Despite its success with compliant or supervised patients, disulfiram has been a controversial medication in the treatment of alcoholism. Often, study designs did not recognize a pivotal factor in disulfiram research, the importance of an open-label design. Our objectives are: (1) to analyze the efficacy and safety of disulfiram in RCTs in supporting abstinence and (2) to compare blind versus open-label studies, hypothesizing that blinded studies would show no difference between disulfiram and control groups because the threat would be evenly spread across all groups.
Methods and Findings
We searched PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Central Register for RCTs on disulfiram use with alcoholics in comparison to any alcoholic control group. The primary outcome was defined by the authors of each trial. Additional analyses included: blind vs. open-label, with or without supervision, cocaine study or not, and type of control.
Overall, the 22 included studies showed a higher success rate of disulfiram compared to controls Hedges'g = .58 (95%CI = .35–.82). When comparing blind and open-label RCTs, only open-label trials showed a significant superiority over controls g = .70 (95%CI = .46–.93). RCTs with blind designs showed no efficacy of disulfiram compared to controls. Disulfiram was also more effective than the control condition when compared to naltrexone g = .77, 95%CI = .52–1.02, to acamprosate g = .76, 95%CI = .04–1.48, and to the no disulfiram groups g = .43, 95%CI = .17–.69.
Limits include: (1) a population of 89% male subjects and (2) a high but unavoidable heterogeneity of the studies with a substantial I-square in most subgroups of studies.
Blinded studies were incapable of distinguishing a difference between treatment groups and thus are incompatible with disulfiram research. Based on results with open-label studies, disulfiram is a safe and efficacious treatment compared to other abstinence supportive pharmacological treatments or to no disulfiram in supervised studies for problems of alcohol abuse or dependence.
To investigate the prevalence rate of cigarette smoking and its socio-demographic and clinical correlates in Chinese schizophrenia inpatients receiving antipsychotic mono-therapy.
This study was a cross-sectional, two-site, hospital-based survey. Four hundred and twenty-nine schizophrenia patients (male/female: 66.9% vs. 33.1%) were consecutively recruited from psychosis inpatient wards of two large specialty psychiatric hospitals in mainland China. Patients were assessed using a cigarette smoking questionnaire, the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale, the Simpson Angus Scale, the Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale, and the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale. Socio-demographic and other clinical data were also collected. We calculated the prevalence of current smoking in our sample as well as its indirectly standardized prevalence ratio (ISPR) using data from the 2010 Global Adult Tobacco Survey in China.
The prevalence rate of current smoking was 40.6% in our sample, and 57.5% in males and 6.3% in females. The ISPRs of all patients, men and women were 1.11(95%CI: 0.95∼1.29), 1.07(95%CI = 0.91∼1.24) and 4.64(95%CI = 2.12∼8.82), respectively. The overall and male-specific prevalence of current smoking did not differ significantly between patients and the general population. In multiple logistic regression analysis, male sex, older age, poor marital status, alcohol use, use of first-generation antipsychotics, longer duration of illness, more frequent hospitalizations, and more severe negative symptoms were independently associated with current smoking.
Male Chinese inpatients with schizophrenia who received a mono-therapy of antipsychotics were not more likely to smoke than the general population. Cigarette smoking is more common in schizophrenia patients with more severe illness.
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a common treatment for recurrent or residual pituitary adenomas. The persistence of symptoms and treatment related complications may impair the patient’s quality of life (QOL).
The purpose of this study was to examine symptom distress, QOL, and the relationship between them among patients with pituitary tumors who had undergone SRS.
This study used a cross-sectional design and purposive sampling. We enrolled patients diagnosed with pituitary tumors who had undergone SRS. Data were collected at the CyberKnife Center at a medical center in Northern Taiwan in 2012. A questionnaire survey was used for data collection. Our questionnaire consisted of 3 parts the Pituitary Tumor Symptom Distress Questionnaire, the World Health Organization Quality of Life Instrument Short-Form (WHOQOL-BREF), and a demographic questionnaire.
