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1.  Psychological predictors for attendance of post-HIV test counselling and linkage to care: the Umeed cohort study in Goa, India 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:188.
Successful linkage to care is increasingly recognised as a potentially important factor in determining the success of Antiretroviral Therapy treatment programmes. However, the role of psychological factors during the early part of the continuum of care has so far been under-investigated. The objective of the Umeed study was to evaluate the impact of Common Mental Disorder (CMD), hazardous alcohol use and low cognitive functioning upon attendance for post-test counselling and linkage to care among people attending for HIV-testing in Goa, India.
The study was a prospective cohort design. Participants were recruited at the time of attending for testing and were asked to complete a baseline interview covering sociodemographic characteristics and mental health exposures. HIV status, post-test counselling (PTC) and Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) Centre data were extracted from clinical records.
Among 1934 participants, CMD predicted non-attendance for PTC (adjusted OR = 0.51, 0.21-0.82). There was tentative evidence of an association between hazardous alcohol use and non-attendance for PTC (adjusted OR = 0.69, 0.45-1.02). There was no evidence of an association between CMD caseness and attendance for ART. However, post-hoc analyses showed an association between increasing symptoms of CMD and non-attendance.
Although participation rates were high (86%), non-participation was a possible source of bias. Cognitive tests had not been previously validated in a young population in Goa. The context in which cognitive testing took place may have contributed to the high prevalence of low scores. Findings suggest the need to move towards a broader conceptualisation of the interrelationship between mental health and HIV. It may be important to consider the impact of symptoms of depression and anxiety at every stage of the continuum of care, including immediately after diagnosis and when initiating contact with treatment services.
PMCID: PMC4083128  PMID: 24981595
Linkage to care; Depression; Anxiety; HIV testing; Cognitive impairment; India
2.  Pain, not chronic disease, is associated with the recurrence of depressive and anxiety disorders 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:187.
Studies suggest that poor physical health might be associated with increased depression and anxiety recurrence. The objectives of this study were to determine whether specific chronic diseases and pain characteristics are associated with depression and anxiety recurrence and to examine whether such associations are mediated by subthreshold depressive or anxiety symptoms.
1122 individuals with remitted depressive or anxiety disorder (Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety) were followed up for a period of four years. The impact of specific chronic diseases and pain characteristics on recurrence was assessed using Cox regression and mediation analyses.
Chronic diseases were not associated with recurrence. Neck (HR 1.45, p < .01), chest (HR 1.65, p < .01), abdominal (HR 1.52, p < .01) pain, an increase in the number of pain locations (HR 1.10, p < .01) and pain severity (HR 1.18, p = .01) were associated with an increased risk of depression recurrence but not anxiety. Subthreshold depressive symptoms mediated the associations between pain and depression recurrence.
Pain, not chronic disease, increases the likelihood of depression recurrence, largely through its association with aggravated subthreshold depressive symptoms. These findings support the idea of the existence of a mutually reinforcing mechanism between pain and depression and are indicative of the importance of shedding light on neurobiological links in order to optimize pain and depression management.
PMCID: PMC4090396  PMID: 24965597
Depressive disorder; Anxiety disorder; Recurrence; Pain; Chronic diseases
3.  First-episode psychosis and migration in Italy (PEP-Ita migration): a study in the Italian mental health services 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:186.
It has been frequently reported a higher incidence of psychotic disorders in immigrants than in native populations. There is, however, a lack of knowledge about risk factors which may explain this phenomenon. A better understanding of the causes of psychosis among first-generation migrants is highly needed, particularly in Italy, a country with a recent massive migration.
The “Italian study on first-episode psychosis and migration (PEP-Ita)” is a prospective observational study over a two-year period (1 January 2012–31 December 2013) which will be carried out in 11 Italian mental health centres. All participating centres will collect data about all new cases of migrants with first-episode psychosis. The general purpose (“core”) of the PEP-Ita study is to explore the socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, and the pathways to care of a population of first-episode psychosis migrants in Italy. Secondary aims of the study will be: 1) to understand risk and protective factors for the development of psychotic disorders in migrants; 2) to evaluate the correlations between psychopathology of psychotic disorders in migrants and socio-demographic characteristics, migration history, life experiences; 3) to evaluate the clinical and social outcomes of first-episode psychoses in migrants.
