Low frequency oscillations are essential in cognitive function impairment in schizophrenia. While functional connectivity can reveal the synchronization between distant brain regions, the regional abnormalities in task-independent baseline brain activity are less clear, especially in specific frequency bands. Here, we used a regional homogeneity (ReHo) method combined with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate low frequency spontaneous neural activity in the three different frequency bands (slow-5∶0.01–0.027 Hz; slow-4∶0.027–0.08 Hz; and typical band: 0.01–0.08 Hz) in 69 patients with schizophrenia and 62 healthy controls. Compared with controls, schizophrenia patients exhibited decreased ReHo in the precentral gyrus, middle occipital gyrus, and posterior insula, whereas increased ReHo in the medial prefrontal cortex and anterior insula. Significant differences in ReHo between the two bands were found in fusiform gyrus and superior frontal gyrus (slow-4> slow-5), and in basal ganglia, parahippocampus, and dorsal middle prefrontal gyrus (slow-5> slow-4). Importantly, we identified significant interaction between frequency bands and groups in the inferior occipital gyrus and caudate body. This study demonstrates that ReHo changes in schizophrenia are widespread and frequency dependent.
The increasing burden of major depressive disorder makes the search for an extended understanding of etiology, and for the development of additional treatments highly significant. Biological factors may be useful biomarkers for treatment with physical activity (PA), and neurobiological effects of PA may herald new therapeutic development in the future. This paper provides a thorough and up-to-date review of studies examining the neuroimmunomodulatory effects of PA on the brain in depression and depression-like behaviors. From a neuroimmune perspective, evidence suggests PA does enhance the beneficial and reduce the detrimental effects of the neuroimmune system. PA appears to increase the following factors: interleukin (IL)-10, IL-6 (acutely), macrophage migration inhibitory factor, central nervous system-specific autoreactive CD4+ T cells, M2 microglia, quiescent astrocytes, CX3CL1, and insulin-like growth factor-1. On the other hand, PA appears to reduce detrimental neuroimmune factors such as: Th1/Th2 balance, pro-inflammatory cytokines, C-reactive protein, M1 microglia, and reactive astrocytes. The effect of other mechanisms is unknown, such as: CD4+CD25+ T regulatory cells (T regs), CD200, chemokines, miRNA, M2-type blood-derived macrophages, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α [via receptor 2 (R2)]. The beneficial effects of PA are likely to occur centrally and peripherally (e.g., in visceral fat reduction). The investigation of the neuroimmune effects of PA on depression and depression-like behavior is a rapidly developing and important field.
physical activity; exercise; depression; psychiatry; immune; neurobiology
Emergence of suicidal ideation (TESI) during treatment with antidepressants in major depression led to a black box warning. We performed a genome-wide association study to identify genetic markers, which increase the risk for this serious side effect. TESI was evaluated in depressed in-patients (N=397) and defined by an emergence of suicidal thoughts during hospitalization without suicidal thoughts at admission using the suicide item (3) of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Genotype distribution of 405.383 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in patients with TESI (N=32/8.1%) was compared to patients without increase in suicidal ideation (N=329/82.9%) and to a subgroup never reported suicidal ideation (N=79/19.9%). Top results were analyzed in an independent sample (N=501). None variant reached genome-wide significance, the best associated SNP was rs1630535 (p-value=1.3 × 10−7). The top 79 SNPs could be analyzed in an independent sample, and 14 variants showed nominal significant association with the same risk allele in the replication sample. A discriminant analysis classifying patients using these 79 SNPs revealed a 91% probability to classify TESI vs non-TESI cases correctly in the replication sample. Although our data need to be interpreted carefully owing to the small numbers in both cohorts, they suggest that a combination of genetic markers might indeed be used to identify patients at risk for TESI.
suicidal ideation; TESI; suicide; major depression; antidepressants; genetic markers; molecular & cellular neurobiology; psychopharmacology; depression; unipolar; bipolar, pharmacogenetics; pharmacogenomics; suicidal ideation; TESI; suicide; genetic markers; GWAS
Even minor abnormalities of early child development may have dramatic long term consequences. Accurate prevalence rates for a range of developmental impairments have been difficult to establish. Since related studies have used different methodological approaches, direct comparisons of the prevalence of developmental delays are difficult. The understanding of the key factors affecting child development, especially in preschool aged children remains limited. We used data from school entry examinations in Bavaria to measure the prevalence of developmental impairments in pre-school children beginning primary school in 1997–2009.
