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1.  Psychiatrists’ approach to vascular risk assessment in Latin America 
World Journal of Psychiatry  2014;4(3):56-61.
AIM: To explore the way in which Latin American psychiatrists approach the screening of vascular risk factors in patients receiving antipsychotic medication.
METHODS: This was a descriptive, cross sectional study that surveyed Latin-American physicians to evaluate differences between groups divided in three main sections. The first section included demographic and professional data. The second section asked about the available medical resources: weighing scales, sphygmomanometer and measuring tape. Finally, the third section aimed at looking into the attitudes towards cardiovascular prevention. The latter was also divided into two subsections. In the first one, the questions were about weight, blood pressure and waist perimeter. In the second subsection the questions asked about the proportion of patients: (1) that suffered from overweight and/or obesity; (2) whose lipids and glycemia were controlled by the physician; (3) that were questioned by, and received information from the physician about smoking; and (4) that received recommendations from the physician to engage in regular physical activity. The participants were physicians, users of the medical website Intramed. The visitors were recruited by a banner that invited them to voluntarily access an online self-reported structured questionnaire with multiple options.
RESULTS: We surveyed 1185 general physicians and 792 psychiatrists. Regarding basic medical resources, a significantly higher proportion of general physicians claimed to have weighing scales (χ2 = 404.9; P < 0.001), sphygmomanometers (χ2 = 419.3; P < 0.001), and measuring tapes (χ2 = 336.5; P < 0.001). While general physicians measured overweight and metabolic indexes in the general population in a higher proportion than in patients treated with antipsychotics (Z = -11.91; P < 0.001), psychiatrists claimed to measure them in patients medicated with antipsychotics in a higher proportion than in the general population (Z = -3.26; P < 0.001). Also general physicians tended to evaluate smoking habits in the general population more than psychiatrists (Z = -7.02; P < 0.001), but psychiatrists evaluated smoking habits in patients medicated with antipsychotics more than general physicians did (Z = -2.25; P = 0.024). General physicians showed a significantly higher tendency to control blood pressure (χ2 = 334.987; P < 0.001), weight (χ2 = 435.636; P < 0.001) and waist perimeter (χ2 = 96.52; P < 0.001) themselves and they did so in all patients. General physicians suggested physical activity to all patients more frequently (Z = -2.23; P = 0.026), but psychiatrists recommended physical activity to patients medicated with antipsychotics more frequently (Z = -7.53; P < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Psychiatrists usually check vascular risk factors in their patients, especially in those taking antipsychotics. General practitioners check them routinely without paying special attention to this population.
doi:10.5498/wjp.v4.i3.56
PMCID: PMC4171137  PMID: 25250222
Antipsychotics; Metabolic syndrome; Psychiatric patients; Schizophrenia; Vascular risk factors
2.  Attitudes toward depression among Japanese non-psychiatric medical doctors: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:441.
Background
Under-recognition of depression is common in many countries. Education of medical staff, focusing on their attitudes towards depression, may be necessary to change their behavior and enhance recognition of depression. Several studies have previously reported on attitudes toward depression among general physicians. However, little is known about attitudes of non-psychiatric doctors in Japan. In the present study, we surveyed non-psychiatric doctors’ attitude toward depression.
Methods
The inclusion criteria of participants in the present study were as follows: 1) Japanese non-psychiatric doctors and 2) attendees in educational opportunities regarding depression care. We conveniently approached two populations: 1) a workshop to depression care for non-psychiatric doctors and 2) a general physician-psychiatrist (G-P) network group. We contacted 367 subjects. Attitudes toward depression were measured using the Depression Attitude Questionnaire (DAQ), a 20-item self-report questionnaire developed for general physicians. We report scores of each DAQ item and factors derived from exploratory factor analysis.
Results
We received responses from 230 subjects, and we used DAQ data from 187 non-psychiatric doctors who met the inclusion criteria. All non-psychiatric doctors (n = 187) disagreed with "I feel comfortable in dealing with depressed patients' needs," while 60 % (n = 112) agreed with "Working with depressed patients is heavy going." Factor analysis indicated these items comprised a factor termed "Depression should be treated by psychiatrists" - to which 54 % of doctors (n = 101) agreed. Meanwhile, 67 % of doctors (n = 126) thought that nurses could be useful in depressed patient support. The three factors derived from the Japanese DAQ differed from models previously derived from British GP samples. The attitude of Japanese non-psychiatric doctors concerning whether depression should be treated by psychiatrists was markedly different to that of British GPs.
Conclusions
Japanese non-psychiatric doctors believe that depression care is beyond the scope of their duties. It is suggested that educational programs or guidelines for depression care developed in other countries such as the UK are not directly adaptable for Japanese non-psychiatric doctors. Developing a focused educational program that motivates non-psychiatric doctors to play a role in depression care is necessary to enhance recognition and treatment of depression in Japan.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-441
PMCID: PMC3434090  PMID: 22894761
3.  What is depression? Psychiatrists’ and GPs’ experiences of diagnosis and the diagnostic process 
The diagnosis of depression is defined by psychiatrists, and guidelines for treatment of patients with depression are created in psychiatry. However, most patients with depression are treated exclusively in general practice. Psychiatrists point out that general practitioners’ (GPs’) treatment of depression is insufficient and a collaborative care (CC) model between general practice and psychiatry has been proposed to overcome this. However, for successful implementation, a CC model demands shared agreement about the concept of depression and the diagnostic process in the two sectors. We aimed to explore how depression is understood by GPs and clinical psychiatrists. We carried out qualitative in-depth interviews with 11 psychiatrists and 12 GPs. Analysis was made by Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. We found that the two groups of physicians differed considerably in their views on the usefulness of the concept of depression and in their language and narrative styles when telling stories about depressed patients. The differences were captured in three polarities which expressed the range of experiences in the two groups. Psychiatrists considered the diagnosis of depression as a pragmatic and agreed construct and they did not question its validity. GPs thought depression was a “gray area” and questioned the clinical utility in general practice. Nevertheless, GPs felt a demand from psychiatry to make their diagnosis based on instruments created in psychiatry, whereas psychiatrists based their diagnosis on clinical impression but used instruments to assess severity. GPs were wholly skeptical about instruments which they felt could be misleading. The different understandings could possibly lead to a clash of interests in any proposed CC model. The findings provide fertile ground for organizational research into the actual implementation of cooperation between sectors to explore how differences are dealt with.
doi:10.3402/qhw.v9.24866
PMCID: PMC4224702  PMID: 25381757
Depression; clinical utility; rating scales; collaborative care; psychiatry; general practice
4.  General practitioners and psychiatrists: comparison of attitudes to depression using the depression attitude questionnaire. 
