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Depression and insomnia commonly co-occur. Yet, little is known about the mechanisms through which insomnia influences depression. Recent research and theory highlight reward system dysfunction as a potential mediator of the relationship between insomnia and depression. This study is the first to examine the impact of insomnia on reward learning, a key component of reward system functioning, in clinical depression.
The sample consisted of 72 veterans with unipolar depression who endorsed sleep disturbance symptoms. Participants completed the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, self-report measures of insomnia, depression, and reward processing, and a previously validated signal detection task (Pizzagalli et al., 2005, Biological Psychiatry, 57(4), 319–327). Trial-by-trial response bias (RB) estimates calculated for each of the 200 task trials were examined using linear mixed-model analyses to investigate change in reward learning.
Findings demonstrated diminished rate and magnitude of reward learning in the Insomnia group relative to the Hypersomnia/Mixed Symptom group across the task. Within the Insomnia group, participants with more severe insomnia evidenced the lowest rates of reward learning, with increased RB across the task with decreasing insomnia severity.
Among individuals with depression, insomnia is associated with decreased ability to learn associations between neutral stimuli and rewarding outcomes and/or modify behavior in response to differential receipt of reward. This attenuated reward learning may contribute to clinically meaningful decreases in motivation and increased withdrawal in this comorbid group. Results extend existing theory by highlighting impairments in reward learning specifically as a potential mediator of the association between insomnia and depression.
Psychological attachment to political parties can bias people’s attitudes, beliefs, and group evaluations. Studies from psychology suggest that self-affirmation theory may ameliorate this problem in the domain of politics on a variety of outcome measures. We report a series of studies conducted by separate research teams that examine whether a self-affirmation intervention affects a variety of outcomes, including political or policy attitudes, factual beliefs, conspiracy beliefs, affective polarization, and evaluations of news sources. The different research teams use a variety of self-affirmation interventions, research designs, and outcomes. Despite these differences, the research teams consistently find that self-affirmation treatments have little effect. These findings suggest considerable caution is warranted for researchers who wish to apply the self-affirmation framework to studies that investigate political attitudes and beliefs. By presenting the “null results” of separate research teams, we hope to spark a discussion about whether and how the self-affirmation paradigm should be applied to political topics.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced American medical systems to adapt to high patient loads of respiratory disease. Its disruption of normal routines also brought opportunities for broader reform. The purpose of this article is to describe how the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center (CRDAMC), a medium-sized Army hospital, capitalized on opportunities to advance its strategic aims during the pandemic. Specifically, the hospital sequentially adopted virtual video visits, surged on preventative screenings, and made-over its image to appeal to patients seeking urgent care. These campaigns supported COVID-19 efforts and larger strategic goals simultaneously, and they will endure for years to come. Predictably, CRDAMC encountered obstacles in the course of its transformation. These obstacles and their follow-on lessons are provided to assist future medical leaders seeking quantum change in the opportunities made available by health crises.
Over the past twenty years, several taxonomies of personality and psychopathology have been developed. More recently, many studies have compared dimensional models of personality pathology to categorical diagnoses of personality disorders. Altogether, this proliferation of research suggests the value of articulating the desirable properties of a good taxonomic system. Here, the authors extend basic research in cognitive science on the limitations of representational capacity, which suggests that humans need to compress complex clinical presentations to make good judgments. With this in mind, the authors propose that information compression and information fidelity are two principles that are essential to good taxonomy. The principle of information compression is that taxonomies should prune the complexities of a detailed clinical presentation to focus on important sources of covariation. The principle of information fidelity is that a good taxonomy should maintain essential features that reasonably approximate the structure of an individual or the population. They conclude with the claim that the overarching goal of taxonomic science in classifying personality pathology is to provide clinicians and researchers with empirically based informative priors that help to bias thinking toward useful clinical distinctions.
