Apathy is a common neuropsychiatric feature of Parkinson’s disease (PD), but little is known of relationships between apathy and specific medications in PD. Following a retrospective database and chart review of 181 Parkinson’s patients, relationships between Apathy Scale scores and use of psychotropic and antiparkinsonian medications were examined with multiple regression. Controlling for age, sex, education, and depression, the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), but not other antidepressants, was associated with greater apathy. Use of monoamine oxidase B inhibitors was associated with less apathy. Longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate a potential SSRI-induced apathy syndrome in PD.
Chronic methamphetamine (MA) use is commonly associated with neural injury and neurocognitive deficits. We examined the nature and correlates of self-reported neurobehavioral symptoms (i.e., apathy, disinihibition, and executive dysfunction) in 73 individuals with histories of MA dependence (MA+) and 85 comparison participants with comparable demographics and risk histories. MA+ individuals endorsed significantly more severe neurobehavioral symptoms on the Frontal Systems Behavioral Scale (FrSBe), especially disinhibition and executive dysfunction. Elevations in neurobehavioral symptoms were independent of common comorbidities, including hepatitis C infection, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, mood disorders, and other substance use factors. Notably, the severity of neurobehavioral symptoms were uniquely associated with self-reported decrements in instrumental activities of daily living in the MA dependent sample. Findings indicate that chronic MA users may experience elevated neurobehavioral symptoms of disinhibition and executive dysfunction, potentially increasing their risk of functional declines.
Methamphetamine; Substance abuse; Executive dysfunction; Behavioral disinhibition; Neuropsychological assessment; Activities of daily living
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is an effective treatment for depression. Increased metabolism in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is a known predictor for antidepressant response. The authors assessed whether increased theta power within the ACC predicts rTMS response in participants with vascular depression. Sixty-five participants were randomized to active or sham rTMS. Outcome was assessed using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Electroencephalography was obtained, and comparisons were made among each group with a normative database using low-resolution electromagnetic tomography. Results suggest that vascular depression participants respond well to rTMS and that increased low-theta power in the subgenual ACC predicts response to rTMS.
Suicide is common among individuals with psychiatric illness; executive functioning may be associated with suicide risk. The authors examined demographic, clinical, and executive-functioning variables in suicide ideators and suicide attempters, hypothesizing that attempters would demonstrate poorer executive-functioning skills. Seventy-seven participants with psychiatric illness completed a neuropsychological battery while hospitalized or residing in crisis-houses after expressing suicidal ideation (N=40) or making a suicide attempt (N=37). Logistic regression predicted suicide Ideator versus suicide Attempter status; suicide Attempters exhibited poorer inhibition but better problem-solving ability than suicide Ideators. Suicide attempt risk may be associated with better problem-solving skills, but worse inhibitory control.
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain highly prevalent in the era of cART, but there are no validated psychological interventions aimed at improving cognitive outcomes. This study sought to determine the potential benefit of semantic cueing on category fluency deficits, which are prevalent in HIV and impact daily functioning. Eighty-six HIV-infected individuals and 87 demographically matched seronegative participants were administered a standard (i.e., uncued) and a cued category fluency task. Results revealed significant improvements in cued versus uncued performance in HIV, particularly for persons with lower levels of education. The cueing benefit observed may inform rehabilitation efforts aimed at ameliorating HAND.
infectious disease; verbal fluency; semantic memory; cognitive rehabilitation; executive functions; cognitive neuropsychology
The authors examined the impact of HIV, cognitive dysfunction, and depression on decision-making. HIV+ (N=100) and HIV− (N=26) participants were administered a comprehensive neuropsychological battery, a modified version of the Iowa Gambling Task, and a measure of depressive symptoms. HIV+ participants demonstrated more difficulties in learning the gambling task than did HIV− participants. Executive functioning and depression emerged as strong predictors of gambling task performance. Depression partially mediated the relationship between executive functioning and gambling performance. Our findings suggest that HIV infection, executive dysfunction, and depression place individuals at risk for poor decision-making.
The authors investigated the relationship between antiretroviral adherence and HIV-associated verbal memory impairment. HIV-positive participants demonstrated poorer verbal memory than HIV-negative participants. Both good (≥90%) and poor (<90%) adherers displayed encoding deficits as compared with controls, but only poor adherers exhibited retrieval deficits. Encoding deficits primarily accounted for reduced delayed recall in good adherers, but both encoding and retrieval deficits accounted for reduced delayed recall in poor adherers. The retrieval difference between the adherence groups might be explained by a neuroprotective effect of good antiretroviral adherence or preexisting HIV-related retrieval deficits that result in poorer adherence.