Sixty patients were enrolled in the study. The most common symptoms reported by patients after SRS were memory loss, fatigue, blurred vision, headache, sleep problems, and altered libido. The highest and lowest scores for QOL were in the environmental and psychological domains, respectively. Age was positively correlated with general health and the psychological domains. Level of symptom distress was negatively correlated with overall QOL, general health, physical health, and the psychological and social relationships domains. The scores in the psychological and environmental domains were higher in males than in females. Patients with ≤6 symptoms had better overall QOL, general health, physical health, and psychological and social relationships than those with >6 symptoms.
Symptom distress can affect different aspects of patient QOL. Levels of symptom distress, number of symptoms, age, and gender were variables significantly correlated with patient QOL. These results may be utilized by healthcare personnel to design educational and targeted interventional programs for symptom management to improve patient QOL.
Some alternative medicines enjoy widespread use, and in certain situations are preferred over conventional, validated treatments in spite of the fact that they fail to prove effective when tested scientifically. We propose that the causal illusion, a basic cognitive bias, underlies the belief in the effectiveness of bogus treatments. Therefore, the variables that modulate the former might affect the latter. For example, it is well known that the illusion is boosted when a potential cause occurs with high probability. In this study, we examined the effect of this variable in a fictitious medical scenario. First, we showed that people used a fictitious medicine (i.e., a potential cause of remission) more often when they thought it caused no side effects. Second, the more often they used the medicine, the more likely they were to develop an illusory belief in its effectiveness, despite the fact that it was actually useless. This behavior may be parallel to actual pseudomedicine usage; that because a treatment is thought to be harmless, it is used with high frequency, hence the overestimation of its effectiveness in treating diseases with a high rate of spontaneous relief. This study helps shed light on the motivations spurring the widespread preference of pseudomedicines over scientific medicines. This is a valuable first step toward the development of scientifically validated strategies to counteract the impact of pseudomedicine on society.
Understanding patterns and identifying common clusters of chronic diseases may help policymakers, researchers, and clinicians to understand the needs of the care process better and potentially save both provider and patient time and cost. However, only limited research has been conducted in this area, and ambiguity remains as those limited previous studies used different approaches to identify common clusters and findings may vary with approaches. This study estimates the prevalence of common chronic diseases and examines co-occurrence of diseases using four approaches: (i) identification of the most occurring pairs and triplets of comorbid diseases; performing (ii) cluster analysis of diseases, (iii) principal component analysis, and (iv) latent class analysis. Data were collected using a questionnaire mailed to a cross-sectional sample of senior Australians, with 4574 responses. Eighty-two percent of respondents reported having at least one chronic disease and over 52% reported having at least two chronic diseases. Respondents suffering from any chronic diseases had an average of 2.4 comorbid diseases. Three defined groups of chronic diseases were identified: (i) asthma, bronchitis, arthritis, osteoporosis and depression; (ii) high blood pressure and diabetes; and (iii) cancer, with heart disease and stroke either making a separate group or “attaching” themselves to different groups in different analyses. The groups were largely consistent across the approaches. Stability and sensitivity analyses also supported the consistency of the groups. The consistency of the findings suggests there is co-occurrence of diseases beyond chance, and patterns of co-occurrence are important for clinicians, patients, policymakers and researchers. Further studies are needed to provide a strong evidence base to identify comorbid groups which would benefit from appropriate guidelines for the care and management of patients with particular disease clusters.
Population-based cohort study on the risk of anxiety and depression in patients with blepharitis is limited. This study evaluated whether blepharitis patients are at a higher risk of anxiety and depression.
A retrospective cohort study.
We used the universal insurance claims data from 1997 to 2010 in Taiwan to identify annually patients with newly diagnosed blepharitis (N = 9764) and without the disease (N = 39056). Incidences, rate ratios (IRR) and hazard ratios (HR) of anxiety and depression were measured for both cohorts by baseline demographic characteristics and comorbidities until the end of 2010.
Compared with the non-blepharitis cohort, the blepharitis cohort had higher incidence of anxiety (15.9 vs. 9.5 per 1000 person-years), with an adjusted HR of 1.58 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.46–1.70). The incidence of depression was also higher in the blepharitis cohort (7.66 vs. 5.05 per 1000 person-years), with an adjusted HR of 1.42 (95% CI = 1.28–1.58). The blepharitis cohort to the non-blepharitis cohort IRR decreased from 1.73 in the first quartile to 1.32 in the 4th quartile for anxiety, and from 1.67 to 1.29 for depression.