BACKGROUND. Variation in the management of depression may be linked to doctors' attitudes to depression. AIM. A study was undertaken comparing the attitudes to depression between general practitioners and psychiatrists. METHOD. A sample of 74 general practitioners and 65 psychiatrists in Wales was surveyed by postal questionnaire. Attitudes were assessed by the depression attitude questionnaire and patient management was assessed by a questionnaire on prescribing practice. RESULTS. General practitioners differed significantly from psychiatrists in attitudes, particularly in areas covering professional ease in dealing with patients with depression and identification of depression. Those general practitioners who reported use of low antidepressant doses were significantly more likely than general practitioners prescribing standard doses to believe in psychotherapeutic treatments. Users of short-term continuation therapy expressed a lack of therapeutic optimism and comfort in dealing with depressed patients. CONCLUSION. General practitioners and psychiatrists differ significantly in their attitudes to depression. The attitudes which vary among general practitioners reflect practice. The depression attitude questionnaire may prove useful in indicating how educational initiatives to improve primary care detection and management should be directed.
PMCID: PMC1239142  PMID: 7702889
5.  Cross-sectional study of attitudes about suicide among psychiatrists in Shanghai 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:87.
Background
Attitudes and knowledge about suicide may influence psychiatrists’ management of suicidal patients but there has been little research about this issue in China.
Methods
We used the Scale of Public Attitudes about Suicide (SPAS) – a 47-item scale developed and validated in China – to assess knowledge about suicide and seven specific attitudes about suicide in a sample of 187 psychiatrists from six psychiatric hospitals in Shanghai. The results were compared to those of 548 urban community members (assessed in a previous study).
Results
Compared to urban community members, psychiatrists were more likely to believe that suicide can be prevented and that suicide is an important social problem but they had more stigmatizing beliefs about suicidal individuals and felt less empathy for them. The belief that suicide can be prevented was more common among female psychiatrists than male psychiatrists but male psychiatrists felt more empathy for suicidal individuals. Only 37% of the psychiatrists correctly agreed that talking about suicide-related issues with an individual would not precipitate suicidal behavior and only 41% correctly agreed that those who state that they intend to kill themselves may actually do so.
Conclusions
Many psychiatrists in Shanghai harbor negative attitudes about suicidal individuals and are concerned that directly addressing the issue with patients will increase the risk of suicide. Demographic factors, educational status and work experience are associated with psychiatrists’ attitudes about suicide and, thus, need to be considered when training psychiatrists about suicide prevention.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-87
PMCID: PMC3987172  PMID: 24666549
Suicide; Attitudes; Psychiatrists; China
6.  Choice of antidepressants: questionnaire survey of psychiatrists and general practitioners in two areas of Sweden. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1994;309(6968):1546-1549.
OBJECTIVE--To identify factors that affect physicians' choice of specific antidepressant drugs in order to evaluate the validity of epidemiological studies of the risks (particularly suicide) and benefits of different compounds. DESIGN--Questionnaire survey of 264 psychiatrists and general practitioners in an urban area and a rural area of Sweden with validation of data by independent prescription surveys. SETTING--Urban area of greater Stockholm and rural county of Jämtland, Sweden. SUBJECTS--228 physicians (86%) who answered the questionnaire. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--The drugs used as first line drugs of choice, as drugs of choice in particularly severe depression, and as drugs of choice for disorders other than depression. RESULTS--Amitriptyline was the most common first line drug of choice among both psychiatrists and general practitioners. The patterns of choice of antidepressants in the two areas accorded with prescribing patterns in two independent prescription surveys. Amitriptyline was chosen even more frequently for severe depression and depression with severe insomnia. Clomipramine was chosen comparatively more often for depression with severe anxiety. Low toxicity compounds (mainly lofepramine, mianserin, and moclobemide) were more often the drug of choice in depression associated with overt risk of suicide. Amitriptyline and clomipramine were used extensively for disorders other than depression (40% and 54% of prescriptions, compared with 13-19% for some other major antidepressants). CONCLUSION--Patient groups treated with different antidepressant compounds may not be comparable with respect to diagnoses and severity of disease. In particular, lofepramine, mianserin, and moclobemide, and possibly amitriptyline, seem to be chosen more often for patients prone to suicide.
PMCID: PMC2541721  PMID: 7819894
7.  Roles and practices of general practitioners and psychiatrists in management of depression in the community 
Background
Little is known about depressed patients' profiles and how they are managed. The aim of the study is to compare GPs and psychiatrists for 1°) sociodemographic and clinical profile of their patients considered as depressed 2°) patterns of care provision.
Methods
The study design is an observational cross-sectional study on a random sample of GPs and psychiatrists working in France. Consecutive inclusion of patients seen in consultation considered as depressed by the physician. GPs enrolled 6,104 and psychiatrists 1,433 patients. Data collected: sociodemographics, psychiatric profile, environmental risk factors of depression and treatment. All clinical data were collected by participating physicians; there was no direct independent clinical assessment of patients to check the diagnosis of depressive disorder.
Results
Compared to patients identified as depressed by GPs, those identified by psychiatrists were younger, more often urban (10.5% v 5.4% – OR = 2.4), educated (42.4% v 25.4% – OR = 3.9), met DSM-IV criteria for depression (94.6% v 85.6% – OR = 2.9), had been hospitalized for depression (26.1% v 15.6% – OR = 2.0) and were younger at onset of depressive problems (all adjusted p < .001). No difference was found for psychiatric and somatic comorbidity, suicide attempt and severity of current depression.
Compared to GPs, psychiatrists more often prescribed tricyclics and very novel antidepressants (7.8% v 2.3% OR = 5.0 and 6.8% v 3.0% OR = 3.8) with longer duration of antidepressant treatment. GPs' patients received more "non-conventional" treatment (8.8% v 2.4% OR = 0.3) and less psychotherapy (72.2% v 89.1% OR = 3.1) (all adjusted p < .001).
Conclusion
Differences between patients mainly concerned educational level and area of residence with few differences regarding clinical profile. Differences between practices of GPs and psychiatrists appear to reflect more the organization of the French care system than the competence of providers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-7-5
PMCID: PMC1388221  PMID: 16445855
8.  Lay people's attitudes to treatment of depression: results of opinion poll for Defeat Depression Campaign just before its launch. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1996;313(7061):858-859.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the attitudes of the general public towards depression before the Defeat Depression Campaign of the Royal Colleges of Psychiatrists and General Practitioners; these results form the baseline to assess the change in attitudes brought about by the campaign. DESIGN: Group discussions generated data for initial qualitative research. The quantitative survey comprised a doorstep survey of 2003 people in 143 places around the United Kingdom. RESULTS: The lay public in general seemed to be sympathetic to those with depression but reluctant to consult. Most (1704 (85%)) believed counselling to be effective but were against antidepressants. Many subjects (1563 (78%)) regarded antidepressants as addictive. CONCLUSIONS: Although people are sympathetic towards those with depression, they may project their prejudices about depression on to the medical profession. Doctors have an important role in educating the public about depression and the rationale for antidepressant treatment. In particular, patients should know that dependence is not a problem with antidepressants.