Innovation Concept: EM Sim Cases is an innovative, open-access website that was created in 2015 to publish medical simulation resources including standardized, peer-reviewed simulation cases. Herein we describe our interim analysis. Methods: We performed a massive online needs assessment using a methodology previously described by Chan et. al. to determine how we can shape EM Sim Cases to meet the needs of learners and educators who use it. We engaged with simulation experts from the Emergency Medicine Simulation Education Research Collaborative to design a Google Forms survey using best practices in survey design. We distributed the survey to our target community of practice via Twitter, email, and a blog post published on emsimcases.com. Curriculum, Tool, or Material: We received 81 responses from simulation educators representing 8 medical specialties and 13 countries. Most survey respondents identified themselves as staff physicians (n = 44) and specialized in emergency medicine (n = 39). They had 0-21+ years of experience. 37% of respondents (n = 30) stated that material from EM Sim Cases makes up 25% or more of their simulation curriculum. Several respondents noted that using this content made them feel more confident and more current. Respondents praised EM Sim Cases for a well-organized case format, the proper level of detail, consistency between case designs, and the wide variety of cases. Suggested improvements included an opportunity to directly comment on cases and more cases in pediatric, rural, and advanced airway management situations. Suggestions were made to improve the navigability of the website. Respondents wanted to see additional blog content on debriefing strategies and self-made task/skill trainers. Conclusion: EM Sim Cases is a novel, free open-access simulation resource. Using a massive online needs assessment we were able to determine future directions including case topics, website reorganization, and educational material. We were also able to capture how impactful a resource like this can be to clinical and educational practice outside of the simulation setting.
Introduction: In 2018, Canadian postgraduate specialist Emergency Medicine (EM) programs began implementing a competency-based medical education (CBME) assessment system. To support improvement of this assessment program, we sought to evaluate its short-term educational outcomes nationally and within individual programs. Methods: Program-level data from the 2018 resident cohort were amalgamated and analyzed. The number of Entrustable Professional Activity (EPA) assessments (overall and for each EPA) and the timing of resident promotion through program stages was compared between programs and to the guidelines provided by the national EM specialty committee. Total EPA observations from each program were correlated with the number of EM and pediatric EM rotations. Results: Data from 15 of 17 (88.2%) EM programs containing 9,842 EPA observations from 68 of the 77 (88.3%) Canadian EM specialist residents in the 2018 cohort were analyzed. The average number of EPAs observed per resident in each program varied from 92.5 to 229.6 and correlated strongly with the number of blocks spent on EM and pediatric EM (r = 0.83, p < 0.001). Relative to the guidelines outlined by the specialty committee, residents were promoted later than expected and with fewer EPA observations than suggested. Conclusion: We present a new approach to the amalgamation of national and program-level assessment data. There was demonstrable variation in both EPA-based assessment numbers and promotion timelines between programs and with national guidelines. This evaluation data will inform the revision of local programs and national guidelines and serve as a starting point for further reaching outcome evaluation. This process could be replicated by other national assessment programs.
Introduction: A critical component for successful implementation of any innovation is an organization's readiness for change. Competence by Design (CBD) is the Royal College's major change initiative to reform the training of medical specialists in Canada. The purpose of this study was to measure readiness to implement CBD among the 2019 launch disciplines. Methods: An online survey was distributed to program directors of the 2019 CBD launch disciplines one month prior to implementation. Questions were developed based on the R = MC2 framework for organizational readiness. They addressed program motivation to implement CBD, general capacity for change, and innovation-specific capacity. Questions related to motivation and general capacity were scored using a 5-point scale of agreement. Innovation-specific capacity was measured by asking participants whether they had completed 33 key pre-implementation tasks (yes/no) in preparation for CBD. Bivariate correlations were conducted to examine the relationship between motivation, general capacity and innovation specific capacity. Results: Survey response rate was 42% (n = 79). A positive correlation was found between all three domains of readiness (motivation and general capacity, r = 0.73, p < 0.01; motivation and innovation specific capacity, r = 0.52, p < 0.01; general capacity and innovation specific capacity, r = 0.47, p < 0.01). Most respondents agreed that successful launch of CBD was a priority (74%). Fewer felt that CBD was a move in the right direction (58%) and that implementation was a manageable change (53%). While most programs indicated that their leadership (94%) and faculty and residents (87%) were supportive of change, 42% did not have experience implementing large-scale innovation and 43% indicated concerns about adequate support staff. Programs had completed an average of 72% of pre-implementation tasks. No difference was found between disciplines (p = 0.11). Activities related to curriculum mapping, competence committees and programmatic assessment had been completed by >90% of programs, while <50% of programs had engaged off-service rotations. Conclusion: Measuring readiness for change aids in the identification of factors that promote or inhibit successful implementation. These results highlight several areas where programs struggle in preparation for CBD launch. Emergency medicine training programs can use this data to target additional implementation support and ongoing faculty development initiatives.