Patients with blepharitis are at elevated risks of anxiety and depression. The risk is higher in earlier period after the diagnosis of blepharitis, and declines by time, but remains significantly higher for those with blepharitis than those without blepharitis.
We explored the mediation effect of caregiver self-efficacy on the influences of behavioral and psychological symptoms (BPSD) of dementia care recipients (CRs) or family caregivers’ (CGs) social supports (informational, tangible and affectionate support and positive social interaction) on CGs’ mental health. We interviewed 196 CGs, using a battery of measures including demographic data of the dyads, CRs’ dementia-related impairments, and CGs’ social support, self-efficacy and the Medical Outcome Study (MOS) Short-Form (SF-36) Health Survey. Multiple regression analyses showed that gathering information on self-efficacy and managing CG distress self-efficacy were the partial mediators of the relationship between positive social interaction and CG mental health. Managing caregiving distress self-efficacy also partial mediated the impact of BPSD on CG mental health. We discuss implications of the results for improving mental health of the target population in mainland China.
Schizotypy is a complex construct intimately related to psychosis. Empirical evidence indicates that participants with high scores on schizotypal self-report are at a heightened risk for the later development of psychotic disorders. Schizotypal experiences represent the behavioural expression of liability for psychotic disorders. Previous factorial studies have shown that schizotypy is a multidimensional construct similar to that found in patients with schizophrenia. Specifically, using the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-Brief (SPQ-B), the three-dimensional model has been widely replicated. However, there has been no in-depth investigation of whether the dimensional structure underlying the SPQ-B scores is invariant across countries.
The main goal of this study was to examine the measurement invariance of the SPQ-B scores across Spanish and Swiss adolescents. The final sample was made up of 261 Spanish participants (51.7% men; M = 16.04 years) and 241 Swiss participants (52.3% men; M = 15.94 years).
The results indicated that Raine et al.'s three-factor model presented adequate goodness-of-fit indices. Moreover, the results supported the measurement invariance (configural and partial strong invariance) of the SPQ-B scores across the two samples. Spanish participants scored higher on Interpersonal dimension than Swiss when latent means were compared.
The study of measurement equivalence across countries provides preliminary evidence for the Raine et al.'s three-factor model and of the cross-cultural validity of the SPQ-B scores in adolescent population. Future studies should continue to examine the measurement invariance of the schizotypy and psychosis-risk syndromes across cultures.
Compulsory admission to psychiatric hospitals may be distressing, disruptive to patients and families, and associated with considerable cost to the health service. Improved patient experience and cost reductions could be realised by providing cost-effective crisis planning services.
Economic evaluation within a multi-centre randomised controlled trial comparing Joint Crisis Plans (JCP) plus treatment as usual (TAU) to TAU alone for patients aged over 16, with at least one psychiatric hospital admission in the previous two years and on the Enhanced Care Programme Approach register. JCPs, containing the patient's treatment preferences for any future psychiatric emergency, are a form of crisis intervention that aim to mitigate the negative consequences of relapse, including hospital admission and use of coercion. Data were collected at baseline and 18-months after randomisation. The primary outcome was admission to hospital under the Mental Health Act. The economic evaluation took a service perspective (health, social care and criminal justice services) and a societal perspective (additionally including criminal activity and productivity losses).
The addition of JCPs to TAU had no significant effect on compulsory admissions or total societal cost per participant over 18-months follow-up. From the service cost perspective, however, evidence suggests a higher probability (80%) of JCPs being the more cost-effective option. Exploration by ethnic group highlights distinct patterns of costs and effects. Whilst the evidence does not support the cost-effectiveness of JCPs for White or Asian ethnic groups, there is at least a 90% probability of the JCP intervention being the more cost-effective option in the Black ethnic group.