The developmental impairments of all school beginners in the district of Dingolfing- Landau, Bavaria were assessed using modified “Bavarian School Entry Model” examination from 1997 to 2009 (N=13,182). The children were assessed for motor, cognitive, language and psychosocial impairments using a standardised medical protocol. Prevalence rates of impairments in twelve domains of development were estimated. Using uni- and multivariable logistic regression models, association between selected factors and development delays were assessed.
The highest prevalence existed for impairments of pronunciation (13.8%) followed by fine motor impairments (12.2%), and impairments of memory and concentration (11.3%) and the lowest for impairments of rhythm of speech (3.1%). Younger children displayed more developmental delays. Male gender was strongly associated with all developmental impairments (highest risk for fine motor impairments = OR 3.22, 95% confidence interval 2.86-3.63). Preschool children with siblings (vs. children without any siblings) were at higher risk of having impairments in pronunciation (OR 1.31, 1.14-1.50). The influence of the non-German nationality was strong, with a maximum risk increase for the subareas of grammar and psychosocial development. Although children with non-German nationality had a reduced risk of disorders for the rhythm of speech and pronunciation, in all other 10 subareas their risk was increased.
In preschool children, most common were delays of pronunciation, memory and concentration. Age effects suggest that delays can spontaneously resolve, but providing support at school entry might be helpful. Boys and migrant children appear at high risk of developmental problems, which may warrant tailored intervention strategies.
Adults with bipolar disorder (BD) have cognitive impairments that affect face processing and social cognition. However, it remains unknown whether these deficits in euthymic BD have impaired brain markers of emotional processing.
We recruited twenty six participants, 13 controls subjects with an equal number of euthymic BD participants. We used an event-related potential (ERP) assessment of a dual valence task (DVT), in which faces (angry and happy), words (pleasant and unpleasant), and face-word simultaneous combinations are presented to test the effects of the stimulus type (face vs word) and valence (positive vs. negative). All participants received clinical, neuropsychological and social cognition evaluations. ERP analysis revealed that both groups showed N170 modulation of stimulus type effects (face > word). BD patients exhibited reduced and enhanced N170 to facial and semantic valence, respectively. The neural source estimation of N170 was a posterior section of the fusiform gyrus (FG), including the face fusiform area (FFA). Neural generators of N170 for faces (FG and FFA) were reduced in BD. In these patients, N170 modulation was associated with social cognition (theory of mind).
This is the first report of euthymic BD exhibiting abnormal N170 emotional discrimination associated with theory of mind impairments.
To examine whether a simple Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS) is able to predict time to relapse over 5.5-years.
187 remitted recurrently depressed out-patients were interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) and the 17-item Hamilton Depression rating scale (HAM-D) to verify remission status (HAM-D <10). All patients rated their current mood with the help of a Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS) at baseline and at a follow-up assessment three months later. Relapse over 5.5-years was assessed by the SCID-I. Cox regression revealed that both the VAMS at baseline and three months later significantly predicted time to relapse over 5.5-years. Baseline VAMS even predicted time to relapse when the number of previous depressive episodes and HAM-D scores were controlled for. The baseline VAMS explained 6.3% of variance in time to relapse, comparable to the HAM-D interview.
Sad mood after remission appears to play a pivotal role in the course of depression. Since a simple VAMS predicted time to relapse, the VAMS might be an easy and time-effective way to monitor mood and risk of early relapse, and offers possibilities for daily monitoring using e-mail and SMS.
International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Register Identifier: ISRCTN68246470.
