Informed consent is a key element of ethical clinical research. Patients with serious mental illness may be at risk for impaired consent capacity. Corrective feedback improves within-session comprehension of consent-relevant information, but little is known about the trajectory of patients’ comprehension after the initial enrolment session.
To examine whether within-session gains in understanding after feedback were maintained between study visits and to examine stability of decisional capacity over time.
This was a longitudinal, within-participants comparison of decisional capacity assessed at baseline, 1 week, 3 months, 12 months and 24 months in 161 people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Within-session gains from corrective feedback generally dissipated over each follow-up interval. Decisional capacity showed a general pattern of stability, but there was significant between-participant heterogeneity. Better neuropsychological performance was associated with better decisional capacity across time points. Positive symptoms of schizophrenia did not predict any aspects of decisional capacity, but general psychopathology, negative symptoms and depression evidenced some modest associations with certain subdomains of decisional capacity.
Informed consent may be most effectively construed as an ongoing dialogue with participants at each study visit.
There is a growing public health interest in the aging HIV-infected (HIV+) population, although there is a dearth of research on successful aging with HIV. This study aimed to understand the risk and protective factors associated with self-rated successful aging (SRSA) with HIV.
HIV Neurobehavioral Research Program and the Stein Institute for Research on Aging at University of California, San Diego.
Eighty-three community-dwelling HIV+ and 83 demographically matched HIV-uninfected (HIV−) individuals, enrolled between 12/1/11 and 5/10/12, mean age of 59 years, primarily Caucasian males, 69% with AIDS, who had been living with an HIV diagnosis for 16 years. Diagnostic criteria for HIV/AIDS was obtained through a blood draw.
Participants provided ratings of SRSA as part of a comprehensive survey which included measures of physical and emotional functioning and positive psychological traits. Relationships between how the different variables related to SRSA were explored.
While SRSA was lower in the HIV+ individuals than their HIV− counterparts, 66% of adults with HIV reported scores of 5 or higher on a 10-point scale of SRSA. Despite worse physical and mental functioning and greater psychosocial stress among the HIV+ participants, the two groups had comparable levels of optimism, personal mastery, and social support. SRSA in HIV+ individuals was associated with better physical and emotional functioning and positive psychological factors, but not HIV disease status or negative life events.
Successful psychosocial aging is possible in older HIV+ individuals. Positive psychological traits such as resilience, optimism, and sense of personal mastery have stronger relationship with SRSA than duration or severity of HIV disease. Research on interventions to enhance these positive traits in HIV+ adults is warranted.
HIV/AIDS; successful aging; physical function; emotional function; positive psychological factors; depression
There is a well documented shortage of physician researchers, and numerous training programs have been launched to facilitate development of new physician scientists. Short-term research training programs are the most practical form of research exposure for most medical students, and the summer between their first and second years of medical school is generally the longest period they can devote solely to research. The goal of short-term training programs is to whet the students’ appetite for research and spark their interest in the field. Relatively little research has been done to test the effectiveness of short-term research training programs. In an effort to examine short-term effects of three different NIH-funded summer research training programs for medical students, we assessed the trainees’ (N=75) research self-efficacy prior to and after the programs using an 11-item scale. These hands-on training programs combined experiential, didactic, and mentoring elements. The students demonstrated a significant increase in their self-efficacy for research. Trainees’ gender, ranking of their school, type of research, and specific content of research project did not predict improvement. Effect sizes for different types of items on the scale varied, with the largest gain seen in research methodology and communication of study findings.
To determine whether late-onset schizophrenia (LOS, onset after age 40) should be considered a distinct subtype of schizophrenia.
Participants included 359 normal comparison subjects (NCs) and 854 schizophrenia outpatients age > 40 (110 LOS, 744 early-onset schizophrenia or EOS). Assessments included standardized measures of psychopathology, neurocognition, and functioning.
EOS and LOS groups differed from NCs on all measures of psychopathology and functioning, and most cognitive tests. EOS and LOS groups had similar education, severity of depressive, negative, and deficit symptoms, crystallized knowledge, and auditory working memory, but LOS patients included more women and married individuals, had less severe positive symptoms and general psychopathology, and better processing speed, abstraction, verbal memory, and everyday functioning, and were on lower antipsychotic doses. Most EOS-LOS differences remained significant after adjusting for age, gender, severity of negative or deficit symptoms, and duration of illness.