The results by ethnic group are sufficiently striking to warrant further investigation into the potential for patient gain from JCPs among black patient groups.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN11501328
The transition from sleep to wakefulness entails a temporary period of reduced alertness and impaired performance known as sleep inertia. The extent to which its severity varies with task and cognitive processes remains unclear. We examined sleep inertia in alertness, attention, working memory and cognitive throughput with the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale (KSS), the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT), n-back and add tasks, respectively. The tasks were administered 2 hours before bedtime and at regular intervals for four hours, starting immediately after awakening in the morning, in eleven participants, in a four-way cross-over laboratory design. We also investigated whether exposure to Blue-Enhanced or Bright Blue-Enhanced white light would reduce sleep inertia. Alertness and all cognitive processes were impaired immediately upon awakening (p<0.01). However, alertness and sustained attention were more affected than cognitive throughput and working memory. Moreover, speed was more affected than accuracy of responses. The light conditions had no differential effect on performance except in the 3-back task (p<0.01), where response times (RT) at the end of four hours in the two Blue-Enhanced white light conditions were faster (200 ms) than at wake time. We conclude that the effect of sleep inertia varies with cognitive domain and that it’s spectral/intensity response to light is different from that of sleepiness. That is, just increasing blue-wavelength in light may not be sufficient to reduce sleep inertia. These findings have implications for critical professions like medicine, law-enforcement etc., in which, personnel routinely wake up from night-time sleep to respond to emergency situations.
Epidemiological studies show that most of the adult population will be exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event in the course of his/her life; adolescence and early adulthood are the most vulnerable periods of life for exposure to traumatic experiences (70% of their deaths are due to external causes). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is characterized by the development of dysfunctional symptoms that cause distress or social, academic, or occupational impairment, as result of exposure to a traumatic event. The aim of this multicentric study is to establish the proportion of college students, within seven institutions in Northeastern Brazil, who were exposed to traumatic experience and met PTSD criteria.
A one-phase census protocol of seven college institutions in three metropolitan regions in Northeastern Brazil was performed (April to July 2011). All students aged 18 years or older, matriculated and attending their first or final semester were eligible. The self-applied protocol consisted of a socio-demographic questionnaire and the following scales adjusted to Brazilian Portuguese standards Trauma History Questionnaire (THQ), PTSD Checklist-Civilian (PCL-C), Impulsivity Scale (BIS-11). Data were entered into SPSS 17.0.
2213 (85.5%) students consented to participate, and completely filled in the protocols. Of these, 66.1% were woman, mean age 23.9 (SD 6.3), 82.7% were single, and 57.3% attended university outside their native cities. The total PTSD prevalence was 14%, and the median for frequency of trauma exposure was 5 events.
A high frequency of exposure to violence, as well as a high rate of PTSD, suicide attempts, and high-risk sexual behavior was found in Brazilian college students. This highlights the importance of effective public health actions in relation to the prevention and treatment of PTSD and other dysfunctional behaviors resulting from traumatic exposure in young individuals, usually an at risk population for violence and traumatic situations.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a prevalent chronic disease worldwide. The prevalence of T2DM is increasing rapidly in China. Understanding the contribution of modifiable lifestyle factors on T2DM risk is imperative to prevent the development of T2DM in China.
We examined associations between lifestyle factors including physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption with incidence of T2DM among middle-aged and elderly men in urban Shanghai. Information on socio-demographics, lifestyle habits, dietary habits, and disease history was collected via in-person interviews. Anthropometric measurements were taken. A total of 51 464 Chinese men aged 40–74 years free of T2DM, coronary heart disease (CHD), and stroke at baseline were included in the current study. Incident T2DM was identified through follow-up surveys conducted every 2–3 years. Cox proportional hazard analyses were conducted to evaluate associations between lifestyle risk factors and incidence of T2DM.
We documented 1304 new cases of T2DM during 276 929 person-years of follow-up (average: 5.4 years). Physical activity was inversely associated with T2DM risk. Daily living, commuting, and total physical activity METs had inverse negative dose-response relationships with T2DM (P-trend = 0.0033, 0.0022, and <0.0001, respectively). Regular participation in exercise or sports reduced T2DM risk (HR = 0.86, 95%CI: 0.76–0.98). Moderate alcohol intake (1–3 drinks/day) was inversely related to T2DM risk (HR = 0.80, 95%CI: 0.67–0.94). Cigarette smoking, on the other hand, was associated with increased T2DM risk; HRs were 1.25 (95%CI: 1.00–1.56) for smoking more than 20 cigarettes per day and 1.28 (95%CI: 1.04–1.57) for smoking more than 40 pack-years.