Recently, several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on bipolar disorder (BPD) suggested novel risk genes. However, only few of them were followed up and further, the specificity of these genes is even more elusive. To address these issues, we genotyped SNPs in ANK3, CACNA1C, CMTM8, DGKH, EGFR, and NPAS3, which were significantly associated with BPD in previous GWAS, in a sample of 380 BPD patients. Replicated SNPs were then followed up in patients suffering from unipolar depression (UPD; n=387) or adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (aADHD; n=535). While we could not confirm an association of ANK3, CACNA1C, and EGFR with BPD, 10 SNPs in DGKH, CMTM8, and NPAS3 were nominally associated with disease, with two DGKH markers surviving correction for multiple testing. When these were followed up in UPD and aADHD, seven DGKH SNPs were also associated with UPD, while one SNP each in NPAS3 and CMTM8 and four in DGKH were linked to aADHD. Furthermore, a DGKH haplotype consisting of rs994856/rs9525580/rs9525584 GAT was associated with all disorders tested, while the complementary AGC haplotype was protective. The corresponding haploblock spans a 27-kb region covering exons coding for amino acids 65–243, and thus might include functional variants yet to be identified. We demonstrate an association of DGKH with BPD, UPD, and aADHD by applying a two-stage design. These disorders share the feature of mood instability, so that this phenotype might be associated with genetic variation in DGKH.
association; bipolar disorder; depression; adult ADHD; NPAS3; CMTM8; depression; unipolar/bipolar; neurogenetics; signal transduction; biological psychiatry; association; adult ADHD; NPAS3; CMTM8; EGFR
Cytokines such as interleukin 6 (IL-6) have been implicated in dual functions in neuropsychiatric disorders. Little is known about the genetic predisposition to neurodegenerative and neuroproliferative properties of cytokine genes. In this study the potential dual role of several IL-6 polymorphisms in brain morphology is investigated.
In a large sample of healthy individuals (N = 303), associations between genetic variants of IL-6 (rs1800795; rs1800796, rs2069833, rs2069840) and brain volume (gray matter volume) were analyzed using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Selection of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) followed a tagging SNP approach (e.g., Stampa algorigthm), yielding a capture 97.08% of the variation in the IL-6 gene using four tagging SNPs.
In a whole-brain analysis, the polymorphism rs1800795 (−174 C/G) showed a strong main effect of genotype (43 CC vs. 150 CG vs. 100 GG; x = 24, y = −10, z = −15; F(2,286) = 8.54, puncorrected = 0.0002; pAlphaSim-corrected = 0.002; cluster size k = 577) within the right hippocampus head. Homozygous carriers of the G-allele had significantly larger hippocampus gray matter volumes compared to heterozygous subjects. None of the other investigated SNPs showed a significant association with grey matter volume in whole-brain analyses.
These findings suggest a possible neuroprotective role of the G-allele of the SNP rs1800795 on hippocampal volumes. Studies on the role of this SNP in psychiatric populations and especially in those with an affected hippocampus (e.g., by maltreatment, stress) are warranted.
Genetics; Inflammation; Interleukin 6; Neuroprotection; Voxel-based morphometry
General psychiatric and forensic psychiatric beds, supported housing and the prison population have been suggested as indicators of institutionalized mental health care. According to the Penrose hypothesis, decreasing psychiatric bed numbers may lead to increasing prison populations. The study aimed to assess indicators of institutionalized mental health care in post-communist countries during the two decades following the political change, and to explore whether the data are consistent with the Penrose hypothesis in that historical context.
General psychiatric and forensic psychiatric bed numbers, supported housing capacities and the prison population rates were collected in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic, East Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovenia. Percentage change of indicators over the decades 1989–1999, 1999–2009 and the whole period of 1989–2009 and correlations between changes of different indicators were calculated. Between 1989 and 2009, the number of general psychiatric beds was reduced in all countries. The decrease ranged from −11% in Croatia to −51% in East Germany. In 2009, the bed numbers per 100,000 population ranged from 44.7 in Azerbaijan to 134.4 in Latvia. Forensic psychiatric bed numbers and supported housing capacities increased in most countries. From 1989–2009, trends in the prison population ranged from a decrease of −58% in East Germany to an increase of 43% in Belarus and Poland. Trends in different indicators of institutionalised care did not show statistically significant associations.
After the political changes in 1989, post-communist countries experienced a substantial reduction in general psychiatric hospital beds, which in some countries may have partly been compensated by an increase in supported housing capacities and more forensic psychiatric beds. Changes in the prison population are inconsistent. The findings do not support the Penrose hypothesis in that historical context as a general rule for most of the countries.