LOS should be considered a subtype of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia; aging; cognition; negative symptoms; quality of life; positive symptoms
Subthreshold Depression (StD) is common in older adults and is associated with poor self-rated health. However, the impact of StD on broader indicators of successful aging, such as positive psychological constructs, cognitive functioning, or quality of well-being, has not been assessed. We compared persons with scores above and below a predetermined threshold on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Scale for Depression (CESD) to non-depressed persons (ND) on measures of multiple domains associated with successful aging.
Cross sectional survey-based psychological assessments.
1,979 community-dwelling older women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative study.
ND was defined as a CESD score below 8, StD as a score between 8 and 15, and CESD Depression (CD) as a score of 16 or above. The study questionnaire consisted of multiple self-reported measures of positive psychological functioning (e.g., optimism, resilience), cognitive functioning and complaints, and quality of well-being. We also obtained a history of diagnosis, treatment, and hospitalization related to mental health problems.
20.2% of women met CES-D criteria for StD and 7% for CD. Women with StD had worse self-rated successful aging, worse physical and emotional functioning, lower optimism, more negative attitudes toward aging, lower personal mastery and self-efficacy, and greater anxiety and hostility than ND women, but scored better on all these measures than women with CD. StD subjects also had higher self-reported rates of previous diagnosis, treatment, and hospitalization for mental health problems than the ND group. StD subjects with depressed mood and/or anhedonia were largely similar to those without these symptoms.
Mild-moderate levels of depressive symptoms that likely fall under a general category of StD were common, and were associated with worse functioning on virtually every component of successful aging that we examined. StD represents a clinical entity that may affect the longitudinal course of successful aging for large numbers of persons and is a potential target for clinical intervention.
There is growing public health interest in understanding and promoting successful aging. While there has been some exciting empirical work on objective measures of physical health, relatively little published research combines physical, cognitive, and psychological assessments in large, randomly selected, community-based samples to assess self-rated successful aging (SRSA).
In this Successful AGing Evaluation (SAGE) study, we used a structured multi-cohort design to assess successful aging in 1,006 community-dwelling adults in San Diego County, aged 50–99 years, with over-sampling of people over 80. A modified version of random digit dialing was used to recruit subjects. Evaluations included a 25-minute phone interview followed by a comprehensive mail-in survey of physical, cognitive, and psychological domains, including SRSA (scaled from 1 [lowest] to 10 [highest]) and positive psychological traits.
In our sample with mean age of 77.3 years, the mean SRSA score was 8.2, and older age was associated with higher SRSA (R2 = 0.027), despite worsening physical and cognitive functioning. The best multiple regression model achieved, using all the potential correlates, accounted for 30% of variance in SRSA, and included resilience, depression, physical functioning, and age (entering the regression model in that order).
Resilience and depression had a significant association with SRSA with effect sizes comparable to that for physical health. While no causality can be inferred from cross-sectional data, increasing resilience and reducing depression might have as strong effects on successful aging as reducing physical disability, suggesting an important role for psychiatry in promoting successful aging.
Aging; Resilience; Optimism; Depression; Cognition; Disability
To compare longer-term safety and effectiveness of the four most commonly used atypical antipsychotics (AAPs: aripiprazole, olanzapine, quetiapine, and risperidone) in 332 patients, aged >40 years, having psychosis associated with schizophrenia, mood disorders, PTSD, or dementia, diagnosed using DSM-IV-TR criteria.
We used Equipoise-Stratified Randomization (a hybrid of Complete Randomization and Clinician’s Choice Methods) that allowed patients or their treating psychiatrists to exclude one or two of the study AAPs, because of past experience or anticipated risk. Patients were followed for up to two years, with assessments at baseline, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and every 12 weeks thereafter. Medications were administered employing open-label design and flexible dosages, but with blind raters.
(1) Primary metabolic markers (body mass index or BMI, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides), (2) % patients who stay on the randomly assigned AAP for at least 6 months, (3) Psychopathology, (4) % patients who develop Metabolic Syndrome, and (5) % patients who develop serious and non-serious adverse events.
Because of high incidence of serious adverse events, quetiapine was discontinued midway through the trial. There were significant differences among patients willing to be randomized to different AAPs, suggesting that treating clinicians tended to exclude olanzapine and prefer aripiprazole as one of the possible choices in patients with metabolic problems. Yet, the AAP groups did not differ in longitudinal changes in metabolic parameters or on most other outcome measures. Overall results suggested a high discontinuation rate (median duration 26 weeks prior to discontinuation), lack of significant improvement in psychopathology, and high cumulative incidence of metabolic syndrome (36.5% in one year) and of serious (23.7%) and non-serious (50.8%) adverse events for all AAPs in the study.