Difficulties with sustained attention have been found among both persons with HIV infection (HIV+) and bipolar disorder (BD). The authors examined sustained attention among 39 HIV+ individuals with BD (HIV+/BD+) and 33 HIV-infected individuals without BD (HIV+/BD−), using the Conners’ Continuous Performance Test–II (CPT–II). A Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score was also assigned to each participant as an overall indicator of daily functioning abilities. HIV+/BD+ participants had significantly worse performance on CPT–II omission errors, hit reaction time SE (Hit RT SE), variability of SE, and perseverations than HIV+/BD− participants. When examining CPT–II performance over the six study blocks, both HIV+/BD+ and HIV+/BD− participants evidenced worse performance on scores of commission errors and reaction times as the test progressed. The authors also examined the effect of current mood state (i.e., manic, depressive, euthymic) on CPT–II performance, but no significant differences were observed across the various mood states. HIV+/BD+ participants had significantly worse GAF scores than HIV+/BD− participants, which indicates poorer overall functioning in the dually-affected group; among HIV+/BD+ persons, significant negative correlations were found between GAF scores and CPT–II omission and commission errors, detectability, and perseverations, indicating a possible relationship between decrements in sustained attention and worse daily-functioning outcomes.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a novel and effective surgical intervention for refractory Parkinson’s disease (PD).
We review the current literature to identify the clinical correlates associated with STN DBS-induced hypomania/mania in PD patients.
Ventromedial electrode placement has been most consistently implicated in the induction of STN DBS-induced mania. There is some evidence of symptom amelioration when electrode placement is switched to a more dorsolateral contact. Additional clinical correlates may include unipolar stimulation, higher voltage (>3 V), male patients and/or early onset PD.
STN DBS-induced psychiatric adverse events emphasize the need for comprehensive psychiatric presurgical evaluation and follow-up in PD patients. Animal studies and prospective clinical research, combined with advanced neuroimaging techniques, are needed to identify clinical correlates and underlying neurobiological mechanism(s) of STN DBS-induced mania. Such working models would serve to further our understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of mania and contribute valuable new insight towards development of future DBS mood stabilization therapies.
Parkinson’s disease; mania; subthalamic nucleus (STN); deep brain stimulation (DBS)
Panic disorder has an elevated prevalence in Parkinson’s disease (PD). To explore the basis for this co-occurrence, the familial aggregation of panic disorder was examined in patients with PD. Probands and relatives of patients with PD and panic disorder (PD-PANIC; N=20, N=115) and control probands with PD and no active psychiatric illness (PD-NA; N=17, N=108) were interviewed by phone, using a structured interview to determine panic status. Lifetime prevalence of panic and “panic-like” disorders was higher in PD-PANIC than in PD-NA relatives. Panic and “panic-like” disorders are familial disorders in PD.
Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) occur frequently in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s dementia (AD). We examined the relationship between NPS and white matter integrity in these conditions. Twenty two individuals with MCI and 23 with mild AD underwent clinical assessments including the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire and 3.0 Tesla magnetic resonance scans. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was measured in the following manually-drawn regions of interest (ROI): fornix, cingulum bundle, splenium, and cerebral peduncles (control region). The probability of having NPS by tertile of ROI FA was assessed using logistic regression. Because associations were similar within MCI and AD groups, the two groups were combined. Compared to those in the highest tertile, participants within the lowest anterior cingulum (AC) FA tertile were more likely to exhibit irritability, agitation, dysphoria, apathy, and nighttime behavioral disturbances (p<0.05). After adjusting for MMSE, participants in the lowest vs. highest tertile of AC FA were more likely to report irritability (OR: 7.21, p=0.041). Using DTI, low AC FA was associated with increased odds of irritability in mild AD and MCI participants. Further imaging studies are necessary to elucidate the role of the AC in the pathophysiology of NPS in AD and MCI.
Diffusion tensor imaging; Alzheimer’s disease; Mild cognitive impairment; Neuropsychiatric symptoms
The effect that HIV type 1 (HIV) has on neurocognition is a dynamic process, whereby peripheral events are likely involved in setting the stage for clinical findings. In spite of antiretroviral therapy (ART), patients continue to be at risk for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), which might be related to persistence of inflammation. In a yearly assessment of HIV DNA levels in activated monocytes, increased HIV DNA copies were found in patients with persistent HAND. Furthermore, activated monocytes from patients with high HIV DNA copies secreted more inflammatory cytokines. Since these activated monocytes traffic to the CNS and enter the brain, they may contribute to an inflammatory environment in the CNS that leads to HAND.
Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN DBS) in Parkinson disease (PD) improves motor function but has variable effects on mood. Little is known about the relationship between electrode contact location and mood response. We identified the anatomical location of electrode contacts and measured mood response to stimulation with the Visual Analog Scale in 24 STN DBS PD patients. Participants reported greater positive mood, decreased anxiety and apathy with bilateral and unilateral stimulation. Left DBS improved mood more than right DBS. Right DBS-induced increase in positive mood was related to more medial and dorsal contact locations. These results highlight the functional heterogeneity of the STN.