Physical activity and moderate alcohol intake are inversely associated with T2DM risk, whereas smoking was positively associated with T2DM risk among middle-age and elderly Chinese men. Preventive measures should be developed to focus on these modifiable lifestyle habits to reduce the upward trend of T2DM.
We use the method of deficit accumulation to describe prevalent and incident levels of frailty in community-dwelling older persons and compare prevalence rates in higher income countries in Europe, to prevalence rates in six lower income countries. Two multi-country data collection efforts, SHARE and SAGE, provide nationally representative samples of adults aged 50 years and older. Forty items were used to construct the frailty index in each data set. Our study shows that the level of frailty was distributed along the socioeconomic gradient in both higher and lower income countries such that those individuals with less education and income were more likely to be frail. Frailty increased with age and women were more likely to be frail in most countries. Across samples we find that the level of frailty was higher in the higher income countries than in the lower income countries.
We investigated the association between Type D personality, psychological distress, and self-ratings of poor health in elderly Japanese people. In August 2010, questionnaires were sent to all residents aged ≥65 in three municipalities (n = 21232) in Okayama Prefecture, Japan, and. 13929 questionnaires were returned (response rate: 65.6%). To assess mental and physical health outcomes, we used the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale and a single item question regarding perceived general health. We analyzed 9759 questionnaires to determine odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for several health outcomes, adjusting for sex, age, smoking status, frequency of alcohol consumption, overweight status, educational attainment, socioeconomic status, and number of cohabiters. The multiple imputation method was employed for missing data regarding Type D personality. The prevalence of Type D personality in our sample was 46.2%. After adjusting for covariates, we found that participants with Type D personality were at 4–5 times the risk of psychological distress, and twice the risk of poor self-rated health. This association was stronger in participants aged 65–74 years (psychological distress; OR: 5.80, 95% CI: 4.96–6.78, poor self-rated health; OR: 2.84, 95% CI: 2.38–3.38) than in those aged over 75 years (psychological distress; OR: 4.54, 95% CI: 3.96–5.19, poor self-rated health; OR: 2.05, 95% CI: 1.79–2.34). Type D personality is associated with adverse health status among Japanese elderly people in terms of mental and physical risk; therefore, further research into the implications of this personality type is warranted.
Despite widespread acceptance of the ‘biopsychosocial model’, the aetiology of mental health problems has provoked debate amongst researchers and practitioners for decades. The role of psychological factors in the development of mental health problems remains particularly contentious, and to date there has not been a large enough dataset to conduct the necessary multivariate analysis of whether psychological factors influence, or are influenced by, mental health. This study reports on the first empirical, multivariate, test of the relationships between the key elements of the biospychosocial model of mental ill-health.
Methods and Findings
Participants were 32,827 (age 18–85 years) self-selected respondents from the general population who completed an open-access online battery of questionnaires hosted by the BBC. An initial confirmatory factor analysis was performed to assess the adequacy of the proposed factor structure and the relationships between latent and measured variables. The predictive path model was then tested whereby the latent variables of psychological processes were positioned as mediating between the causal latent variables (biological, social and circumstantial) and the outcome latent variables of mental health problems and well-being. This revealed an excellent fit to the data, S-B χ2 (3199, N = 23,397) = 126654·8, p<·001; RCFI = ·97; RMSEA = ·04 (·038–·039). As hypothesised, a family history of mental health difficulties, social deprivation, and traumatic or abusive life-experiences all strongly predicted higher levels of anxiety and depression. However, these relationships were strongly mediated by psychological processes; specifically lack of adaptive coping, rumination and self-blame.
These results support a significant revision of the biopsychosocial model, as psychological processes determine the causal impact of biological, social, and circumstantial risk factors on mental health. This has clear implications for policy, education and clinical practice as psychological processes such as rumination and self-blame are amenable to evidence-based psychological therapies.
Accurate assessment of unmet supportive care needs is essential for optimal cancer patient care. This study used confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to test the known factor structures of the short form of Supportive Care Need Survey (SCNS-34) in Hong Kong and Taiwan Chinese patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC).