PMCID: PMC2359082  PMID: 8870574
9.  Physicians who experience sickness certification as a work environmental problem: where do they work and what specific problems do they have? A nationwide survey in Sweden 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000704.
Objectives
In a recent study, 11% of the Swedish physicians below 65 years dealing with sickness certification tasks (SCT) experienced SCT to a great extent as a work environment problem (WEP). This study aimed at exploring which SCT problems those physicians experienced and if these problems varied between general practitioners (GPs), psychiatrists, orthopaedists and physicians working at other types of clinics.
Design
A cross-sectional nationwide questionnaire study.
Setting
All physicians working in Sweden in 2008.
Participants
The 1554 physicians <65 years old, working in a clinical setting, having SCT and stating SCT to a great extent being a WEP.
Outcome measures
Frequency of possibly problematic situations or lack of time, reasons for sickness certifying unnecessarily long, experience of difficulties in contacts with sickness insurance offices, and severity of experienced problems.
Results
In all, 79% of this group of physicians experienced SCT as problematic at least once weekly, significantly higher proportion among GPs (p<0.001) and psychiatrists (p=0.005). A majority (at most 68.3%) experienced lack of time daily, when handling SCT, the proportion being significantly higher among orthopaedists (p=0.003, 0.007 and 0.011 on three respective items about lack of time). Among psychiatrists, a significantly higher proportion (p<0.001) stated wanting a patient coordinator. Also, GPs agreed to a higher extent (p<0.001) to finding 14 different SCT tasks as ‘very problematic’.
Conclusions
The main problem among physicians who experience SCT to a great extent as a WEP was lack of time related to SCT. The proportion of physicians experiencing problems varied in many aspects significantly between the different work clinics; however, GPs were among the highest in most types of problems. The results indicate that measures for improving physicians' sickness certification practices should be focused on organisational as well as professional level and that the needs in these aspects differ between specialties.
Article summary
Article focus
A study of the minority of physicians who state sickness certification tasks to a great extent being a work environment problem.
What problems do these physicians experience in relation to sickness certification?
Do the experienced problems vary with type of work clinic/specialty?
Key messages
A vast majority of these physicians experienced daily lack of time when handling sickness certification tasks.
About half of these physicians found it very problematic to assess level of work incapacity, to manage the two roles as the patient's physician and as a medical expert, and to provide the Social Insurance Office with more extensive sickness certificates.
Measures for improving physicians' sickness certification practices should be focused on organisational as well as professional levels and might need to differ between specialties.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The study was based on a questionnaire sent to all 37 000 physicians in a whole country, and the response rate (61%) could be regarded as relatively high.
Only one question about work environment was included.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000704
PMCID: PMC3293140  PMID: 22382120
10.  Effectiveness of an educational strategy to improve family physicians' detection and management of depression: a randomized controlled trial 
BACKGROUND: Depression, a common disorder often treated by family physicians, may be both underdiagnosed and undertreated. The objective of this study was to determine whether the diagnosis and treatment of depression by family physicians could be improved through an educational strategy. METHODS: In this study, conducted between July and December 1997, 42 family physicians in Newfoundland were randomly assigned to an intervention group (3-hour case-based educational session on clinical practice guidelines [CPGs] for depression and access to a psychiatrist for consultation) or to a control group (receipt of CPGs without educational session or access to the psychiatrist). Physicians were asked to keep a log of patients with newly diagnosed depression and to record information on severity of depression, medications and referrals to mental health professionals. Patients were asked to complete the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale before treatment and after 6 months of follow-up. The primary outcome measure was the "gain" score (difference between first and last CES-D scores). RESULTS: During the study period physicians in the intervention group diagnosed 91 new cases of depression (mean 4.1 per physician) and those in the control group diagnosed 56 (mean 2.8 per physician); the difference was not significant. Most patients (91.2% in the intervention group and 89.3% in the control group received a prescription for an antidepressant on their first visit. Similar proportions (46.2% in the intervention group and 37.5% in the control group) took their medication for the full 6 months; however, significantly more patients in the intervention group were taking an antidepressant at the 6-month follow-up (56% v. 39.3%, p = 0.02). The mean number of visits per patient was similar in the 2 groups (7.7 in the intervention group and 7.6 in the control group). Physicians in the intervention group consulted the psychiatrist 9 times. The overall rate of referrals to psychiatrists and other mental health professionals was 10.9%; however, referrals were significantly higher in the intervention group (15.4% v. 3.5%, p = 0.05). After 6 months of follow-up, a significant difference in gain scores was detected between the intervention and control groups for both the patient's self-rated CES-D scores (mean gain score 19.3 v. 15.5 respectively, p = 0.04) and the physicians' ratings of depression severity before treatment and at 6 months (mean gain 1.1 v. 0.7 respectively, p = 0.02). INTERPRETATION: The educational strategy had a modest beneficial effect on the outcomes of patients with depression, but there are still concerns regarding the low rates of drug treatment and referral to mental health professionals by family physicians.
PMCID: PMC1232647  PMID: 10420862
11.  Melancholic and reactive depression: a reappraisal of old categories 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:311.
Background
The dominant diagnostic model of the classification of depression today is unitarian; however, since Kurt Schneider (1920) introduced the concept of endogenous depression and reactive depression, the binary model has still often been used on a clinical basis. Notwithstanding this, to our knowledge, there have been no collective data on how psychiatrists differentiate these two conditions. We therefore conducted a survey to examine how psychiatrists in Japan differentiate patients with major depressive disorder who present mainly with melancholic features and those with reactive features.
Methods
Three case scenarios of melancholic and reactive depression, and one-in-between were prepared. These cases were designed to present with at least 5 symptoms listed in the DSM-IV-TR with severity being mild. We have sent the questionnaires regarding treatment options and diagnosis for those three cases on a 7-point Likert scale (1 = “not appropriate”, 4 = “cannot tell”, and 7 = “appropriate”). Five hundred and two psychiatrists from over one hundred hospitals and community clinics throughout Japan have participated in this survey.
Results
The melancholic case resulted significantly higher than the reactive case on either antidepressants (mean ± SD: 5.9 ± 1.2 vs. 3.6 ± 1.7, p < 0.001), hypnotics (mean ± SD: 5.5 ± 1.1 vs. 5.0 ± 1.3, p < 0.001), and electroconvulsive therapy (mean ± SD: 1.5 ± 0.9 vs. 1.2 ± 0.6, p < 0.001). On the other hand, the reactive case resulted in significantly higher scores compared to the melancholic case and the one- in-between cases in regards to psychotherapy (mean ± SD: 4.9 ± 1.4 vs. 4.3 ± 1.4 vs. 4.7 ± 1.5, p < 0.001, respectively). Scores for informing patients that they suffered from “depression” were significantly higher in the melancholic case, compared to the reactive case (mean ± SD: 4.7 ± 1.7 vs. 2.2 ± 1.4, p < 0.001).