Innovation Concept: A major barrier to the development of a national simulation case repository and multi-site simulation research is the lack of a standardized national case template. This issue was recently identified as a priority research topic for Canadian simulation based education (SBE) research in emergency medicine (EM). We partnered with the EM Simulation Education Researchers Collaborative (EM-SERC) to develop a national simulation template. Methods: The EM Sim Cases template was chosen as a starting point for the consensus process. We generated feedback on the template using a three-phase modified nominal group technique. Members of the EM-SERC mailing list were consulted, which included 20 EM simulation educators from every Canadian medical school except Northern Ontario School of Medicine and Memorial University. When comments conflicted, the sentiment with more comments in favour was incorporated. Curriculum, Tool or Material: In phase one we sought free-text feedback on the EM Sim Cases template via email. We received 65 comments from 11 respondents. An inductive thematic analysis identified four major themes (formatting, objectives, debriefing, and assessment tools). In phase two we sought free-text feedback on the revised template via email. A second thematic analysis on 40 comments from 12 respondents identified three broad themes (formatting, objectives, and debriefing). In phase three we sought feedback on the penultimate template via focus groups with simulation educators and technologists at multiple Canadian universities. This phase generated 98 specific comments which were grouped according to the section of the template being discussed and used to develop the final template (posted on emsimcases.com). Conclusion: We describe a national consensus-building process which resulted in a simulation case template endorsed by simulation educators from across Canada. This template has the potential to: 1. Reduce the replication of effort across sites by facilitating the sharing of simulation cases. 2. Enable national collaboration on the development of both simulation cases and curricula. 3. Facilitate multi centre simulation-based research by removing confounders related to the local adoption of an unfamiliar case template. This could improve the rigour and validity of these studies by reducing inter-site variability. 4. Increase the validity of any simulation scenarios developed for use in national high-stakes assessment.
Introduction: Competency based medical education (CBME) has triggered widespread utilization of workplace-based assessment (WBA) tools in postgraduate training programs. These WBAs predominately use rating scales with entrustment anchors, such as the Ottawa Surgical Competency Operating Room Evaluation (O-SCORE). However, little is known about the factors that influence a supervising physician's decision to assign a particular rating on scales using entrustment anchors. This study aimed to identify the factors that influence supervisors’ ratings of trainees using WBA tools with entrustment anchors at the time of assessment and to explore the experiences with and challenges of using entrustment anchors in the emergency department (ED). Methods: A convenience sample of full-time emergency medicine (EM) faculty were recruited from two sites within a single academic Canadian EM hospital system. Fifty semi-structured interviews were conducted with EM physicians within two hours of completing a WBA for an EM trainee. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and independently analyzed by two members of the research team. Themes were stratified by trainee level, rating and task. Results: Interviews involved 73% (27/37) of all EM staff and captured assessments completed on 83% (37/50) of EM trainees. The mean WBA rating of studied samples was 4.34 ± 0.77 (2 to 5), which was similar to the mean rating of all WBAs completed during the study period. Overall, six major factors were identified that influenced staff WBA ratings: amount of guidance required, perceived competence through discussion and questioning, trainee experience, clinical context, past experience working with the trainee, and perceived confidence. The majority of staff denied struggling to assign ratings. However, when they did struggle, it involved the interpretation of WBA anchors and their application to the clinical context in the ED. Conclusion: Several factors appear to be taken into account by clinical supervisors when they make decisions regarding the particular rating that they will assign a trainee on a WBA that uses entrustment anchors. Not all of these factors are specific to that particular clinical encounter. The results from this study further our understanding on the use of entrustment anchors within the ED and may facilitate faculty development regarding WBA completion as we move forward in CBME.
Altered neurocognitive function in schizophrenia could reflect both genetic and illness-specific effects.
To use functional magnetic resonance imaging to discriminate between the influences of the genetic risk for schizophrenia and environmental factors on the neural substrate of verbal fluency, a candidate schizophrenia endophenotype using a case control twin design.
We studied 23 monozygotic twin pairs: 13 pairs discordant for schizophrenia and 10 pairs of healthy volunteer twins. Groups were matched for age, gender, handedness, level of education, parental socio-economic status, and ethnicity. Behavioural performance and regional brain activation during a phonological verbal fluency task were assessed.
Relative to healthy control twins, both patients and their non-psychotic co-twins produced fewer correct responses and showed less activation in the medial temporal region and inferior frontal gyrus. Twins with schizophrenia showed greater activation than both their non-psychotic co-twins and controls in right lateral temporal cortex, reflecting reduced deactivation during word generation while their non-psychotic co-twins showed greater activation in the left temporal cortex.
Both genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia and schizophrenia were associated with impaired verbal fluency performance, reduced engagement of the medial temporal region and dorsal inferior frontal gyrus. Schizophrenia was specifically associated with an additional reduction in deactivation in the right temporal cortex.