The results of the PEP-Ita study will allow a better understanding of risk factors for psychosis in first-generation migrants in Italy. Moreover, our results will contribute to the development of prevention programmes for psychosis and to the improvement of early intervention treatments for the migrant population in Italy.
PMCID: PMC4079180  PMID: 24957972
Migrants; First-episode psychosis; Italy; Risk factors; Protective factors
4.  Metabolic syndrome among psychiatric outpatients with mood and anxiety disorders 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:185.
Few studies have simultaneously compared the impacts of pharmacotherapy and mental diagnoses on metabolic syndrome (MetS) among psychiatric outpatients with mood and anxiety disorders. This study aimed to investigate the impacts of pharmacotherapy and mental diagnoses on MetS and the prevalence of MetS among these patients.
Two-hundred and twenty-nine outpatients (men/women = 85/144) were enrolled from 1147 outpatients with mood and anxiety disorders by systematic sampling. Psychiatric disorders and MetS were diagnosed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR and the new International Diabetics Federation definition, respectively. The numbers of antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants being taken were recorded. Logistic regression was used to investigate the impacts of pharmacotherapy and psychiatric diagnoses on MetS.
Among 229 subjects, 51 (22.3%) fulfilled the criteria for MetS. The prevalence of MetS was highest in the bipolar I disorder (46.7%) patients, followed by bipolar II disorder (25.0%), major depressive disorder (22.0%), anxiety-only disorders (16.7%), and no mood and/or anxiety disorders (14.3%). The percentages of MetS among the five categories were correlated with those of the patients being treated with antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. Use of antipsychotics and/or mood stabilizers independently predicted a higher risk of MetS after controlling for demographic variables and psychiatric diagnoses. When adding body mass index (BMI) as an independent variable in the regression model, BMI became the most significant factor to predict MetS.
BMI was found to be an important factor related to MetS. Pharmacotherapy might be one of underlying causes of elevated BMI. The interactions among MetS, BMI, pharmacotherapy, and psychiatric diagnoses might need further research.
PMCID: PMC4079179  PMID: 24952586
Bipolar disorder; Depression; Anxiety; Metabolic syndrome
5.  The association between internet addiction and psychiatric co-morbidity: a meta-analysis 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:183.
This study evaluates the association between Internal Addiction (IA) and psychiatric co-morbidity in the literature.
Meta-analyses were conducted on cross-sectional, case–control and cohort studies which examined the relationship between IA and psychiatric co-morbidity. Selected studies were extracted from major online databases. The inclusion criteria are as follows: 1) studies conducted on human subjects; 2) IA and psychiatric co-morbidity were assessed by standardised questionnaires; and 3) availability of adequate information to calculate the effect size. Random-effects models were used to calculate the aggregate prevalence and the pooled odds ratios (OR).
Eight studies comprising 1641 patients suffering from IA and 11210 controls were included. Our analyses demonstrated a significant and positive association between IA and alcohol abuse (OR = 3.05, 95% CI = 2.14-4.37, z = 6.12, P < 0.001), attention deficit and hyperactivity (OR = 2.85, 95% CI = 2.15-3.77, z = 7.27, P < 0.001), depression (OR = 2.77, 95% CI = 2.04-3.75, z = 6.55, P < 0.001) and anxiety (OR = 2.70, 95% CI = 1.46-4.97, z = 3.18, P = 0.001).
IA is significantly associated with alcohol abuse, attention deficit and hyperactivity, depression and anxiety.
PMCID: PMC4082374  PMID: 24947851
Internet addiction; Depression; Anxiety; Alcohol abuse; Attention deficit; Hyperactivity
6.  Dietary patterns are associated with obesity in Japanese patients with schizophrenia 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:184.