Employing a study design that closely mimicked clinical practice, we found a lack of effectiveness and a high incidence of side effects with four commonly prescribed AAPs across diagnostic groups in patients over age 40, with relatively few differences among the drugs. Caution in the use of these drugs is warranted in middle-aged and older patients.
Antipsychotic; Metabolic Syndrome; Schizophrenia; Dementia; Mood disorder; Equipoise-Stratified Randomization
Wisdom is a unique psychological trait noted since antiquity, long discussed in humanities disciplines, recently operationalized by psychology and sociology researchers, but largely unexamined in psychiatry or biology.
We discuss recent neurobiological studies related to subcomponents of wisdom identified from several published definitions/descriptions of wisdom by clinical investigators in the field – i.e., prosocial attitudes/behaviors, social decision-making/pragmatic knowledge of life, emotional homeostasis, reflection/self-understanding, value relativism/tolerance, and acknowledgement of and dealing effectively with uncertainty.
Literature overview focusing primarily on neuroimaging/brain localization and secondarily on neurotransmitters, including their genetic determinants.
Functional neuroimaging permits exploration of neural correlates of complex psychological attributes such as those proposed to comprise wisdom. The prefrontal cortex figures prominently in several wisdom subcomponents (e.g., emotional regulation, decision-making, value relativism), primarily via top-down regulation of limbic and striatal regions. The lateral prefrontal cortex facilitates calculated, reason-based decision-making, whereas the medial prefrontal cortex is implicated in emotional valence and prosocial attitudes/behaviors. Reward neurocircuitry (ventral striatum, nucleus accumbens) also appears important for promoting prosocial attitudes/behaviors. Monoaminergic activity (especially dopaminergic and serotonergic), influenced by several genetic polymorphisms, is critical to certain subcomponents of wisdom such as emotional regulation (including impulse control), decision-making, and prosocial behaviors.
We have proposed a speculative model of the neurobiology of wisdom involving fronto-striatal and fronto-limbic circuits and monoaminergic pathways. Wisdom may involve optimal balance between functions of phylogenetically more primitive brain regions (limbic system) and newer ones (prefrontal cortex). Limitations of the putative model are stressed. It is hoped that this review will stimulate further research in characterization, assessment, neurobiology, and interventions related to wisdom.
Wisdom; Neurobiology; Cognition; Emotional regulation; Resilience; Imaging; Decision making
Psychosis is common in late life and exacts enormous costs to society, affected individuals, and their caregivers. A multitude of etiologies for late-life psychosis exist, the two most prototypical being schizophrenia and psychosis of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). As such, this review will focus on the non-affective, neuropsychiatric causes of chronic psychosis in the elderly, specifically schizophrenia, delusional disorder, and the psychosis of AD and other dementias. As evidenced in this review, the current research regarding the onset and course of late-life schizophrenia reflects a more favorable prognosis than that painted by the Kraepelinian notion of schizoprenia as “dementia praecox.” Antipsychotics are useful in controlling the symptoms of late-life schizophrenia, but their use among older adults warrants increased vigilance because of older adults’ increased proclivity to side effects. Psychosocial interventions can be effective, usually in conjunction with medication. Meanwhile, psychosis of AD occurs in nearly half of people with AD and is associated with increased hospitalizations, institutionalization, caregiver distress, and mortality. Despite the profound consequences of psychotic symptoms associated with dementias, the extant literature does not afford clinicians clear, consistent guidance on how to provide optimal treatment to specific patients. Second generation antipsychotics are usually the choice treatment for psychosis, but the black box warning regarding their associated 1–2% increased absolute risk in stroke and overall mortality in patients with dementia complicates their use. Using second generation antipsychotics in low doses for brief periods and discontinuing them when possible is the best clinical practice for dementia-related psychosis. Psychosocial interventions for the treatment of psychosis with AD appear promising in empirical research, but more rigorous study is needed.
schizophrenia; psychosis; late-life; dementia; age
Attitudes toward own aging (ATOA) refers to expectations about the personal experience of aging. As of now, there is limited literature that addresses the impact of ATOA on indicators of psychological, physical, and social health. In this study, we examine associations between ATOA and several measures associated with successful aging.
