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Grey matter (GM) reduction is a consistent observation in established late stages of schizophrenia, but patients in the untreated early stages of illness display an increase as well as a decrease in GM distribution relative to healthy controls (HC). The relative excess of GM may indicate putative compensatory responses, though to date its relevance is unclear.
343 first-episode treatment-naïve patients with schizophrenia (FES) and 342 HC were recruited. Multivariate source-based morphometry was performed to identify covarying ‘networks' of grey matter concentration (GMC). Neurocognitive scores using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) and symptom burden using the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale (PANSS) were obtained. Bivariate linear relationships between GMC and cognition/symptoms were studied.
Compared to healthy subjects, FES had prominently lower GMC in two components; the first consists of the anterior insula, inferior frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate and the second component with the superior temporal gyrus, precuneus, inferior/superior parietal lobule, cuneus, and lingual gyrus. Higher GMC was seen in adjacent areas of the middle and superior temporal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, inferior parietal cortex and putamen. Greater GMC of this component was associated with lower duration of untreated psychosis, less severe positive symptoms and better performance on cognitive tests.
In untreated stages of schizophrenia, both a distributed lower and higher GMC is observable. While the higher GMC is relatively modest, it occurs across frontoparietal, temporal and subcortical regions in association with reduced illness burden suggesting a compensatory role for higher GMC in the early stages of schizophrenia.
Deficits in event-related potential (ERP) including duration mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a have been demonstrated widely in chronic schizophrenia (SZ) but inconsistent findings were reported in first-episode patients. Psychotropic medications and diagnosis might contribute to different findings on MMN/P3a ERP in first-episode patients. The present study examined MMN and P3a in first episode drug naïve SZ and bipolar disorder (BPD) patients and explored the relationships among ERPs, neurocognition and global functioning.
Twenty SZ, 24 BPD and 49 age and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled in this study. Data of clinical symptoms [Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale (PANSS), Young Manic Rating Scale (YMRS), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD)], neurocognition [Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), Cattell's Culture Fair Intelligence Test (CCFT), Delay Matching to Sample (DMS), Rapid Visual Information Processing (RVP)], and functioning [Functioning Assessment Short Test (FAST)] were collected. P3a and MMN were elicited using a passive auditory oddball paradigm.
Significant MMN and P3a deficits and impaired neurocognition were found in both SZ and BPD patients. In SZ, MMN was significantly correlated with FAST (r = 0.48) and CCFT (r = −0.31). In BPD, MMN was significantly correlated with DMS (r = −0.54). For P3a, RVP and FAST scores were significant predictors in SZ, whereas RVP, WAIS and FAST were significant predictors in BPD.
The present study found deficits in MMN, P3a, neurocognition in drug naïve SZ and BPD patients. These deficits appeared to link with levels of higher-order cognition and functioning.
During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Fangcang shelter hospitals were opened in Wuhan, China, to isolate and care for patients with mild or moderate symptoms. The patients and staff in the hospitals faced mental health challenges. This paper reports the experiences and mental health needs from them.
Following the qualitative design, semi-structured interviews were conducted in the EastWest Lake Fangcang Shelter Hospital, Wuhan on March 2020. Data collection and analysis was based on grounded theory. Open coding was adapted and a structured codebook was developed through coding seminars. The themes and subthemes were then confirmed through thematic analysis. The findings were further explained and integrated in a theoretical framework.
A total of 10 COVID-19 patients and 13 staff, including doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, and policemen participated in the interviews. They have common needs, as well as their own needs. The perspectives from the staff also did complement for needs of the patients. The mental health needs were generalized into four themes, that is, basic needs, information and communication, emotional needs, and social support, each with several subthemes. In addition, there were some external factors that regulated the internal needs, which were summarized in a theoretical framework.
The study indicates the directions on hospital management, mental health services, policy making, and social work to meet the mental health needs of the inpatients and staff from temporary shelter hospitals like Fangcang in Wuhan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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