Neurocognitive and functional neuroimaging studies point to frontal lobe abnormalities in schizophrenia. Molecular and behavioural genetic studies suggest that the frontal lobe is under significant genetic influence. We carried out structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the frontal lobe in monozygotic (MZ) twins concordant or discordant for schizophrenia and healthy MZ control twins.
The sample comprised 21 concordant pairs, 17 discordant affected and 18 discordant unaffected twins from 19 discordant pairs, and 27 control pairs. Groups were matched on sociodemographic variables. Patient groups (concordant, discordant affected) did not differ on clinical variables. Volumes of superior, middle, inferior and orbital frontal gyri were calculated using the Cavalieri principle on the basis of manual tracing of anatomic boundaries. Group differences were investigated covarying for whole-brain volume, gender and age.
Results for superior frontal gyrus showed that twins with schizophrenia (i.e. concordant twins and discordant affected twins) had reduced volume compared to twins without schizophrenia (i.e. discordant unaffected and control twins), indicating an effect of illness. For middle and orbital frontal gyrus, concordant (but not discordant affected) twins differed from non-schizophrenic twins. There were no group differences in inferior frontal gyrus volume.
These findings suggest that volume reductions in the superior frontal gyrus are associated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (in the presence or absence of a co-twin with schizophrenia). On the other hand, volume reductions in middle and orbital frontal gyri are seen only in concordant pairs, perhaps reflecting the increased genetic vulnerability in this group.
Craving in negative emotional situations (negative craving) is commonly associated with relapse and heavy alcohol use. Elevated dynorphin levels were associated with negative emotions, while variations in the OPRK1 and PDYN genes encoding OPRK1 receptor and dynorphins were associated with alcohol dependence.
To investigate potential overlap in the genetic factors underlying, negative craving and alcohol dependence.
Examine the association of the negative craving and genetic variation in the OPRK1 and PDYN genes.
13 PDYN and 10 OPRK1 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), including those previously reported to be associated with alcohol dependence were genotyped in 196 alcohol dependent subjects. The raw scores of the negative subscale of Inventory of Drug Taking Situations (IDTS) were utilized as a quantitative measure of negative craving. Logistic regression models were used to test for associations after controlling for age and gender.
Gene-level haplotype testing demonstrated significant association of negative craving with variation in PDYN (p < 0.05) but not OPRK1 gene. The rs2281285 - rs199794 haplotype showed significant association (p = 0.0236) with negative craving, while rs2235749 - rs10485703 haplotype showed marginally significant association (p = 0.055). This replicates previous findings of association between these haplotypes and alcohol dependence. Negative craving was also associated with PDYN rs2281285 variant (p = 0.012) with estimated effect size of 6.95 (SE = 2.75). This new association finding was not significant after correction for multiple testing (p = 0.18).
Our findings support association of PDYN sequence variation with negative craving in alcohol dependent subjects. Future studies should investigate functional mechanisms of this association.
Psychiatric comorbidities and alcohol craving are known contributors to differences in alcohol consumption patterns.
Univariate and multivariable linear regression models were used to examine the association and interactions between the Inventory of Drug Taking Situations (IDTS) negative, positive and temptation sub-scale scores, sex, as well as co-morbid depression and anxiety determined by Psychiatric Research Interview of Substance and Mood Disorders (PRISM) with alcohol consumption measured by Time Line Follow Back (TLFB) during preceding 90 days in 287 males and 156 females meeting DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence.
IDTS positive, negative and temptation scores were strongly associated with increased alcohol consumption measures including the number of drinks per day and number of drinking days per week (P < 0.0001). Male sex was associated with higher amount of alcohol consumption per drinking day (P < 0.001), but not with the number of drinking days per week (P > 0.05). In men, lifetime history of depression was associated with fewer drinking days (P = 0.0084) and fewer hazardous drinking days (P = 0.0214) but not with differences in daily alcohol consumption. In women, depression history was not significantly associated with alcohol consumption measures. Post-hoc sex-stratified analyses suggested that the association of the negative IDTS score with total amount of alcohol consumed by men may be modified (decreased) by lifetime depression history. We found no associations of alcohol consumption measures with anxiety or substance-induced depression.