Conclusions
Japanese psychiatrists distinguish between major depressive disorder with melancholic and reactive features, and thus choose different treatment strategies regarding pharmacological treatment and psychotherapy.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-311
PMCID: PMC3840623  PMID: 24237589
Antidepressant; Diagnosis; Melancholic depression; Newcastle scale; Reactive depression
12.  Muslim women having abortions in Canada 
Canadian Family Physician  2011;57(4):e134-e138.
Abstract
Objective
To improve understanding of the attitudes, beliefs, and experiences of Muslim patients presenting for abortion.
Design
Exploratory study in which participants completed questionnaires about their attitudes, beliefs, and experiences.
Setting
Two urban, free-standing abortion clinics.
Participants
Fifty-three self-identified Muslim patients presenting for abortion.
Main outcome measures
Women’s background, beliefs, and attitudes toward their religion and toward abortion; levels of anxiety, depression, and guilt, scored on a scale of 0 to 10; and degree of pro-choice or anti-choice attitude toward abortion, assessed by having respondents identify under which circumstances a woman should be able to have an abortion.
Results
The 53 women in this study were a diverse group, aged 17 to 47 years, born in 17 different countries, with a range of beliefs and attitudes toward abortion. As found in previous studies, women who were less pro-choice (identified fewer acceptable reasons to have an abortion) had higher anxiety and guilt scores than more pro-choice women did: 6.9 versus 4.9 (P = .01) and 6.9 versus 3.6 (P = .004), respectively. Women who said they strongly agreed that abortion was against Islamic principles also had higher anxiety and guilt scores: 9.3 versus 5.9 (P = .03) and 9.5 versus 5.3 (P = .03), respectively.
Conclusion
Canadian Muslim women presenting for abortion come from many countries and schools of Islam. The group of Muslim women that we surveyed was so diverse that no generalizations can be made about them. Their attitudes toward abortion ranged from being completely pro-choice to believing abortion is wrong unless it is done to save a woman’s life. Many said they found their religion to be a source of comfort as well as a source of guilt, turning to prayer and meditation to cope with their feelings about the abortion. It is important that physicians caring for Muslim women understand that their patients come from a variety of backgrounds and can have widely differing beliefs. It might be helpful to be aware that patients who hold more anti-choice beliefs are likely to experience more anxiety and guilt related to their abortion than pro-choice patients do.
PMCID: PMC3076497  PMID: 21626898
13.  General Practitioners' Choices and Their Determinants When Starting Treatment for Major Depression: A Cross Sectional, Randomized Case-Vignette Survey 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52429.
Background
In developed countries, primary care physicians manage most patients with depression. Relatively few studies allow a comprehensive assessment of the decisions these doctors make in these cases and the factors associated with these decisions. We studied how general practitioners (GPs) manage the acute phase of a new episode of non-comorbid major depression (MD) and the factors associated with their decisions.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this cross-sectional telephone survey, professional investigators interviewed an existing panel of randomly selected GPs (1249/1431, response rate: 87.3%). We used case-vignettes about new MD episodes in 8 versions differing by patient gender and socioeconomic status (blue/white collar) and disease intensity (mild/severe). GPs were randomized to receive one of these 8 versions. Overall, 82.6% chose pharmacotherapy; among them GPs chose either an antidepressant (79.8%) or an anxiolytic/hypnotic alone (18.5%). They rarely recommended referral for psychotherapy alone, regardless of severity, but 38.2% chose it in combination with pharmacotherapy. Antidepressant prescription was associated with severity of depression (OR = 1.74; 95%CI = 1.33–2.27), patient gender (female, OR = 0.75; 95%CI = 0.58–0.98), GP personal characteristics (e.g. history of antidepressant treatment: OR = 2.31; 95%CI = 1.41–3.81) and GP belief that antidepressants are overprescribed in France (OR = 0.63; 95%CI = 0.48–0.82). The combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy was associated with severity of depression (OR = 1.82; 95%CI = 1.31–2.52), patient's white-collar status (OR = 1.58; 95%CI = 1.14–2.18), and GPs' dissatisfaction with cooperation with mental health specialists (OR = 0.63; 95%CI = 0.45–0.89). These choices were not associated with either GPs' professional characteristics or psychiatrist density in the GP's practice areas.
Conclusions/Significance
GPs' choices for treating severe MD complied with clinical guidelines better than those for mild MD; GPs rarely recommended psychotherapy alone but rather as a complement to pharmacotherapy. Their decisions were mainly influenced by personal life experience and attitudes regarding treatment more than by professional characteristics. These results call into question the methods and content of continuing medical education in France about MD management.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052429
PMCID: PMC3525552  PMID: 23272243
14.  Experiences and barriers to implementation of clinical practice guideline for depression in Korea 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:150.
Background
Clinical guidelines can improve health-care delivery, but there are a number of challenges in adopting and implementing the current practice guidelines for depression. The aim of this study was to determine clinical experiences and perceived barriers to the implementation of these guidelines in psychiatric care.
Methods
A web-based survey was conducted with 386 psychiatric specialists to inquire about experiences and attitudes related to the depression guidelines and barriers influencing the use of the guidelines. Quantitative data were analyzed, and qualitative data were transcribed and coded manually.
Results
Almost three quarters of the psychiatrists (74.6%) were aware of the clinical guidelines for depression, and over half of participants (55.7%) had had clinical experiences with the guidelines in practice. The main reported advantages of the guidelines were that they helped in clinical decision making and provided informative resources for the patients and their caregivers. Despite this, some psychiatrists were making treatment decisions that were not in accordance with the depression guidelines. Lack of knowledge was the main obstacle to the implementation of guidelines assessed by the psychiatrists. Other complaints addressed difficulties in accessing the guidelines, lack of support for mental health services, and general attitudes toward guideline necessity. Overall, the responses suggested that adding a summary booklet, providing teaching sessions, and improving guidance delivery systems could be effective tools for increasing depression guideline usage.
Conclusion
Individual barriers, such as lack of awareness and lack of familiarity, and external barriers, such as the supplying system, can affect whether physicians’ implement the guidelines for the treatment of depression in Korea. These findings suggest that further medical education to disseminate guidelines contents could improve public health for depression.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-150
PMCID: PMC3681685  PMID: 23705908
Depressive disorder; Practice guidelines; Health care surveys; Questionnaires
15.  Differing mental health practice among general practitioners, private psychiatrists and public psychiatrists 
BMC Public Health  2005;5:104.