Obesity among patients with schizophrenia is a growing concern because being overweight is widely regarded as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and premature death. Dietary patterns have been suggested as one modifiable factor that may play a role in development of obesity. The objective of this study was to examine the association between dietary patterns and obesity among patients with schizophrenia in Japan.
We recruited patients (n = 338) aged 44.0 ± 13.2 (mean ± SD) years with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia who were admitted to four psychiatric hospitals using a cross-sectional design. Diet was assessed with a validated brief-type self-administered diet history questionnaire (BDHQ). Dietary patterns from 52 predefined food groups were extracted by principal component analysis.
A total of 61 subjects (18.0%) were classified as obese. Three dietary patterns were identified: the healthy dietary pattern, the processed food dietary pattern, and the alcohol and accompanying dietary patterns. After adjusting for age and gender, patients within the high tertile of each healthy dietary pattern (OR = 0.29, 95% CI = 0.13 to 0.62) and processed food dietary pattern (OR = 0.44, 95% CI = 0.22 to 0.89) had a significantly lower risk for obesity compared with low tertile of dietary pattern.
Our findings suggest that dietary patterns, including higher intake of protein, fat, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and vitamins, may be related to a decreased prevalence of obesity within patients with schizophrenia. Future longitudinal research exploring dietary patterns and obesity among patients with schizophrenia is warranted.
PMCID: PMC4087244  PMID: 24947974
Cross-sectional study; Schizophrenia; Dietary patterns; Obesity; Japanese
7.  The Maristán stigma scale: a standardized international measure of the stigma of schizophrenia and other psychoses 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:182.
People with schizophrenia face prejudice and discrimination from a number of sources including professionals and families. The degree of stigma perceived and experienced varies across cultures and communities. We aimed to develop a cross-cultural measure of the stigma perceived by people with schizophrenia.
Items for the scale were developed from qualitative group interviews with people with schizophrenia in six countries. The scale was then applied in face-to-face interviews with 164 participants, 103 of which were repeated after 30 days. Principal Axis Factoring and Promax rotation evaluated the structure of the scale; Horn’s parallel combined with bootstrapping determined the number of factors; and intra-class correlation assessed test-retest reliability.
The final scale has 31 items and four factors: informal social networks, socio-institutional, health professionals and self-stigma. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.84 for the Factor 1; 0.81 for Factor 2; 0.74 for Factor 3, and 0.75 for Factor 4. Correlation matrix among factors revealed that most were in the moderate range [0.31-0.49], with the strongest occurring between perception of stigma in the informal network and self-stigma and there was also a weaker correlation between stigma from health professionals and self-stigma. Test-retest reliability was highest for informal networks [ICC 0.76 [0.67 -0.83]] and self-stigma [ICC 0.74 [0.64-0.81]]. There were no significant differences in the scoring due to sex or age. Service users in Argentina had the highest scores in almost all dimensions.
The MARISTAN stigma scale is a reliable measure of the stigma of schizophrenia and related psychoses across several cultures. A confirmatory factor analysis is needed to assess the stability of its factor structure.
PMCID: PMC4074312  PMID: 24943228
Stigma; Questionnaire; Psychometrics; Rating scale schizophrenia
8.  Validation of the multi-dimensional scale of perceived social support (MSPSS) and the relationship between social support, intimate partner violence and antenatal depression in Malawi 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:180.
Lack of social support is an important risk factor for antenatal depression and anxiety in low- and middle-income countries. We translated, adapted and validated the Multi-dimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) in order to study the relationship between perceived social support, intimate partner violence and antenatal depression in Malawi.
The MSPSS was translated and adapted into Chichewa and Chiyao. Five hundred and eighty-three women attending an antenatal clinic were administered the MSPSS, depression screening measures, and a risk factor questionnaire including questions about intimate partner violence. A sub-sample of participants (n = 196) were interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV to diagnose major depressive episode. Validity of the MSPSS was evaluated by assessment of internal consistency, factor structure, and correlation with Self Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ) score and major depressive episode. We investigated associations between perception of support from different sources (significant other, family, and friends) and major depressive episode, and whether intimate partner violence was a moderator of these associations.