This study aimed to investigate the association of biomarkers among circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines with all-cause mortality in elderly community dwellings of the MEMO study, Germany. All-cause mortality (cancer, cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and other causes of death) was assessed in a general population sample (N = 385) of the elderly (age 65–83 years) 9 years after baseline assessment in 1998. As markers of inflammation, a variety of cytokines (IL-1beta, IL-4sR, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, TNF-alpha) were assessed in serum. Cox proportional Hazard model was used to estimate the association of cytokines with all-cause mortality over 9 years. In total, 110 deaths had occurred during follow-up (cancer N = 36; CVD N = 56; other = 18). Deaths were more frequent in male (N = 76, 37.4%) as compared to females (N = 40, 21.9%; p = 0.001). Among individual cytokines, IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and TNF-alpha were associated with all-cause mortality, of which IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 remained significant after adjusting for confounders. When the upper tertiles of these cytokines were compared to the lower tertiles, only IL-6 was consistently related to all-cause mortality independently of the level of adjustment and showing a dose–response relationship between IL-6 tertiles and risk of death. This effect originated in the male population. The study shows that IL-6 is a powerful predictor of all-cause mortality in male elderly community dwellings. Higher levels of IL-6 may reflect a chronic low-level systemic inflammation prospectively increasing the risk of death in the elderly.
Aging; Inflammation; Mortality; Gender
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have shown efficacy in the treatment of bipolar disorder, however their specific role in treating the illness is unclear. Serum PUFA and dietary intakes of PUFA associate with suicidal behavior in epidemiological studies. The objective of this study was to assess serum n-3 and n-6 PUFA levels in bipolar subjects and determine possible associations with suicidal risk, including suicidal history and relevant personality factors that have been associated with suicidality. We studied 27 bipolar subjects using the NEO-PI to assess the big five personality factors, structured interviews to verify diagnosis and assess suicidal history, and lipomics to quantify n-3 and n-6 PUFA in serum. We found positive associations between personality factors and ratios of n-3 PUFA, suggesting that conversion of short chain to long chain n-3s and the activity of enzymes in this pathway may associate with measures of personality. Thus, ratios of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and the activity of fatty acid desaturase 2 (FADS2) involved in the conversion of ALA to DHA were positively associated with openness factor scores. Ratios of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to ALA and ratios of EPA to DHA were positively associated with agreeableness factor scores. Finally, serum concentrations of the n-6, arachidonic acid (AA), were significantly lower in subjects with a history of suicide attempt compared to non-attempters. The data suggest that specific lipid profiles, which are controlled by an interaction between diet and genetics, correlate with suicidal history and personality factors related to suicidal risk. This study provides preliminary data for future studies to determine whether manipulation of PUFA profiles (through diet or supplementation) can affect personality measures and disease outcome in bipolar subjects and supports the need for further investigations into individualized specific modulations of lipid profiles to add adjunctive value to treatment paradigms.
Previous research has been concerned with the relationship between social anxiety and the recognition of face expression but the question of whether there is a relationship between social anxiety and the recognition of face identity has been neglected. Here, we report the first evidence that social anxiety is associated with recognition of face identity, across the population range of individual differences in recognition abilities. Results showed poorer face identity recognition (on the Cambridge Face Memory Test) was correlated with a small but significant increase in social anxiety (Social Interaction Anxiety Scale) but not general anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory). The correlation was also independent of general visual memory (Cambridge Car Memory Test) and IQ. Theoretically, the correlation could arise because correct identification of people, typically achieved via faces, is important for successful social interactions, extending evidence that individuals with clinical-level deficits in face identity recognition (prosopagnosia) often report social stress due to their inability to recognise others. Equally, the relationship could arise if social anxiety causes reduced exposure or attention to people's faces, and thus to poor development of face recognition mechanisms.
Recent studies as well as theoretical models of error processing assign fundamental importance to the brain's dopaminergic system. Research about how the electrophysiological correlates of error processing—the error-related negativity (ERN) and the error positivity (Pe)—are influenced by variations of common dopaminergic genes, however, is still relatively scarce. In the present study, we therefore investigated whether polymorphisms in the DAT1 gene and in the DRD4 gene, respectively, lead to interindividual differences in these error processing correlates. One hundred sixty participants completed a version of the Eriksen Flanker Task while a 26-channel EEG was recorded. The task was slightly modified in order to increase error rates. During data analysis, participants were split into two groups depending on their DAT1 and their DRD4 genotypes, respectively. ERN and Pe amplitudes after correct responses and after errors as well as difference amplitudes between errors and correct responses were analyzed. We found a differential effect of DAT1 genotype on the Pe difference amplitude but not on the ERN difference amplitude, while the reverse was true for DRD4 genotype. These findings are in line with predictions from theoretical models of dopaminergic transmission in the brain. They furthermore tie results from clinical investigations of disorders impacting on the dopamine system to genetic variations known to be at-risk genotypes.