A detailed cross-sectional survey questionnaire on successful aging was completed by 1,973 older women enrolled in the San Diego site of the Women's Health Initiative study. ATOA was measured using the Philadelphia Geriatric Morale Scale (PGMS)
The final sample consisted of 1151 women. The mean ATOA score was 3.8 indicating generally positive ATOA. Positive ATOA score was significantly associated with younger age, lower income, being married, higher SF-36 Physical Composite scores, higher SF-36 Mental composite scores, lower depression scores, and higher resilience scores. Approximately 40% of variance in ATOA scores was explained by successful aging-related domain scores.
Better physical and emotional functioning, greater resilience and lower depression are associated with more positive ATOA. Associations with sociodemographic traits are complex. Modifying ATOA may have potential to impact a broad range of health and successful aging related outcomes.
Attitude toward aging; Depression; Health; Social status; Spirituality; Personal mastery; Optimism
The enormous advances in genetics and genomics of the past decade have the potential to revolutionize health care, including mental health care, and bring about a system predominantly characterized by the practice of genomic and personalized medicine. We briefly review the history of genetics and genomics and present heritability estimates for major chronic diseases of aging and neuropsychiatric disorders. We then assess the extent to which the results of genetic and genomic studies are currently being leveraged clinically for disease treatment and prevention and identify priority research areas in which further work is needed. Pharmacogenomics has emerged as one area of genomics that already has had notable impacts on disease treatment and the practice of medicine. Little evidence, however, for the clinical validity and utility of predictive testing based on genomic information is available, and thus has, to some extent, hindered broader-scale preventive efforts for common, complex diseases. Furthermore, although other disease areas have had greater success in identifying genetic factors responsible for various conditions, progress in identifying the genetic basis of neuropsychiatric diseases has lagged behind. We review social, economic, and policy issues relevant to genomic medicine, and find that a new model of health care based on proactive and preventive health planning and individualized treatment will require major advances in health care policy and administration. Specifically, incentives for relevant stakeholders are critical, as are realignment of incentives and education initiatives for physicians, and updates to pertinent legislation. Moreover, the translational behavioral and public health research necessary for fully integrating genomics into health care is lacking, and further work in these areas is needed. In short, while the pace of advances in genetic and genomic science and technology has been rapid, more work is needed to fully realize the potential for impacting disease treatment and prevention generally, and mental health specifically.
genomics; genetic testing; genetic risk assessment; public health genomics; pharmacogenomics
Purpose: Wisdom has received increasing attention in empirical research in recent years, especially in gerontology and psychology, but consistent definitions of wisdom remain elusive. We sought to better characterize this concept via an expert consensus panel using a 2-phase Delphi method. Design and Methods: A survey questionnaire comprised 53 Likert scale statements related to the concepts of wisdom, intelligence, and spirituality was developed to determine if and how wisdom was viewed as being distinct from the latter 2 concepts. Of the 57 international wisdom experts contacted by e-mail, 30 completed the Phase 1 survey and 27 also completed the Phase 2 survey. Results: In Phase 1, there were significant group differences among the concepts of wisdom, intelligence, and spirituality on 49 of the 53 items rated by the experts. Wisdom differed from intelligence on 46 of these 49 items, whereas wisdom differed from spirituality on 31 items. In Phase 2, we sought to define wisdom further by selecting 12 items based on Phase 1 results. Most experts agreed on many of the suggested characteristics of wisdom—that is, it is uniquely human; a form of advanced cognitive and emotional development that is experience driven; and a personal quality, albeit a rare one, which can be learned, increases with age, can be measured, and is not likely to be enhanced by taking medication. Implications: There was considerable agreement among the expert participants on wisdom being a distinct entity and a number of its characteristic qualities. These data should help in designing additional empirical research on wisdom.
Intelligence; Spirituality; Personality trait; Cognition; Emotion
Subsyndromal depression (SSD) is several times more common than major depression in older adults, and is associated with significant negative health outcomes. Physical activity can improve depression, yet adherence is often poor. We assessed the feasibility, acceptability, and short-term efficacy and safety of a novel intervention using exergames (entertaining video games that combine game play with exercise) for SSD in older adults.
Community-dwelling older adults (N = 19, age 63–94) with SSD participated in a 12-week pilot study (with follow-up at 20 to 24 weeks) of Nintendo’s Wii Sports, with three 35-minute sessions a week.