360 Hong Kong and 263 Taiwanese Chinese CRC patients completed the Chinese version of SCNS-SF34. Comparative measures (patient satisfaction, anxiety, depression, and symptom distress) tested convergent validity while known group differences were examined to test discriminant validity.
The original 5-factor and recent 4-factor models of the SCNS demonstrated poor data fit using CFA in both Hong Kong and Taiwan samples. Subsequently a modified five-factor model with correlated residuals demonstrated acceptable fit in both samples. Correlations demonstrated convergent and divergent validity and known group differences were observed.
While the five-factor model demonstrated a better fit for data from Chinese colorectal cancer patients, some of the items within its domain overlapped, suggesting item redundancy. The five-factor model showed good psychometric properties in these samples but also suggests conceptualization of unmet supportive care needs are currently inadequate.
We examined the prevalence of substance use disorders among homeless and vulnerably housed persons in three Canadian cities and its association with unmet health care needs and access to addiction treatment using baseline data from the Health and Housing in Transition Study.
In 2009, 1191 homeless and vulnerably housed persons were recruited in Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa, Canada. Interviewer administered questionnaires collected data on socio-demographics, housing history, chronic health conditions, mental health diagnoses, problematic drug use (DAST-10≥6), problematic alcohol use (AUDIT≥20), unmet physical and mental health care needs, addiction treatment in the past 12 months. Three multiple logistic regression models were fit to examine the independent association of substance use with unmet physical health care need, unmet mental health care need, and addiction treatment.
Substance use was highly prevalent, with over half (53%) screening positive for the DAST-10 and 38% screening positive for the AUDIT. Problematic drug use was 29%, problematic alcohol use was lower at 16% and 7% had both problematic drug and alcohol use. In multiple regression models for unmet need, we found that problematic drug use was independently associated with unmet physical (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.95; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.43–2.64) and unmet mental (AOR 3.06; 95% CI 2.17–4.30) health care needs. Problematic alcohol use was not associated with unmet health care needs. Among those with problematic substance use, problematic drug use was associated with a greater likelihood of accessing addiction treatment compared to those with problematic alcohol use alone (AOR 2.32; 95% CI 1.18–4.54).
Problematic drug use among homeless and vulnerably housed individuals was associated with having unmet health care needs and accessing addiction treatment. Strategies to provide comprehensive health services including addiction treatment should be developed and integrated within community supported models of care.
This study aims to translate and validate Early Trauma Inventory Self Report -Short Form (ETISR-SF) to Brazilian Portuguese. 253 adult subjects answered the ETISR-SF, Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Fast Alcohol Screening Test (FAST). The instrument showed good internal consistency (0.83). Correlations with the PHQ-9 and BAI were moderate (r=0.26-0.47) and showed the expected associations with psychiatric constructs. No associations were found for FTND and FAST. Confirmatory Factor Analysis revealed that a correlated four-factor model as well as a second order model subsuming four lower order components presented the best model fit. Test-retest reliability was also excellent (ICC=0.78-0.90). ETISR-SF is suitable for assessing traumatic experiences in a Brazilian community sample. Given the importance of trauma as a public health problem, tools such as ETISR-SF may help clinicians/ researchers to better evaluate and measure such events and further advance clinical care of trauma victims.
Undergraduates at a university in the United States were exposed – directly and indirectly – to 14 peer deaths during one academic year. We examined how individual and social factors were associated with psychological (e.g., anxiety, depression, somatization) and physiological (i.e., cortisol) distress responses following this unexpected and repeated experience with loss.
Two to three months after the final peer death, respondents (N = 122, 61% female, 18–23 years, M = 20.13, SD = 1.14) reported prior adverse experiences, degree of closeness with the deceased, acute responses to the peer deaths, ongoing distress responses, social support, support seeking, and media viewing. A subset (n = 24) returned hair samples for evaluation of cortisol responses during the previous 3 months.
Ongoing psychological distress was associated with a) prior interpersonal trauma, b) fewer social supports, and c) media exposure to news of the deaths (p's<.05). Participants who had no prior bereavements showed, on average, high cortisol (>25 p/mg) compared to individuals with one or two prior bereavement experiences (who were, on average, within the normal range, 10 to 25 p/mg) (p<.05). Only 8% of the sample utilized available university psychological or physical health resources and support groups.