Background
Providing care for mental health problems concerns General Practitioners (GPs), Private Psychiatrists (PrPs) and Public Psychiatrists (PuPs). As patient distribution and patterns of practice among these professionals are not well known, a survey was planned prior to a re-organisation of mental health services in an area close to Paris
Methods
All GPs (n = 492), PrPs (n = 82) and PuPs (n = 78) in the South-Yvelines area in France were informed of the implementation of a local mental health program. Practitioners interested in taking part were invited to include prospectively all patients with mental health problem they saw over an 8-day period and to complete a 6-month retrospective questionnaire on their mental health practice. 180 GPs (36.6%), 45 PrPs (54.9%) and 63 PuPs (84.0%) responded.
Results
GPs and PrPs were very similar but very different from PuPs for the proportion of patients with anxious or depressive disorders (70% v. 65% v. 38%, p < .001), psychotic disorders (5% v. 7% v. 30%, p < .001), previous psychiatric hospitalization (22% v. 26 v. 61%, p < .001) and receiving disability allowance (16% v. 18% v. 52%, p < .001). GPs had fewer patients with long-standing psychiatric disorders than PrPs and PuPs (52%, 64% v. 63%, p < .001). Time-lapse between consultations was longest for GPs, intermediate for PuPs and shortest for PrPs (36 days v. 26 v. 18, p < .001). Access to care had been delayed longer for Psychiatrists (PrPs, PuPs) than for GPs (61% v. 53% v. 25%, p < .001). GPs and PuPs frequently felt a need for collaboration for their patients, PrPs rarely (42% v. 61%. v. 10%, p < .001).
Satisfaction with mental health practice was low for all categories of physicians (42.6% encountered difficulties hospitalizing patients and 61.4% had patients they would prefer not to cater for). GPs more often reported unsatisfactory relationships with mental health professionals than did PrPs and PuPs (54% v. 15% v. 8%, p < .001).
Conclusion
GP patients with mental health problems are very similar to patients of private psychiatrists; there is a lack of the collaboration felt to be necessary, because of psychiatrists' workload, and because GPs have specific needs in this respect. The "Yvelines-Sud Mental Health Network" has been created to enhance collaboration.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-5-104
PMCID: PMC1266376  PMID: 16212666
16.  Perceived competence and attitudes towards patients with suicidal behaviour: a survey of general practitioners, psychiatrists and internists 
Background
Competence and attitudes to suicidal behaviour among physicians are important to provide high-quality care for a large patient group. The aim was to study different physicians’ attitudes towards suicidal behaviour and their perceived competence to care for suicidal patients.
Methods
A random selection (n = 750) of all registered General Practitioners, Psychiatrists and Internists in Norway received a questionnaire. The response rate was 40%. The Understanding of Suicidal Patients Scale (USP; scores < 23 = positive attitude) and items about suicide in case of incurable illness from the Attitudes Towards Suicide Questionnaire were used. Five-point Likert scales were used to measure self-perceived competence, level of commitment, empathy and irritation felt towards patients with somatic and psychiatric diagnoses. Questions about training were included.
Results
The physicians held positive attitudes towards suicide attempters (USP = 20.3, 95% CI: 19.6–20.9). Internists and males were significantly less positive. There were no significant differences in the physicians in their attitudes toward suicide in case of incurable illness according to specialty. The physicians were most irritated and less committed to substance misuse patients. Self perceived competence was relatively high. Forty-three percent had participated in courses about suicide assessment and treatment.
Conclusions
The physicians reported positive attitudes and relatively high competence. They were least committed to treat patients with substance misuse. None of the professional groups thought that patients with incurable illness should be given help to commit suicide.
Further customized education with focus on substance misuse might be useful.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-208
PMCID: PMC4048050  PMID: 24886154
Attitudes; Incurable illness; Substance misuse; Suicide attempt; Physicians
17.  Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Relationships Between Insight and Attitudes Toward Medication and Clinical Outcomes in Chronic Schizophrenia 
Schizophrenia Bulletin  2008;35(2):336-346.
Background: We evaluated the cross-sectional and longitudinal association of measures of both insight and attitudes toward medication to outcomes that included psychopathology and community functioning. Methods: Clinical Antipsychotic Trial of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) was a large 18-month follow-up study pharmacotherapy of people with schizophrenia. Insight was measured using the Insight and Treatment Attitudes Questionnaire and attitudes toward medication by the Drug Attitude Inventory. Widely known scales were used to assess symptoms of schizophrenia and depression and community functioning. Medication adherence was globally assessed by the treating psychiatrist using several sources of information. Bivariate correlations and mixed model regression analyses were used to test the relationship of insight and medication attitudes to outcomes at baseline and during the follow-up period. Regression models were used to evaluate the relationship between change in insight and medication attitudes and changes outcomes. Results: There was a significant relationship at baseline between insight and drug attitudes and symptoms of schizophrenia and depression, as well as with community functioning. Higher levels of insight at baseline were significantly associated with lower levels of schizophrenia symptoms at follow-up while more positive medication attitudes were significantly associated with both lower symptom levels and better community functioning. Change in insight scores over time was associated with declining schizophrenia symptoms but increasing levels of depression. Change toward more positive medication attitudes was associated, independently of changes in insight, with significant decreases in psychopathology, improvement in community functioning, and greater medication compliance. Conclusion: Greater patient understanding of their illness and more positive attitudes toward medication may improve outcomes. Educational interventions that affect these attitudes may be an important part of psychosocial rehabilitation and/or recovery-oriented services.
doi:10.1093/schbul/sbn067
PMCID: PMC2659303  PMID: 18586692
schizophrenia; insight; medication attitude; social functioning; quality of life
18.  Acupuncture and Counselling for Depression in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(9):e1001518.
In a randomized controlled trial, Hugh MacPherson and colleagues investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture and counseling compared with usual care alone for the treatment of depression symptoms in primary care settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Depression is a significant cause of morbidity. Many patients have communicated an interest in non-pharmacological therapies to their general practitioners. Systematic reviews of acupuncture and counselling for depression in primary care have identified limited evidence. The aim of this study was to evaluate acupuncture versus usual care and counselling versus usual care for patients who continue to experience depression in primary care.
Methods and Findings
In a randomised controlled trial, 755 patients with depression (Beck Depression Inventory BDI-II score ≥20) were recruited from 27 primary care practices in the North of England. Patients were randomised to one of three arms using a ratio of 2∶2∶1 to acupuncture (302), counselling (302), and usual care alone (151). The primary outcome was the difference in mean Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) scores at 3 months with secondary analyses over 12 months follow-up. Analysis was by intention-to-treat.
PHQ-9 data were available for 614 patients at 3 months and 572 patients at 12 months. Patients attended a mean of ten sessions for acupuncture and nine sessions for counselling. Compared to usual care, there was a statistically significant reduction in mean PHQ-9 depression scores at 3 months for acupuncture (−2.46, 95% CI −3.72 to −1.21) and counselling (−1.73, 95% CI −3.00 to −0.45), and over 12 months for acupuncture (−1.55, 95% CI −2.41 to −0.70) and counselling (−1.50, 95% CI −2.43 to −0.58). Differences between acupuncture and counselling were not significant. In terms of limitations, the trial was not designed to separate out specific from non-specific effects. No serious treatment-related adverse events were reported.