86% of enrolled participants completed the 12-week intervention. There was a significant improvement in depressive symptoms, mental health-related quality of life, and cognitive performance, but not physical health-related quality of life. There were no major adverse events, and improvement in depression was maintained at follow-up.
The findings provide preliminary indication of the benefits of exergames in seniors with SSD. Randomized controlled trials of exergames for late-life SSD are warranted.
Physical activity; Aging; Videogames; Depression; Quality of life; Cognition
Low levels of physical activity contribute to the generally poor physical health of older adults with schizophrenia. The associations linking schizophrenia symptoms, neurocognition, and physical activity are not known. Research is needed to identify the reasons for this population’s lack of adequate physical activity before appropriate interventions can be designed and tested.
Design and Methods
In this cross-sectional study, 30 adults aged > 55 years with schizophrenia were assessed on symptoms (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale), neurocognition (MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery) and physical activity (Sensewear ProArmband). Pearson’s bivariate correlations (two-tailed) and univariate linear regression models were used to test the following hypotheses: 1) More-severe schizophrenia symptoms are associated with lower levels of physical activity, and 2) More-severe neurocognitive deficits are associated with lower levels of physical activity.
Higher scores on a speed-of-processing test were associated with more average daily steps (p = .002) and more average daily minutes of moderate physical activity (p = .009). Higher scores on a verbal working-memory task were associated with more average daily minutes of moderate physical activity (p = .05). More severe depressive symptoms were associated with more average daily minutes of sedentary activity (p = .03).
Physical-activity interventions for this population are imperative. In order for a physical-activity intervention to be successful, it must include components to enhance cognition and diminish psychiatric symptoms.
Schizophrenia; Physical Activity; Symptomatology; Neurocognition
Clinical insight in bipolar disorder is associated with treatment adherence and psychosocial outcome. The short-term dynamics of clinical insight in relationship to symptoms and cognitive abilities are unknown.
In a prospective observational study, a total of 106 outpatients with bipolar disorder I or II were assessed at baseline, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 26 weeks. Participants were administered a comprehensive neuropsychological battery, clinical ratings of manic and depressive symptom severity, and self-reported clinical insight. Lagged correlations and linear mixed-effects models were used to determine the temporal associations between symptoms and insight, as well as the moderating influence of global cognitive abilities.
At baseline, insight was modestly correlated with severity of manic symptoms, but not with depressive symptoms or cognitive abilities. Insight and depressive symptoms fluctuated to approximately the same extent over time. Both lagged correlations and mixed effects models with lagged effects indicated that the severity of manic symptoms predicted worse insight at later assessments, whereas the converse was not significant. There were no direct or moderating influences of global cognitive abilities.
Our sample size was modest, and included relatively psychiatrically stable outpatients, followed for a six month period. Our results may not generalize to acutely symptomatic patients followed over a longer period.
Clinical insight varies substantially over time within patients with bipolar disorder. Impaired insight in bipolar disorder is more likely to follow than to precede manic symptoms.
Bipolar disorder; insight; neuropsychology; depression
There is a widening disparity between the proportion of ethnic minority Americans in the population and the number of researchers from these minority groups. One major obstacle in this arena relates to a dearth of mentors for such trainees. The present academic settings are not optimal for development and sustenance of research mentors, especially for mentees from underrepresented minority ethnic groups.
Mentoring skills can and should be evaluated and enhanced. Universities, medical schools, and funding agencies need to join hands and implement national- and local-level programs to help develop and reward mentors of junior scientists from ethnic minority groups.
The study of wisdom has recently become a subject of growing scientific interest, although the concept of wisdom is ancient. This article focuses on conceptualization of wisdom in the Bhagavad Gita, arguably the most influential of all ancient Hindu philosophical/religious texts. Our review, using mixed qualitative/quantitative methodology with the help of Textalyser and NVivo software, found the following components to be associated with the concept of wisdom in the Gita: Knowledge of life, Emotional Regulation, Control over Desires, Decisiveness, Love of God, Duty and Work, Self-Contentedness, Compassion/Sacrifice, Insight/Humility, and Yoga (Integration of personality). A comparison of the conceptualization of wisdom in the Gita with that in modern scientific literature shows several similarities, such as rich knowledge about life, emotional regulation, insight, and a focus on common good (compassion). Apparent differences include an emphasis in the Gita on control over desires and renunciation of materialistic pleasures. Importantly, the Gita suggests that at least certain components of wisdom can be taught and learned. We believe that the concepts of wisdom in the Gita are relevant to modern psychiatry in helping develop psychotherapeutic interventions that could be more individualistic and more holistic than those commonly practiced today, and aimed at improving personal well-being rather than just psychiatric symptoms.