Limited research has examined the psychological and physiological impact of exposure to chronic, repeated peer loss, despite the fact that there are groups of individuals (e.g., police, military soldiers) that routinely face such exposures. Prior adversity appears to play a role in shaping psychological and physiological responses to repeated loss. This topic warrants further research given the health implications of repeated loss for individuals in high-risk occupations and university settings.
Combat-related PTSD has been associated with reduced gray matter volume in regions of the prefrontal and temporal cortex, hippocampus, insula, and amygdala. However, the relationship between gray matter volume and specific deployment and post-deployment experiences has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to delineate how such experiences may contribute to structural brain changes for combat veterans.
Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom veterans (N = 32) completed magnetic resonance imaging, the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, and Clinical Administered PTSD Scale. Voxel-wise Huber robust multiple regressions were used to quantify the relationship between gray matter volume and deployment experiences (combat experiences, military social support) and post-deployment symptoms (PTSD, alcohol use).
There was an interaction between severity of combat experiences and military social support for orbitofrontal gyrus gray matter volume. Specifically, individuals with more orbitofrontal gyrus gray matter volume reported less combat experiences and higher unit support. Individuals with more severe PTSD symptoms showed reduced gray matter volume within a large temporal region (inferior temporal and parahippocampal gyrus).
The identified association between unit support and orbitofrontal gyrus volume supports two potential resilience mechanisms to be delineated with future longitudinal studies. First, individuals with larger orbitofrontal gyrus may engage in greater quality of social interactions and thus experience combat as less stressful. Second, individuals who experience greater unit support may preserve a larger orbitofrontal gyrus, serving to “protect” them from aversive consequences of combat.
Frequent attenders are patients who visit their general practitioner exceptionally frequently. Frequent attendance is usually transitory, but some frequent attenders become persistent. Clinically, prediction of persistent frequent attendance is useful to target treatment at underlying diseases or problems. Scientifically it is useful for the selection of high-risk populations for trials. We previously developed a model to predict which frequent attenders become persistent.
To validate an existing prediction model for persistent frequent attendance that uses information solely from General Practitioners’ electronic medical records.
We applied the existing model (N = 3,045, 2003–2005) to a later time frame (2009–2011) in the original derivation network (N = 4,032, temporal validation) and to patients of another network (SMILE; 2007–2009, N = 5,462, temporal and geographical validation). Model improvement was studied by adding three new predictors (presence of medically unexplained problems, prescriptions of psychoactive drugs and antibiotics). Finally, we derived a model on the three data sets combined (N = 12,539). We expressed discrimination using histograms of the predicted values and the concordance-statistic (c-statistic) and calibration using the calibration slope (1 = ideal) and Hosmer-Lemeshow tests.
The existing model (c-statistic 0.67) discriminated moderately with predicted values between 7.5 and 50 percent and c-statistics of 0.62 and 0.63, for validation in the original network and SMILE network, respectively. Calibration (0.99 originally) was better in SMILE than in the original network (slopes 0.84 and 0.65, respectively). Adding information on the three new predictors did not importantly improve the model (c-statistics 0.64 and 0.63, respectively). Performance of the model based on the combined data was similar (c-statistic 0.65).
This external validation study showed that persistent frequent attenders can be prospectively identified moderately well using data solely from patients’ electronic medical records.
Much research on the health and well-being of third level students is focused on poor mental health leading to a dearth of information on positive mental health and well-being. Recently, the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being scale (WEMWBS) was developed as a measurement of positive mental health and well-being. The aim of this research is to investigate the distribution and determinants of positive mental health and well-being in a large, broadly representative sample of third level students using WEMWBS.
Undergraduate students from one large third level institution were sampled using probability proportional to size sampling. Questionnaires were distributed to students attending lectures in the randomly selected degrees. A total of 2,332 self-completed questionnaires were obtained, yielding a response rate of 51% based on students registered to relevant modules and 84% based on attendance. One-way ANOVAs and multivariate logistic regression were utilised to investigate factors associated with positive mental health and well-being.