Conclusions
In this randomised controlled trial of acupuncture and counselling for patients presenting with depression, after having consulted their general practitioner in primary care, both interventions were associated with significantly reduced depression at 3 months when compared to usual care alone.
Trial Registration
Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN63787732
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Depression–overwhelming sadness and hopelessness–is responsible for a substantial proportion of the global disease burden and is a major cause of suicide. It affects more than 350 million people worldwide and about one in six people will have an episode of depression during their lifetime. Depression is different from everyday mood fluctuations. For people who are clinically depressed, feelings of severe sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, and worthlessness can last for months and years. Affected individuals lose interest in activities they used to enjoy and sometimes have physical symptoms such as disturbed sleep. Clinicians can diagnose depression and determine its severity by asking patients to complete a questionnaire (for example, the Beck Depression Inventory [BDI-II] or the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 [PHQ-9]) about their feelings and symptoms. The answer to each question is given a score and the total score from the questionnaire (“depression rating scale”) indicates the severity of depression. Antidepressant drugs are usually the front-line treatment for depression in primary care.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unfortunately, antidepressants don't work for more than half of patients. Moreover, many patients would like to be offered non-pharmacological treatment options for depression such as acupuncture–a therapy originating from China in which fine needles are inserted into the skin at specific points of the body–and counseling–a “talking therapy” that provides patients with a safe, non-judgmental place to express feelings and emotions and that helps them recognize their capacity for growth and fulfillment. However, it is unclear whether either of these treatments is effective in depression. In this pragmatic randomized controlled trial, the researchers investigate the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture or counseling in patients with depression compared to usual care in primary care in northern England. A randomized controlled trial compares outcomes in groups of patients who are assigned to different interventions through the play of chance. A pragmatic trial asks whether the intervention works under real-life conditions. Patient selection reflects routine practice and some aspects of the intervention are left to the discretion of clinician, By contrast, an explanatory trial asks whether an intervention works under ideal conditions and involves a strict protocol for patient selection and treatment.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited 755 patients who had consulted their primary health care provider about depression within the past 5 years and who had a score of more than 20 on the BDI-II–a score that is defined as moderate-to-severe depression on this depression rating scale–at the start of the study. Patients were randomized to receive up to 12 weekly sessions of acupuncture plus usual care (302 patients), up to 12 weekly sessions of counseling plus usual care (302 patients), or usual care alone (151 patients). Both the acupuncture protocol and the counseling protocols allowed for some individualization of treatment. Usual care, including antidepressants, was available according to need and monitored in all three groups. Compared to usual care alone, there was a significant reduction (a reduction unlikely to have occurred by chance) in the average PHQ-9 scores at both 3 and 6 months for both the acupuncture and counseling interventions. The difference between the mean PHQ-9 score for acupuncture and counseling was not significant. At 9 months and 12 months, because of improvements in the PHQ-9 scores in the usual care group, acupuncture and counseling were no longer significantly better than usual care.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, compared to usual care alone, both acupuncture and counseling when provided alongside usual care provided significant benefits at 3 months in primary care to patients with recurring depression. Because this trial was a pragmatic trial, these findings cannot indicate which aspects of acupuncture and counseling are likely to be most or least beneficial. Nevertheless they do provide an estimate of the overall effects of these complex interventions, an estimate that is of most interest to patients, practitioners, and health care providers. Moreover, because this trial only considers the effect of these interventions on patients with moderate-to-severe depression as classified by the BDI-II; it provides no information about the effectiveness of acupuncture or counseling compared to usual care for patients with mild depression. Importantly, however, these findings suggest that further research into optimal treatment regimens for the treatment of depression with acupuncture and counseling is merited.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001518.
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about depression, including personal stories about depression, and information on counseling and acupuncture
The UK charity Mind provides information on depression, on talking treatments, and on complementary and alternative therapies including acupuncture; Mind also includes personal stories about depression on its website
More personal stories about depression are available from Healthtalkonline
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about depression and about acupuncture (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001518
PMCID: PMC3782410  PMID: 24086114
19.  Training Latin American primary care physicians in the WPA module on depression: results of a multicenter trial 
Psychological medicine  2005;35(1):35-45.
Background
In order to improve care for people with depressive disorders and to reduce the increasing burden of depression, the American Regional Office of the World Health Organization has launched a major region-wide initiative. A central part of this effort was directed to the primary care system where the diagnosis and treatment of depression are deficient in many countries. This study evaluated the materials developed by the World Psychiatric Association in a training program on depression among primary care physicians by measuring changes in their knowledge, attitudes, and practice (KAP).
Method
One hundred and seven physicians and 6174 patients from five Latin American countries participated in the trial. KAP were assessed 1 month before and 1 month following the training program. In addition, the presence of depressive symptoms was measured in patients who visited the clinic during a typical week at both times using the Zung Depression Scale and a DSM-IV/ICD-10 major depression checklist.
Results
The program slightly improved knowledge about depression and modified some attitudes, but had limited impact on actual practice. There was no evidence that the diagnosis of depression was made more frequently, nor was there an improvement in psychopharmacological management. The post-training agreement between physician diagnosis and that based on patient self-report remained low. The physicians, however, seemed more confident in treating depressed patients after training, and referred fewer patients to psychiatrists.
Conclusions
Traditional means of training primary care physicians in depression have little impact on clinical practice regardless of the quality of the teaching materials.
doi:10.1017/S0033291704002764
PMCID: PMC2723767  PMID: 15842027
20.  Primary care physicians' and psychiatrists' approaches to treating mild depression 
Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica  2012;126(5):385-392.
Objective
To measure how primary care physicians (PCPs) and psychiatrists treat mild depression.
Method
We surveyed a national sample of US PCPs and psychiatrists using a vignette of a 52-year-old man with depressive symptoms not meeting Major Depressive Episode criteria. Physicians were asked how likely they were to recommend an antidepressant counseling, combined medication, and counseling or to make a psychiatric referral.
Results
Response rate was 896/1427 PCPs and 312/487 for psychiatrists. Compared with PCPs, psychiatrists were more likely to recommend an antidepressant (70% vs. 56%), counseling (86% vs. 54%), or the combination of medication and counseling (61% vs. 30%). More psychiatrists (44%) than PCPs (15%) were `very likely' to promote psychiatric referral. PCPs who frequently attended religious services were less likely (than infrequent attenders) to refer the patient to a psychiatrist (12% vs. 18%); and more likely to recommend increased involvement in meaningful relationships/activities (50% vs. 41%) and religious community (33% vs. 17%).