Distorted activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system is one of the most robustly documented biological abnormalities in major depression. Lithium is central to the treatment of affective disorders, but little is known about its effects on the HPA system of depressed subjects.
To assess the effects of lithium monotherapy on the HPA system of patients with major depression by means of the combined DEX/CRH test.
Thirty drug-naive outpatients with major depression (single episode or unipolar recurrent; SCID I- and II-confirmed) were treated with lithium monotherapy for four weeks. The DEX/CRH test was conducted directly before intake of the first lithium tablet and four weeks thereafter. Weekly ratings with the HDRS21 were used to determine response (≥50% symptom reduction) and remission (HDRS ≤7).
Lithium levels within the therapeutic range were achieved rapidly. Tolerability was good; no patient terminated the treatment prematurely. Response and remission rates were 50% and 33% respectively. Compared to the DEX/CRH test before the start of the treatment, a considerable and significant increase in all CRH-stimulated ACTH and cortisol parameters could be detected in the second DEX/CRH test. When analysed with particular regard to responders and non-responders, that significant increase was only present in the responders.
We were able to demonstrate that lithium leads to a significant activation of the HPA system. This is possibly connected to stimulation of hypothalamic arginine vasoporessin (AVP), to direct intracellular effects of lithium on pituitary cells and to an induction of gene expression.
Impaired social cognition is a cardinal feature of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Schizophrenia (SZ). However, the functional neuroanatomy of social cognition in either disorder remains unclear due to variability in primary literature. Additionally, it is not known whether deficits in ASD and SZ arise from similar or disease-specific disruption of the social cognition network.
To identify regions most robustly implicated in social cognition processing in SZ and ASD.
Systematic review of English language articles using MEDLINE (1995–2010) and reference lists.
Studies were required to use fMRI to compare ASD or SZ subjects to a matched healthy control group, provide coordinates in standard stereotactic space, and employ standardized facial emotion recognition (FER) or theory of mind (TOM) paradigms.
Activation foci from studies meeting inclusion criteria (n = 33) were subjected to a quantitative voxel-based meta-analysis using activation likelihood estimation, and encompassed 146 subjects with ASD, 336 SZ patients and 492 healthy controls.
Both SZ and ASD showed medial prefrontal hypoactivation, which was more pronounced in ASD, while ventrolateral prefrontal dysfunction was associated mostly with SZ. Amygdala hypoactivation was observed in SZ patients during FER and in ASD during more complex ToM tasks. Both disorders were associated with hypoactivation within the Superior Temporal Sulcus (STS) during ToM tasks, but activation in these regions was increased in ASD during affect processing. Disease-specific differences were noted in somatosensory engagement, which was increased in SZ and decreased in ASD. Reduced thalamic activation was uniquely seen in SZ.
Reduced frontolimbic and STS engagement emerged as a shared feature of social cognition deficits in SZ and ASD. However, there were disease- and stimulus-specific differences. These findings may aid future studies on SZ and ASD and facilitate the formulation of new hypotheses regarding their pathophysiology.
While people with severe mental illness have been found to be more overweight and obese in Western nations, it is unknown to what extent this occurs in Middle Eastern nations and which eating behaviours contribute to obesity in Middle Eastern nations.
A total of 665 responses were obtained from patients with serious mental illness attending out-patient clinics in Western developed countries (Germany, UK and Australia; n = 518) and Palestine (n = 147). Patients were evaluated by ICD-10 clinical diagnosis, anthropometric measurements and completed a self-report measure of frequencies of consuming different food items and reasons for eating. Nutritional habits were compared against a Western normative group.
More participants from Palestine were overweight or obese (62%) compared to Western countries (47%). In the Western sample, obese patients reported consuming more low-fat products (OR 2.54, 95% CI 1.02-6.33) but also greater eating due to negative emotions (OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.31-2.60) than patients with a healthy body-mass index. In contrast, obese patients from Palestine reported increased consumption of unhealthy snacks (OR 3.73 95% CI 1.16-12.00).