Purpose of review
Although the basic standards of adjudicative competence were specified by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1960, there remain a number of complex conceptual and practical issues in interpreting and applying these standards. In this report we provide a brief overview regarding the general concept of adjudicative competence and its assessment, as well as some highlights of recent empirical studies on this topic.
Most adjudicative competence assessments are conducted by psychiatrists or psychologists. There are no universal certification requirements, but some states are moving toward required certification of forensic expertise for those conducting such assessments. Recent data indicate inconsistencies in application of the existing standards even among forensic experts, but the recent publication of consensus guidelines may foster improvements in this arena. There are also ongoing efforts to develop and validate structured instruments to aid competency evaluations. Telemedicine-based competency interviews may facilitate evaluation by those with specific expertise for evaluation of complex cases. There is also interest in empirical development of educational methods to enhance adjudicative competence.
Adjudicative competence may be difficult to measure accurately, but the assessments and tools available are advancing. More research is needed on methods of enhancing decisional capacity among those with impaired competence.
Competence; ethics; informed consent
With increasing longevity and a growing focus on successful aging, there has been a recent growth of research designed to operationalize and assess wisdom. We aimed to (1) investigate the degree of overlap among empirical definitions of wisdom, (2) identify the most commonly cited wisdom subcomponents, (3) examine the psychometric properties of existing assessment instruments, and (4) investigate whether certain assessment procedures work particularly well in tapping the essence of subcomponents of the various empirical definitions. We searched PsychINFO-indexed articles published through May 2012 and their bibliographies. Studies were included if they were published in a peer-reviewed journal and (1) proposed a definition of wisdom or (2) discussed the development or validation of an instrument designed to assess wisdom. Thirty-one articles met inclusion criteria. Despite variability among the 24 reviewed definitions, there was significant overlap. Commonly cited subcomponents of wisdom included knowledge of life, prosocial values, self-understanding, acknowledgement of uncertainty, emotional homeostasis, tolerance, openness, spirituality, and sense of humor. Published reports describing the psychometric properties of nine instruments varied in comprehensiveness but most measures were examined for selected types of reliability and validity, which were generally acceptable. Given limitations of self-report procedures, an approach integrating multiple indices (e.g., self-report and performance-based measures) may better capture wisdom. Significant progress in the empirical study of wisdom has occurred over the past four decades; however, much needs to be done. Future studies with larger, more diverse samples are needed to determine the generalizability, usefulness, and clinical applicability of these definitions and assessment instruments. Such work will have relevance for the fields of geriatrics, psychiatry, psychology, sociology, education, and public health, among others.
wisdom; aging; human development; cognition; personality trait; positive psychology
A review of literature on the neurodevelopmental origins of schizophemia is presented, with particular attention to neurodevelopmental processes in late-onset schizophemia. Definitions of the term “neurodevelopmental” as used in schizophernia literature are first provided. Next, evidence for the developmental origins of the neuropathology in schizophemia is reviewed. This evidence includes studies of the associations between schizophemia and neurodevelopmental brain aberrations, minor physical anomalies, obstetric complications, prenatal viral exposure, childhood neuromotor abnormalities, and pandysmaturation. A brief discussion of the predominant theories about the neurodevelopmental origins of schizophemia is then provided. The concept and nature of “late-onset schizophenia ”is next defined and discussed. Finally, the neurodevelopmental literature is discussed in relation to the phenomenon of late-onset schizophemia. Based on this review, we conclude that there exists a strong likelihood that late-onset schizophrenia involves neurodevelopmental processes.
Psychosis; neurodegeneration; dementia; congnition; aging; developmental disabilities
To determine if measures of successful-aging are associated with sexual activity, satisfaction, and function in older post-menopausal women.
Cross-sectional study using self-report surveys; analyses include chi-square and t-tests and multiple linear regression analyses.
Community-dwelling older post-menopausal women in the greater San Diego Region.
1,235 community-dwelling women aged 60-89 years participating at the San Diego site of the Women's Health Initiative.
Demographics and self-report measures of sexual activity, function, and satisfaction and successful aging.