Conclusion
Psychiatrists treat mild depression more aggressively than PCPs. Both are inclined to use antidepressants for patients with mild depression.
doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.2012.01887.x
PMCID: PMC3622733  PMID: 22616640
depression; primary health care; psychotherapy; antidepressant
21.  TELEPHONE-DELIVERED COLLABORATIVE-CARE FOR TREATING POST-CABG DEPRESSION: A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL 
Context
Depressive symptoms commonly follow coronary artery bypass (CABG) surgery and are associated with worse clinical outcomes.
Objective
To test the effectiveness of telephone-delivered collaborative care for post-CABG depression versus doctors’ usual care.
Design
Single-blind effectiveness trial.
Setting
Seven Pittsburgh-area university-based and community hospitals.
Participants
302 depressed post-CABG patients and a non-depressed comparison group of 151 randomly sampled post-CABG patients recruited between 3/2004 and 9/2007 and followed as outpatients.
Intervention
8-Months of telephone-delivered collaborative care provided by nurses working with patients’ primary care physicians and supervised by a study psychiatrist and study primary care physician.
Main Outcome Measures
Mental health-related quality of life (HRQoL) as measured by the SF-36 MCS at 8-months follow-up; secondary outcome measures included mood symptoms (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRS-D)), physical HRQoL (SF-36 PCS) and functioning (Duke Activity Status Index (DASI)); and hospital readmissions.
Results
Depressed intervention patients (N=150) reported greater improvements (all P ≤ 0.02) in mental HRQoL (SF-36 MCS: Δ 3.2 points; 95% CI: 0.5–6.0), physical functioning (DASI: Δ 4.6 points; 1.9–7.3), and mood symptoms (HRS-D: Δ3.1 points (1.3–4.9); and were more likely to report a ≥ 50% decline in HRS-D score from baseline (50.0% vs. 29.6%; NNT 4.9 (3.2–10.4)) than depressed patients randomized to their physicians’ usual care (N=152) (P<0.001). Depressed men were particularly likely to benefit from the intervention (SF-36 MCS: Δ 5.7 points (2.2–9.2); P=0.001) and tended to have a lower incidence of rehospitalization for cardiovascular causes than depressed men receiving usual care (13% vs. 23%; P=0.07) or depressed women (19% vs. 11%; P=0.22). However, the mean HRQoL and physical functioning of depressed intervention patients did not reach that of our non-depressed comparison group.
Conclusions
Compared to usual care, telephone-delivered collaborative care for post-CABG depression resulted in improved HRQoL, physical functioning, and mood symptoms at 8-months follow-up.
doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1670
PMCID: PMC3010227  PMID: 19918088
Depression; coronary artery bypass surgery; randomized clinical trial; collaborative care; coronary artery disease
22.  Sanctions against sexual abuse of patients by doctors: sex differences in attitudes among young family physicians. 
OBJECTIVE: To explore attitudes of new-to-practice certified family physicians in Ontario concerning sanctions against sexual abuse of patients by physicians and to assess the importance of concern about accusations of sexual abuse in influencing clinical decisions. DESIGN: Qualitative study and cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Ontario. PARTICIPANTS: Focus groups: 34 physicians who completed family medicine residency training between 1984 and 1989 participated in seven focus groups between June and October 1992. Survey: all certificants of the College of Family Physicians of Canada who received certification between 1989 and 1991 and were currently practising in Ontario. Of the 564 eligible physicians 395 (184 men and 211 women) responded, for an overall response rate of 70.0%. The response rates among the male and female physicians were 70.5% and 69.6% respectively. OUTCOME MEASURES: Physicians' attitudes toward restricting physical examinations done by physicians to same-sex patients, mandatory reporting of sexual impropriety and loss of licence in cases of sexual violation and the perceived importance of concern about accusations of sexual abuse as an influence on clinical decisions. RESULTS: During the focus groups male physicians in particular expressed concerns about the effect on their practice patterns of the current climate regarding sexual abuse of patients. Female physicians were less concerned about possible accusations of sexual abuse but expressed concerns regarding possible sexualization of the clinical encounter by male patients. In the survey equal proportions of men (163 [93.7%]) and women (191 [92.3%]) disagreed with restricting examinations to same-sex patients. The women were more likely than the men to agree that all suspected cases of sexual impropriety committed by other physicians should be reported (121 [58.7%] v. 86 [50.0%]), whereas the men were more likely to disagree (48 [27.9%] v. 32 [15.5%]) (p = 0.008). The women were also more likely than the men to agree that physicians should lose their licence permanently if they were found guilty of sexual violation (125 [62.2%] v. 73 [43.5%]), whereas the men were more likely to disagree (61 [36.3%] v. 37 [18.4%]) (p < 0.001). Almost half of the men (80 [46.5%]) but only 28 women (14.1%) reported that concerns about accusations of sexual abuse were of importance in their clinical decisions (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Young female family physicians practising in Ontario are much more likely than their male counterparts to endorse permanent loss of licence for physicians who sexually abuse patients and are significantly less concerned about accusations against themselves. Neither sex endorses only same-sex examinations by physicians. Educational approaches to protect patients while ensuring that appropriate care continues to be delivered are essential.
PMCID: PMC1338055  PMID: 7600468
23.  Predictors of Treatments Acceptable to Patients for Late-Life Depression 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:207493.
Objectives. Describe older patients' perceptions about depression and characteristics associated with acceptance of treatments. Design. Cross-sectional study. Setting. Three primary care clinics in Iowa. Participants. Consecutive sample of 529 primary care patients. Measurements. Depression screening tool (a 9-item patient health questionnaire [PHQ-9]) and questionnaire including sociodemographic data, patient attitudes about depression, and acceptability of different treatments. Results. Mean age was 71.9 years (range 60–93 years), 314 (59%) female. Among the 529 participants, 93 (17.5%) had history of depression and 60 (11.3%) had PHQ-9 scores of 10 or greater. Participants believed depression is a disease for which they would use medication and counseling. Accepting medications from primary physicians was strongly associated with a past history of depression (P < 0.01) and with agreeing that depression needs treatment (P < 0.01). Counseling was not acceptable for those believing that they can control depression on their own (P < 0.01). Older patients (P < 0.001) and those with higher education levels (P < 0.01) were less likely to accept herbs or supplements as treatment options. Willingness to discuss treatments with family was associated with not using alcohol as a treatment and acceptance of all other treatment options (P < 0.001). Conclusions. Attitude that depression is a disease and the willingness to discuss depression with family may enhance treatment acceptance.
doi:10.1155/2013/207493
PMCID: PMC3821957  PMID: 24250257
24.  Self-reported competence, attitude and approach of physicians towards patients with dementia in ambulatory care: Results of a postal survey 
Background
Caring for patients with dementia is a demanding task. Little is known as to whether physicians feel competent enough to perform this task or whether a lack of self-perceived competence influences attitudes and professional approach. Even less is known with respect to potential differences between general practitioners (GPs) and specialists. The purpose of this study was to investigate the interrelationship between the self-perceived competence, attitude and professional approach of physicians in ambulatory care in Germany. A further aim was to compare GPs and specialists with regard to differences in these areas.