Patients with mental illness have poorer nutritional habits than the general population, particularly in Western nations. Separate interventions to improve nutritional habits and reduce obesity are warranted between Western nations and Palestine.
Suicide and death by accidents in persons with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are common, but excess mortality from natural death accounts for even more years of life lost. The impact of somatic comorbidity, however, often is not duly considered in analyses and explanations of excess mortality in patients with psychotic disorders.
This study investigates and evaluates the impact of 19 severe chronic diseases on excess mortality due to diseases and medical conditions (natural death) in individuals with psychotic disorders compared with the general population using a population-based cohort study in Denmark. Incidence/mortality rate ratios of admission/mortality were calculated using survival analysis.
Cohort members with psychotic disorders had higher incidence rates of hospital contacts for almost all of the 19 disorders than the general population. The mortality rate ratio (MRR) of natural death was 7.10 (95% CI 6.45, 7.81) for schizophrenic men, decreasing to 4.64 (95% CI 4.21, 5.10) after adjustment for the somatic disorders. The same pattern existed in women and in both genders with bipolar disorder. Highest MRRs were observed for psychotic patients without hospital admissions with the investigated somatic disorders.
Chronic somatic diseases accounted for half of the excess mortality in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Chronic disorders investigated in this paper seem to be under-treated or under-detected among such patients.
Emerging evidence suggests that vascular disease confers vulnerability to a late-onset of depressive illness and the impairment of specific cognitive functions, most notably in the domains of memory storage and retrieval. Lower limb athero-thrombosis and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) have both been previously associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms possibly due to associated intracerebral vascular disease or systemic inflammation, hence suggesting that these illnesses may be regarded as models to investigate the vascular genesis of neuropsychiatric symptoms. The aim of this study was to compare neuropsychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety and a variety of cognitive domains in patients who had symptoms of peripheral athero-thrombosis (intermittent claudication) and those who had an asymptomatic abdominal aortic aneurysm AAA.
In a cross-sectional study, 26 participants with either intermittent claudication or AAA were assessed using a detailed neuropsychiatric assessment battery for various cognitive domains and depression and anxiety symptoms (Hamilton Depression and Anxiety Scales). Student t test and linear regression analyses were applied to compare neuropsychiatric symptoms between patient groups. AAA participants showed greater levels of cognitive impairment in the domains of immediate and delayed memory as compared to patients who had intermittent claudication. Cognitive dysfunction was best predicted by increasing aortic diameter. CRP was positively related to AAA diameter, but not to cognitive function. AAA and aortic diameter in particular were associated with cognitive dysfunction in this study.
AAA patients are at a higher risk for cognitive impairment than intermittent claudication patients. Validation of this finding is required in a larger study, but if confirmed could suggest that systemic factors peculiar to AAA may impact on cognitive function.
Manipulations of rearing conditions have been used to examine the effects of early experience on adult behavior with varying results. Evidence suggests that postnatal days (PND) 15–21 are a time of particular susceptibility to environmental influences on anxiety-like behavior in mice. To examine this, we subjected C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice to an early handling-like procedure. Pups were separated from dams from PND 12–20 for 30 minutes daily or received standard care. On PND 21, pups were weaned and either individually- or group- housed. On PND 60, anxiety-like behavior was examined on the elevated zero-maze. Although individually- housed animals took longer to enter an open quadrant of the maze, they spent more time in the open than group-housed animals. Additionally, we observed a trend of reduced anxiety-like behavior in C57BL/6J, but not DBA/2J mice that underwent the handling-like procedure.
The extent to which mental and physical exercise may slow cognitive decline in adults with early signs of cognitive impairment is unknown. This article provides the rationale and methodology of the first trial to investigate the isolated and combined effects of cognitive training (CT) and progressive resistance training (PRT) on general cognitive function and functional independence in older adults with early cognitive impairment: Study of Mental and Regular Training (SMART). Our secondary aim is to quantify the differential adaptations to these interventions in terms of brain morphology and function, cardiovascular and metabolic function, exercise capacity, psychological state and body composition, to identify the potential mechanisms of benefit and broader health status effects.