The sample was predominantly female (62.66%), in first year (46.9%) and living in their parents’ house (42.4%) or in a rented house or flat (40.8%). In multivariate analysis adjusted for age and stratified by gender, no significant differences in WEMWBS score were observed by area of study, alcohol, smoking or drug use. WEMWBS scores were higher among male students with low levels of physical activity (p=0.04). Men and women reporting one or more sexual partners (p<0.001) were also more likely to report above average mental health and well-being.
This is the first study to examine positive mental health and well-being scores in a third level student sample using WEMWBS. The findings suggest that students with a relatively adverse health and lifestyle profile have higher than average mental health and well-being. To confirm these results, this work needs to be replicated across other third level institutions.
Evidence to guide clinical management of self-harm is sparse, trials have recruited selected samples, and psychological treatments that are suggested in guidelines may not be available in routine practice.
To examine how the management that patients receive in hospital relates to subsequent outcome.
We identified episodes of self-harm presenting to three UK centres (Derby, Manchester, Oxford) over a 10 year period (2000 to 2009). We used established data collection systems to investigate the relationship between four aspects of management (psychosocial assessment, medical admission, psychiatric admission, referral for specialist mental health follow up) and repetition of self-harm within 12 months, adjusted for differences in baseline demographic and clinical characteristics.
35,938 individuals presented with self-harm during the study period. In two of the three centres, receiving a psychosocial assessment was associated with a 40% lower risk of repetition, Hazard Ratios (95% CIs): Centre A 0.99 (0.90–1.09); Centre B 0.59 (0.48–0.74); Centre C 0.59 (0.52–0.68). There was little indication that the apparent protective effects were mediated through referral and follow up arrangements. The association between psychosocial assessment and a reduced risk of repetition appeared to be least evident in those from the most deprived areas.
These findings add to the growing body of evidence that thorough assessment is central to the management of self-harm, but further work is needed to elucidate the possible mechanisms and explore the effects in different clinical subgroups.
There is ample evidence that physical and cognitive performance are related, but the results of studies investigating this relationship show great variability. Both physical performance and cognitive performance are constructs consisting of several subdomains, but it is presently unknown if the relationship between physical and cognitive performance depends on subdomain of either construct and whether gender and age moderate this relationship. The aim of this study is to identify the strongest physical predictors of cognitive performance, to determine the specificity of these predictors for various cognitive subdomains, and to examine gender and age as potential moderators of the relationship between physical and cognitive performance in a sample of community-dwelling older adults. In total, 98 men and 122 women (average age 74.0±5.6 years) were subjected to a series of performance-based physical fitness and neuropsychological tests. Muscle strength, balance, functional reach, and walking ability (combined score of walking speed and endurance) were considered to predict cognitive performance across several domains (i.e. memory, verbal attention, visual attention, set-shifting, visuo-motor attention, inhibition and intelligence). Results showed that muscle strength was a significant predictor of cognitive performance for men and women. Walking ability and balance were significant predictors of cognitive performance for men, whereas only walking ability was significant for women. We did not find a moderating effect of age, nor did we find support for a differential effect of the physical predictors across different cognitive subdomains. In summary, our results showed a significant relationship between cognitive and physical performance, with a moderating effect of gender.
The high incidence of cognitive impairments in the aging population together with the challenges it imposes on health systems raise the question of what effect working life has on cognitive abilities. Animal models have demonstrated that so called enriched environments protect against neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia. The aim was to investigate the impact of enriched environment at work on the incidence of dementia.
The Leipzig Longitudinal Study of the Aged (LEILA 75+) is an ongoing representative population cohort study that examines cognitive functioning and dementia in individuals aged 75 years and older. The participants’ occupational information was matched to O*NET SOC codes and the relevant job descriptors were used to create occupational context indices describing enriched environment at work.
Results of logistic regression modeling suggest that a higher level of the index Executive was associated with a lower risk of incident dementia (odds ratio = 0.61, 95% confidence interval = 0.47–0.79, p<0.001). Adjustment for various confounders did not alter the association. The cognitive stimulation indices were only significant in univariate analysis. The Novelty-index remained non-significant.
The results suggest that occupational contexts enriched with independent planning/performance of work tasks might decrease the risk of developing dementia. A protective effect of enriched environment at work in general, namely high cognitive stimulation or confrontation with new tasks, could not be confirmed by the results.