Methods
A standardised postal survey was sent to 389 GPs and 239 neurologists and psychiatrists in six metropolitan areas in Germany. The 49-item questionnaire consisted of attitudinal statements to be rated on a Likert-type scale. Return rates were 54 percent for GPs and 40 percent for specialists. Statistical methods used to analyze data included correlation analysis, cluster analysis and ordinal regression analysis.
Results
No differences were found between GPs and specialists with regard to their general attitude towards caring for patients with dementia. Approximately 15 percent of both disciplines showed a clearly negative attitude. Self-reported competence was strongly associated with general attitude. In particular among GPs, and less so among specialists, a strong positive association was found between self-reported competence, general attitude and professional approach (e.g. early detection, active case finding and cooperation with caregivers). Differences between GPs and specialists were smaller than expected and appear to predominantly reflect task differences within the German health care system.
Conclusion
Training opportunities which enable in particular GPs to enhance not only their competence but also their general attitude towards dementia care would appear to be beneficial and might carry positive consequences for patients and their caregivers.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-54
PMCID: PMC2289812  PMID: 18321394
25.  Effect of Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea on Depressive Symptoms: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(11):e1001762.
In a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Matthew James and colleagues investigate the effects of continuous positive airway pressure or mandibular advancement devices on depression.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, and decreased quality of life. Treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or mandibular advancement devices (MADs) is effective for many symptoms of OSA. However, it remains controversial whether treatment with CPAP or MAD also improves depressive symptoms.
Methods and Findings
We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that examined the effect of CPAP or MADs on depressive symptoms in patients with OSA. We searched Medline, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials, and PsycINFO from the inception of the databases until August 15, 2014, for relevant articles.
In a random effects meta-analysis of 19 identified trials, CPAP treatment resulted in an improvement in depressive symptoms compared to control, but with significant heterogeneity between trials (Q statistic, p<0.001; I2 = 71.3%, 95% CI: 54%, 82%). CPAP treatment resulted in significantly greater improvement in depressive symptoms in the two trials with a higher burden of depression at baseline (meta-regression, p<0.001). The pooled standardized mean difference (SMD) in depressive symptoms with CPAP treatment in these two trial populations with baseline depression was 2.004 (95% CI: 1.387, 2.621), compared to 0.197 (95% CI: 0.059, 0.334) for 15 trials of populations without depression at baseline. Pooled estimates of the treatment effect of CPAP were greater in parallel arm trials than in crossover trials (meta-regression, p = 0.076). Random effects meta-analysis of five trials of MADs showed a significant improvement in depressive symptoms with MADs versus controls: SMD = 0.214 (95% CI: 0.026, 0.401) without significant heterogeneity (I2 = 0%, 95% CI: 0%, 79%). Studies were limited by the use of depressive symptom scales that have not been validated specifically in people with OSA.
Conclusions
CPAP and MADs may be useful components of treatment of depressive symptoms in individuals with OSA and depression. The efficacy of CPAP and MADs compared to standard therapies for depression is unknown.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder that is particularly common among middle-aged and elderly people, although most are unaware that they have the condition. It is characterized by the occurrence of numerous brief (ten seconds or so) breathing interruptions during sleep. These “apneas” occur when relaxation of the upper airway muscles decreases airflow, which lowers the level of oxygen in the blood. Consequently, affected individuals are frequently aroused from deep sleep as they struggle to breathe. Symptoms of OSA include loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Treatments include lifestyle changes such as losing weight (excess fat around the neck increases airway collapse) and smoking cessation. Mild to moderate OSA can also be treated using a mandibular advancement device (MAD), a “splint” that fits inside the mouth and pushes the jaw and tongue forward to increase the space at the back of the throat and reduce airway narrowing. For severe OSA, doctors recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which a machine blows pressurized air into the airway through a facemask to keep it open.
Why Was This Study Done?
OSA is a serious condition that is associated with an increased risk of illness and death. Clinical depression (long-lasting, overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness), for example, is common among people with OSA. The interaction between these frequently co-morbid (co-existing) conditions is complex. The sleep disruption and weight gain that are often associated with depression could cause or worsen OSA. Conversely, OSA could trigger depression by causing sleep disruption and by inducing cognitive changes (changes in thinking) by intermittently starving the brain of oxygen. If the latter scenario is correct, then treating OSA with CPAP or MADs might improve depressive symptoms. Several trials have investigated this possibility, but their results have been equivocal. Here, the researchers undertake a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that have examined the effect of CPAP or MADs on depressive symptoms in patients with OSA to find out whether treating co-morbid OSA in patients with depression can help to treat depression. A randomized controlled trial compares the outcomes of individuals chosen to receive different interventions through the play of chance, a systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic, and meta-analysis uses statistical methods to combine the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 22 trials that investigated the effects of CPAP or MAD treatment in patients with OSA and that measured depressive symptoms before and after treatment. Meta-analysis of the results of 19 trials that provided information about the effect of CPAP on depressive symptoms indicated that CPAP improved depressive symptoms compared to the control intervention (usually sham CPAP) but revealed considerable heterogeneity (variability) between trials. Notably, CPAP treatment resulted in a greater improvement in depressive symptoms in trials in which there was a high prevalence of depression at baseline than in trials in which there was a low prevalence of depression at baseline. Moreover, the magnitude of this improvement in depressive symptoms in trials with a high prevalence of depression at baseline was large enough to be clinically relevant. Meta-analysis of five trials that provided information about the effect of MADs on depressive symptoms indicated that MADs also improved depressive symptoms compared to the control intervention (sham MAD).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that both CPAP and MAD treatment for OSA can result in modest improvements in depressive symptoms and that populations with high initial levels of depressive symptoms may reap the greatest benefits of CPAP treatment. These findings give no indication of the efficacy of CPAP and MADs compared to standard treatments for depression such as antidepressant medications. Moreover, their accuracy may be limited by methodological limitations within the trials included in the meta-analyses reported here. For example, the questionnaires used to measure depression in these trials were not validated for use in people with OSA. Further high-quality randomized controlled trials are therefore needed to confirm the findings of this systematic review and meta-analysis. For now, however, these findings suggest that the use of CPAP and MADs may help improve depressive symptoms among people with OSA.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001762.
The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has information (including several videos) about sleep apnea (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information and personal stories about obstructive sleep apnea and depression
The not-for-profit American Sleep Apnea Association provides detailed information about sleep apnea for patients and healthcare professionals, including personal stories about the condition
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression (in English and Spanish)
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America provides information about sleep disorders
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on obstructive sleep apnea; MedlinePlus provides links to further information and advice about obstructive sleep apnea and about depression (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001762
PMCID: PMC4244041  PMID: 25423175

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