SMART is a double-blind randomized, double sham-controlled trial. One hundred and thirty-two community-dwelling volunteers will be recruited. Primary inclusion criteria are: at risk for cognitive decline as defined by neuropsychology assessment, low physical activity levels, stable disease, and age over 55 years. The two active interventions are computerized CT and whole body, high intensity PRT. The two sham interventions are educational videos and seated calisthenics. Participants are randomized into 1 of 4 supervised training groups (2 d/wk × 6 mo) in a fully factorial design. Primary outcomes measured at baseline, 6, and 18 months are the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-Cog), neuropsychological test scores, and Bayer Informant Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (B-IADLs). Secondary outcomes are psychological well-being, quality of life, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal function, body composition, insulin resistance, systemic inflammation and anabolic/neurotrophic hormones, and brain morphology and function via Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Spectroscopy (fMRS).
SMART will provide a novel evaluation of the immediate and long term benefits of CT, PRT, and combined CT and PRT on global cognitive function and brain morphology, as well as potential underlying mechanisms of adaptation in older adults at risk of further cognitive decline.
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ANZCTRN12608000489392
Development of treatments for acute and chronic pain conditions remains a challenge, with an unmet need for improved sensitivity and reproducibility in measuring pain in patients. Here we used pulsed-continuous arterial spin-labelling [pCASL], a relatively novel perfusion magnetic-resonance imaging technique, in conjunction with a commonly-used post-surgical model, to measure changes in regional cerebral blood flow [rCBF] associated with the experience of being in ongoing pain. We demonstrate repeatable, reproducible assessment of ongoing pain that is independent of patient self-report. In a cross-over trial design, 16 participants requiring bilateral removal of lower-jaw third molars underwent pain-free pre-surgical pCASL scans. Following extraction of either left or right tooth, repeat scans were acquired during post-operative ongoing pain. When pain-free following surgical recovery, the pre/post-surgical scanning procedure was repeated for the remaining tooth. Voxelwise statistical comparison of pre and post-surgical scans was performed to reveal rCBF changes representing ongoing pain. In addition, rCBF values in predefined pain and control brain regions were obtained. rCBF increases (5–10%) representing post-surgical ongoing pain were identified bilaterally in a network including primary and secondary somatosensory, insula and cingulate cortices, thalamus, amygdala, hippocampus, midbrain and brainstem (including trigeminal ganglion and principal-sensory nucleus), but not in a control region in visual cortex. rCBF changes were reproducible, with no rCBF differences identified across scans within-session or between post-surgical pain sessions. This is the first report of the cerebral representation of ongoing post-surgical pain without the need for exogenous tracers. Regions of rCBF increases are plausibly associated with pain and the technique is reproducible, providing an attractive proposition for testing interventions for on-going pain that do not rely solely on patient self-report. Our findings have the potential to improve our understanding of the cerebral representation of persistent painful conditions, leading to improved identification of specific patient sub-types and implementation of mechanism-based treatments.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder with a highly characteristic disease distribution. Prevalence and incidence in general increase with increasing distance from the equator. Similarly the female to male sex ratio increases with increasing latitude. Multiple possible risk factors have been hypothesised for this epidemiological trend, including human leukocyte antigen allele frequencies, ultraviolet exposure and subsequent vitamin D levels, smoking and Epstein-Barr virus. In this study we undertook a study of medical records across Scotland on an NHS health board level of resolution to examine the epidemiology of MS in this region.
Methods and Results
We calculated the number and rate of patient-linked hospital admissions throughout Scotland between 1997 and 2009 from the Scottish Morbidity Records. We used weighted-regression to examine correlations between these measures of MS, and latitude and smoking prevalence. We found a highly significant relationship between MS patient-linked admissions and latitude (r weighted by standard error (rsw) = 0.75, p = 0.002). There was no significant relationship between smoking prevalence and MS patient-linked admissions.
There is a definite latitudinal effect on MS risk across Scotland, arising primarily from an excess of female MS patients at more Northerly latitudes. Whether this is a true gradient or whether a threshold effect may apply at particular latitude will be revealed only by further research. A number of genetic and environmental factors may underlie this effect.
Depression and anxiety disorders are common and treatable with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), but access to this therapy is limited.
Review evidence that computerized CBT for the anxiety and depressive disorders is acceptable to patients and effective in the short and longer term.