Decreased frequency of drinking in male alcoholics with lifetime depression history is unexpected. This finding emphasizes the complex relationships between alcoholism and depression, which require further investigation.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
On 30 January 2020, WHO declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a global public health emergency. As of 12 March 2020, 125 048 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 118 countries had been reported. On 12 March 2020, the first case in the Pacific islands was reported in French Polynesia; no other Pacific island country or territory has reported cases. The purpose of our analysis is to show how travellers may introduce COVID-19 into the Pacific islands and discuss the role robust health systems play in protecting health and reducing transmission risk. We analyse travel and Global Health Security Index data using a scoring tool to produce quantitative estimates of COVID-19 importation risk, by departing and arriving country. Our analysis indicates that, as of 12 March 2020, the highest risk air routes by which COVID-19 may be imported into the Pacific islands are from east Asian countries (specifically, China, Korea and Japan) to north Pacific airports (likely Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or, to a less extent, Palau); or from China, Japan, Singapore, the United States of America or France to south Pacific ports (likely, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia or New Caledonia). Other importation routes include from other east Asian countries to Guam, and from Australia, New Zealand and other European countries to the south Pacific. The tool provides a useful method for assessing COVID-19 importation risk and may be useful in other settings.
Pharmacologic methods of treating and preventing HIV have advanced tremendously in recent years. Understandings of HIV risk and recommendations for risk-reduction strategies have also changed substantially. A majority of new cases of HIV in many developed countries are now acquired through sex with long-term partners who are unaware of their HIV-positive status, rather than from casual or anonymous sexual encounters. Persons with bipolar disorder and substance use disorders are at particularly high risk. Mental health providers who work with LGBT persons and other populations at higher risk for HIV need to understand strategies their patients are using for HIV risk reduction, and to refer appropriate patients for consideration for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is the daily use of an antiretroviral (ARV) medication for prevention of HIV infection in higher-risk individuals. The United States approved tenofovir + emtracitabine for PrEP in 2012; this is under review in several European countries, Canada, and Australia, and is already prescribed off-label in many. Additionally, studies have shown that treatment with ARV medications to an “undetectable viral load” greatly reduces the risk of further transmission by persons already infected with HIV, called “treatment as prevention” (TasP). As of September 2015, WHO recommends early ARV treatment for all persons with HIV, and consideration of PrEP for men who have sex with men. This paper reviews findings from the PrEP studies (especially iPrEx, iPrEx Ole, IPERGAY, and PROUD) and TasP, and looks at their impact on LGBT and HIV+ communities, with relevance for mental health providers.
Disclosure of interest
The author has not supplied his declaration of competing interest.
The RemoveDEBRIS mission has been the first mission to successfully demonstrate, in-orbit, a series of technologies that can be used for the active removal of space debris. The mission started late in 2014 and was sponsored by a grant from the EC that saw a consortium led by the Surrey Space Centre to develop the mission, from concept to in-orbit demonstrations, that terminated in March 2019. Technologies for the capture of large space debris, like a net and a harpoon, have been successfully tested together with hardware and software to retrieve data on non-cooperative target debris kinematics from observations carried out with on board cameras. The final demonstration consisted of the deployment of a drag-sail to increase the drag of the satellite to accelerate its demise.
Self-reported activity restriction is an established correlate of depression in dementia caregivers (dCGs). It is plausible that the daily distribution of objectively measured activity is also altered in dCGs with depression symptoms; if so, such activity characteristics could provide a passively measurable marker of depression or specific times to target preventive interventions. We therefore investigated how levels of activity throughout the day differed in dCGs with and without depression symptoms, then tested whether any such differences predicted changes in symptoms 6 months later.
Design, setting, participants, and measurements:
We examined 56 dCGs (mean age = 71, standard deviation (SD) = 6.7; 68% female) and used clustering to identify subgroups which had distinct depression symptom levels, leveraging baseline Center for Epidemiologic Studies of Depression Scale–Revised Edition and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) measures, as well as a PHQ-9 score from 6 months later. Using wrist activity (mean recording length = 12.9 days, minimum = 6 days), we calculated average hourly activity levels and then assessed when activity levels relate to depression symptoms and changes in symptoms 6 months later.
Clustering identified subgroups characterized by: (1) no/minimal symptoms (36%) and (2) depression symptoms (64%). After multiple comparison correction, the group of dCGs with depression symptoms was less active from 8 to 10 AM (Cohen’s d ≤ −0.9). These morning activity levels predicted the degree of symptom change on the PHQ-9 6 months later (per SD unit β = −0.8, 95% confidence interval: −1.6, −0.1, p = 0.03) independent of self-reported activity restriction and other key factors.
These novel findings suggest that morning activity may protect dCGs from depression symptoms. Future studies should test whether helping dCGs get active in the morning influences the other features of depression in this population (i.e. insomnia, intrusive thoughts, and perceived activity restriction).