diagnosis ascertainment and sample duplications. Medline/PubMed and Web-of-Science were searched with terms combining mood-keywords and actigraphy-keywords until September 2021. Original research measuring actigraphy for ⩾24 h in at least two groups of depressed, remitted, or healthy participants and applying operationalized diagnosis was included. Studies in somatically ill patients, N < 10 participants/group, and studies using consumer-devices were excluded. Activity-levels between groups were compared using random-effects models with standardized-mean-differences and several moderators were examined. In total, 34 studies (n = 1804 patients) were included. Patients had lower activity than controls [standardized mean difference (s.m.d.) = −0.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.99 to −0.57]. Compared to controls, patients with unipolar and bipolar disorder had lower activity than controls whether in depressed (unipolar: s.m.d. = −0.82, 95% CI −1.07 to −0.56; bipolar: s.m.d. = −0.94, 95% CI −1.41 to −0.46), or remitted/euthymic mood (unipolar: s.m.d. = −0.28, 95% CI −0.56 to 0.0; bipolar: s.m.d. = −0.92, 95% CI −1.36 to −0.47). None of the examined moderators had any significant effect. To date, this is the largest meta-analysis on actigraphically measured slowing in mood disorders. They are associated with lower activity, even in the remitted/euthymic mood-state. Studying objective motor behavior via actigraphy holds promise for informing screening and staging of affective disorders.
The Bern Psychopathology Scale (BPS) is based on a system-specific approach to classifying the psychopathological symptom pattern of schizophrenia. It consists of subscales for three domains (language, affect and motor behaviour) that are hypothesized to be related to specific brain circuits. The aim of the study was to examine the factor structure of the BPS in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
One hundred and forty-nine inpatients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders were recruited at the Department of Psychiatry II, Ulm University, Germany (n = 100) and at the University Hospital of Psychiatry, Bern, Switzerland (n = 49). Psychopathology was assessed with the BPS. The VARCLUS procedure of SAS® (a type of oblique component analysis) was used for statistical analysis.
Six clusters were identified (inhibited language, inhibited motor behaviour, inhibited affect, disinhibited affect, disinhibited language/motor behaviour, inhibited language/motor behaviour) which explained 40.13% of the total variance of the data. A binary division of attributes into an inhibited and disinhibited cluster was appropriate, although an overlap was found between the language and motor behaviour domains. There was a clear distinction between qualitative and quantitative symptoms.
The results argue for the validity of the BPS in identifying subsyndromes of schizophrenia spectrum disorders according to a dimensional approach. Future research should address the longitudinal assessment of dimensional psychopathological symptoms and elucidate the underlying neurobiological processes.
To explore the correlations between observer ratings and instrumental parameters across domains of psychomotor functioning in depression.
In total, 73 patients with major depressive disorder underwent extensive psychomotor and clinical testing. Psychomotor functioning was assessed with (i) an observer-rated scale (the CORE measure) and also objectively with (ii) 24-h actigraphy, and (iii) a fine motor drawing task.
Observer ratings of retardation correlated with instrumental assessments of fine and gross motor functioning. In contrast, observer ratings of agitation did not correlate with observer ratings of retardation or with the instrumental measures. These associations were partly influenced by age and, to a lesser extent, by depression severity.
Psychomotor disturbance is a complex concept with different manifestations in depressed patients. Although observer ratings of retardation correspond well with instrumental measures of the motor domains, objective measurement of agitation and other aspects of psychomotor disturbance require further research.
One of the most exciting psychiatric conditions is the bizarre psychomotor syndrome called catatonia, which may present with a large number of different motor signs and even vegetative instability. Catatonia is potentially life threatening. The use of benzodiazepines and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been efficient in the majority of patients. The rich clinical literature of the past has attempted to capture the nature of catatonia. But the lack of diagnostic clarity and operationalization has hampered research on catatonia for a long time. Within the last decades, it became clear that catatonia had to be separated from schizophrenia, which was finally accomplished in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). In DSM-5, catatonia syndrome may be diagnosed as a specifier to major mood disorders, psychotic disorders, general medical conditions, and as catatonia not otherwise specified. This allows diagnosing the syndrome in a large variety of psychiatric disorders. Currently, the pathobiology remains widely unknown. Suspected neurotransmitter systems include gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate. Neuroimaging reports pointed to reduced resting state activity and reduced task activation in motor areas of the frontal and parietal cortex. The new classification of catatonia will foster more clinical research and neuroscientific approaches by testing catatonia in various populations and applying stringent criteria. The scarce number of prospective trials will hopefully increase, as more trials will be encouraged within a more precise concept of catatonia.
The three-dimensional (3D) keratin filament network of pancreatic carcinoma cells was investigated with different electron microscopical approaches. Semithin sections of high-pressure frozen and freeze substituted cells were analyzed with scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) tomography. Preservation of subcellular structures was excellent, and keratin filaments could be observed; however, it was impossible to three-dimensionally track the individual filaments. To obtain a better signal-to-noise ratio in transmission mode, we observed ultrathin sections of high-pressure frozen and freeze substituted samples with low-voltage (30 kV) STEM. Contrast was improved compared to 300 kV, and individual filaments could be observed. The filament network of samples prepared by detergent extraction was imaged by high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with very good signal-to-noise ratio using the secondary electron signal and the 3D structure could be elucidated by SEM tomography. In freeze-dried samples it was possible to discern between keratin filaments and actin filaments because the helical arrangement of actin subunits in the F-actin could be resolved. When comparing the network structures of the differently prepared samples, we found no obvious differences in filament length and branching, indicating that the intermediate filament network is less susceptible to preparation artifacts than the actin network.
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