Systematic reviews and data bases were searched for randomized controlled trials of computerized cognitive behavior therapy versus a treatment or control condition in people who met diagnostic criteria for major depression, panic disorder, social phobia or generalized anxiety disorder. Number randomized, superiority of treatment versus control (Hedges g) on primary outcome measure, risk of bias, length of follow up, patient adherence and satisfaction were extracted.
22 studies of comparisons with a control group were identified. The mean effect size superiority was 0.88 (NNT 2.13), and the benefit was evident across all four disorders. Improvement from computerized CBT was maintained for a median of 26 weeks follow-up. Acceptability, as indicated by adherence and satisfaction, was good. Research probity was good and bias risk low. Effect sizes were non-significantly higher in comparisons with waitlist than with active treatment control conditions. Five studies comparing computerized CBT with traditional face-to-face CBT were identified, and both modes of treatment appeared equally beneficial.
Computerized CBT for anxiety and depressive disorders, especially via the internet, has the capacity to provide effective acceptable and practical health care for those who might otherwise remain untreated.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12610000030077
Previous studies have examined physical risk factors in relation to functional health, but less work has focused on the protective role of psychological and social factors. We examined the individual and joint protective contribution of control beliefs, social support and physical exercise to changes in functional health, beyond the influence of health status and physical risk factors in middle-aged and older adults. Given that functional health typically declines throughout adulthood, it is important to identify modifiable factors that can be implemented to maintain functioning, improve quality of life, and reduce disability.
We conducted a national longitudinal study, Midlife in the United States (MIDUS), with assessments in 1995–1996 and 2004–2006, and 3,626 community-residing adults, aged 32 to 84, were included in the analyses. Functional health (Physical Functioning subscale of the SF-36) and protective factors were measured at both occasions. While controlling for socio-demographic, health status, and physical risk factors (large waist circumference, smoking, and alcohol or drug problems), a composite of the three protective variables (control beliefs, social support, and physical exercise) at Time 1 was significantly related to functional health change. The more of these factors at Time 1, the better the health maintenance over 10 years. Among middle-aged and older adults, declines in health were significantly reduced with an increased number of protective factors.
Age-related declines in health were reduced among those with more protective factors up to a decade earlier in life. Modifiable psychological, social, and physical protective factors, individually and in the aggregate, are associated with maintenance of functional health, beyond the damaging effects of physical risk factors. The results are encouraging for the prospect of developing interventions to promote functional health and for reducing public health expenditures for physical disability in later life.
Cognitive dysfunction is clearly recognized in bipolar patients, but the degree of impairment varies due to methodological factors as well as heterogeneity in patient populations. The goal of this study was to evaluate cognitive functioning in bipolar patients and to assess its association with depressive symptoms. Post hoc the relationship with lifetime alcohol use disorder was explored.
The study included 110 bipolar patients and 75 healthy controls. Patients with severe depressive symptoms, (hypo)manic symptoms and current severe alcohol use disorder were excluded. Diagnoses were evaluated via the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Cognitive functioning was measured in domains of psychomotor speed, speed of information processing, attentional switching, verbal memory, visual memory, executive functioning and an overall mean score. Severity of depression was assessed by the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-self rating. Patients were euthymic (n = 46) or with current mild (n = 38) or moderate (n = 26) depressive symptoms. Cognitive impairment was found in 26% (z-score 2 or more above reference control group for at least one domain) of patients, most prominent in executive functioning (effect size; ES 0.49) and speed of information processing (ES 0.47). Depressive symptoms were associated with dysfunction in psychomotor speed (adjusted beta 0.43; R2 7%), speed of information processing (adjusted beta 0.36; R2 20%), attentional switching (adjusted beta 0.24; R2 16%) and the mean score (adjusted beta 0.23; R2 24%), but not with verbal and visual memory and executive functioning. Depressive symptoms explained 24% of the variance in the mean z-score of all 6 cognitive domains. Comorbid lifetime alcohol use (n = 21) was not associated with cognitive dysfunction.
Cognitive dysfunction in bipolar disorder is more severe in patients with depressive symptoms, especially regarding speed and attention. Therefore, interpretation of cognitive functioning in patients with depressive symptoms should be cautious. No association was found between cognitive functioning and lifetime comorbid alcohol use disorder.