Sexual activity and functioning (desire, arousal, vaginal tightness, use of lubricants, and ability to climax) were negatively associated with age, as were physical and mental health. In contrast, sexual satisfaction and self-rated successful aging and quality of life remained unchanged across age groups. Successful aging measures were positively associated with sexual measures, especially self-rated quality of life and sexual satisfaction.
Self-rated successful aging, quality of life, and sexual satisfaction appear to be stable in the face of declines in physical health, some cognitive abilities, and sexual activity and function and are positively associated with each other across ages 60-89 years.
Sexual Activity; Sexual Satisfaction; Sexual Function; Post-menopausal Women; Self-Rated Successful aging
Schizophrenia affects people of all age groups. Treatment plans for older adults with schizophrenia must consider the effects of age on the course of the illness as well as on the response to antipsychotics and to psychosocial interventions. Positive symptoms of schizophrenia tend to become less severe, substance abuse becomes less common, and mental health functioning often improves. Hospitalizations are more likely to be due to physical problems rather than psychotic relapses. Physical comorbidity is a rule, however, and older age is a risk factor for most side effects of antipsychotics, including metabolic syndrome and movement disorders. We recently reported high rates of adverse events and medication discontinuation along with limited effectiveness of commonly used atypical antipsychotics in older adults. Psychosocial interventions such as cognitive behavioral social skills training are efficacious in improving functioning in older adults with schizophrenia. In formulating treatment plans for this population, a balanced approach combining cautious antipsychotic medication use with psychosocial interventions is recommended. Antipsychotic medications should generally be used in lower doses in older adults. Close monitoring for side effects and effectiveness of the medications and a watchful eye on their risk:benefit ratio are critical. In a minority of patients it may be possible to discontinue medications. Sustained remission of schizophrenia after decades of illness is not rare, especially in persons who receive appropriate treatment and psychosocial support—there can be light at the end of a long tunnel.
schizophrenia; aging; antipsychotics; psychosocial treatments; cognition; psychosis
Although functional capacity is typically diminished, there is substantial heterogeneity in functional outcomes in schizophrenia. Motivational factors likely play a significant role in bridging the capacity-to-functioning gap. Self-efficacy theory suggests that although some individuals may have the capacity to perform functional behaviors, they may or may not have confidence they can successfully perform these behaviors in real-world settings. We hypothesized that the relationship between functional capacity and real-world functioning would be moderated by the individual’s self-efficacy in a sample of 97 middle-aged and older adults with schizophrenia (mean age = 50.9 ± 6.5 years). Functional capacity was measured using the Brief UCSD Performance-based Skills Assessment (UPSA-B), self-efficacy with the Revised Self-Efficacy Scale, and Daily Functioning via the Specific Level of Functioning (SLOF) scale and self-report measures. Results indicated that when self-efficacy was low, the relationship between UPSA-B and SLOF scores was not significant (P = .727). However, when self efficacy was high, UPSA-B scores were significantly related to SLOF scores (P = .020). Similar results were observed for self-reported social and work functioning. These results suggest that motivational processes (ie, self-efficacy) may aid in understanding why some individuals have the capacity to function well but do not translate this capacity into real-world functioning. Furthermore, while improvement in capacity may be necessary for improved functioning in this population, it may not be sufficient when motivation is absent.
functioning; psychosis; motivation; control; recovery
Targeted physical activity interventions to improve the poor physical function of older adults with schizophrenia are necessary but currently not available. Given disordered thought processes and institutionalization, it is likely that older adults with schizophrenia have unique barriers and facilitators to physical activity. It is necessary to consider the perspective of the mental health staff about barriers and facilitators to physical activity to design a feasible intervention. Purpose of This Study: To describe the perceptions of mental health staff about barriers and facilitators to engage in physical activities that promote physical function among older adults with schizophrenia. Design and Method: We conducted qualitative interviews with 23 mental health staff that care for older adults with schizophrenia. The data were collected and analyzed with grounded theory methodology. Results: The participants were interested in promoting physical activity with older adults with schizophrenia. Facilitators and barriers to physical activity identified were mental health, role models and rewards, institutional factors, and safety. Implications: In order to design successful physical activity interventions for this population, the intervention may need to be a routine part of the mental health treatment program and patients may need incentives to participate. Staff should be educated that physical activity may provide the dual benefit of physical and mental health treatment.
Schizophrenia; Grounded theory