Parkinson disease; deep brain stimulation; mood
It has been hypothesized that one of the effects of antidepressants is to increase functional connectivity between the cortical mood-regulating and the limbic mood-generating regions. One consequence of this antidepressant effect is thought to be decreased limbic activation in response to negative emotional stimuli. Twelve unmedicated unipolar depressed patients and 11 closely matched healthy comparison subjects completed two magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning sessions at baseline and after 6 weeks. Depressed patients received treatment with sertraline between the two sessions. During each MRI session, subjects completed a resting state functional connectivity scan and a conventional block-design negative vs. neutral pictures regional brain activation scan. After 6 weeks of sertraline treatment resting state, functional connectivity between the ACC and limbic regions increased while limbic activation in response to negative versus neutral pictures decreased. The results of this study are consistent with the hypothesis that antidepressant treatment has reciprocal effects on corticolimbic functional connectivity and limbic activation in response to emotional stimuli.
Unimpaired cognition is an important feature of successful aging. Differences in cognitive performance among healthy older adults may be related to differences in brain structure. We reviewed the literature to examine the relationship between brain structure size and cognitive performance in older adults. Eighty-three percent of studies found at least one positive relationship between these factors; however, findings were variable. Positive relationships emerged most consistently between the hippocampal formation and global cognition and memory and between frontal measures and executive function. Additional longitudinal study is needed to further evaluate structure-cognition relationships in older adulthood and across the adult lifespan.
Brain structure; successful aging; healthy aging; cognition; magnetic resonance imaging
Structural deficits in the frontotemporal network have been shown in individuals with psychopathy and are posited to contribute to neuropsychological impairments such as response perseveration. However, no study to date has examined structural correlates of response perseveration in individuals with psychopathy. In this structural MRI study, the authors found higher correlations between increased response perseveration and reduced cortical thickness in the orbitofrontal and anterior temporal regions in individuals with psychopathy than in healthy-comparison subjects. The findings provide preliminary evidence suggesting potential contributions of frontotemporal structural deficits in neurocognitive impairment with perseveration in individuals with psychopathy.
We report clinical features and treatment response in 25 patients with catatonia admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit specializing in psychotic disorders. ECT, benzodiazepines, and clozapine had beneficial effects on catatonic features, while typical antipsychotics resulted in clinical worsening.
Catatonia; Psychosis; Benzodiazepines; ECT; Clozapine
Although well-known from head trauma and acute strokes, sociopathic behavior from dementia is less known and understood. This study reviewed 33 dementia patients who had been in trouble with the law. They were divided into two groups: 22 who committed impulsive sociopathic acts and 11 who committed non-impulsive acts. The impulsive patients demonstrated nonviolent acts, such as dis-inhibited sexual behavior or pathological stealing, and had disproportionate frontal-caudate atrophy on neuroimaging. The majority of non-impulsive patients demonstrated agitation-paranoia, sometimes with reactive aggression, delusional beliefs, or aphasic paranoia, and had advanced memory and other cognitive impairment. The impulsive patients tended to have frontally predominant illnesses such as frontotemporal dementia or Huntington’s disease, whereas the non-impulsive group tended to have Alzheimer’s disease or prominent aphasia. Sociopathy has different causes in dementia. Two common mechanisms are disinhibition, with frontally predominant disease, and agitation-paranoia, with greater cognitive impairment. These forms of sociopathy differ significantly from the antisocial/ psychopathic personality.
This study examined the association between brain electrical activity, measured using quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG), and performance on measures of episodic memory in a sample of nine methamphetamine-dependent individuals who were evaluated after 4 days of monitored abstinence and 10 non-drug-using comparison subjects. In methamphetamine users, but not in comparison subjects, increased theta power was correlated with poorer performance on the delayed recall subtests of the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test and the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test (p<0.05). There was no association between alpha, beta, and delta power and performance on the memory tests. These results complement previous findings by demonstrating that the electrophysiological abnormalities associated with methamphetamine dependence are likely to affect behavior in an observable and important manner (i.e., memory deficits) when users are not intoxicated.
We investigated whether engaging in cognitive activities is associated with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in a cross-sectional study derived from an ongoing population-based study of normal cognitive aging and MCI in Olmsted County, Minnesota. A random sample of 1321 non-demented study participants ages 70 to 89 (n = 1124 cognitively normal persons and n = 197 subjects with MCI) was interviewed about the frequency of cognitive activities carried out in late life (within one year of the date of interview). Computer activities [OR (95% CI) = 0.50 (0.36, 0.71); p < .0001)], craft activities such as knitting, quilting, etc. [0.66 (0.47, 0.93); p = 0.019)], playing games [0.65 (0.47, 0.90); p = 0.010)], and reading books [0.67 (0.49, 0.94); p = 0.019)] were associated with decreased odds of having MCI. Social activities such as traveling were marginally significant [0.71 (0.51, 1.00); p = 0.050)]. Even though the point estimates for reading magazines, playing music, artistic activities, and group activities were associated with reduced odds of having MCI, none reached statistical significance. We could not expect to observe any difference between the two groups on the variable of reading newspapers since almost identical proportions of the two groups (97.4% of normals and 97.5% of the MCI group) were engaged in reading newspapers on a regular basis.
cognitive activities; aging; mild cognitive impairment