In both Chichewa and Chiyao, the MSPSS had high internal consistency for the full scale and significant other, family, and friends subscales. MSPSS full scale and subscale scores were inversely associated with SRQ score and major depression diagnosis. Using principal components analysis, the MSPSS had the expected 3-factor structure in analysis of the whole sample. On confirmatory factor analysis, goodness–of-fit indices were better for a 3-factor model than for a 2-factor model, and met standard criteria when correlation between items was allowed. Lack of support from a significant other was the only MSPSS subscale that showed a significant association with depression on multivariate analysis, and this association was moderated by experience of intimate partner violence.
The MSPSS is a valid measure of perceived social support in Malawi. Lack of support by a significant other is associated with depression in pregnant women who have experienced intimate partner violence in this setting.
PMCID: PMC4074419  PMID: 24938124
Social support; MSPSS; Antenatal; Depression; Africa
9.  Challenges to providing quality substance abuse treatment services for American Indian and Alaska native communities: perspectives of staff from 18 treatment centers 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:181.
Substance abuse continues to exact a significant toll, despite promising advancements in treatment, and American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities remain disproportionately impacted. Understanding the challenges to providing quality substance abuse treatment to AI/AN communities could ultimately result in more effective treatment interventions, but no multi-site studies have examined this important issue.
This qualitative study examined the challenges of providing substance abuse treatment services for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. We conducted key informant interviews and focus groups at 18 substance abuse treatment programs serving AI/AN communities. Seventy-six service participants (21 individuals in clinical administrative positions and 55 front-line clinicians) participated in the project. Interview transcripts were coded to identify key themes.
We found that the challenges of bringing effective substance abuse treatment to AI/AN communities fell into three broad categories: challenges associated with providing clinical services, those associated with the infrastructure of treatment settings, and those associated with the greater service/treatment system. These sets of challenges interact to form a highly complex set of conditions for the delivery of these services.
Our findings suggest that substance abuse treatment services for AI/AN communities require more integrated, individualized, comprehensive, and longer-term approaches to care. Our three categories of challenges provide a useful framework for eliciting challenges to providing quality substance abuse treatment in other substance abuse treatment settings.
PMCID: PMC4080609  PMID: 24938281
Indians; North American; Substance abuse treatment centers; Health services research; Organizational case studies
10.  Bias in a protocol for a meta-analysis of 5-HTTLPR, stress, and depression 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:179.
PMCID: PMC4084794  PMID: 24939753
11.  How do psychiatrists address delusions in first meetings in acute care? A qualitative study 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:178.
Communicating about delusions can be challenging, particularly when a therapeutic relationship needs to be established in acute care. So far, no systematic research has explored how psychiatrists address patients’ delusional beliefs in first meetings in acute care. The aim of this study was to describe how psychiatrists address patients’ delusional experiences in acute in-patient care.
First meetings between five psychiatrists and 14 patients in acute care were audio-recorded and analysed using thematic content analysis.
296 psychiatrist statements about delusions were identified and coded. Three commonly used approaches (with a total of 6 subthemes) were identified. The most common approaches were eliciting the content (1 subtheme: eliciting content and evidence) and understanding the impact (3 subthemes: identifying emotions, exploring links with dysfunctional behaviour and discussing reasons for hospital admission) while questioning the validity of the beliefs (2 subthemes: challenging content and exploring alternative explanations) was less common. The last approach sometimes put patients in a defensive position.
Psychiatrists commonly use three approaches to address patients’ delusions in the first meeting in acute in-patient care. Questioning the patients’ beliefs can lead to disagreement which might hinder establishing a positive therapeutic relationship. Future research should explore the impact of such an approach on outcomes and specify to what extent questioning the validity of delusional beliefs is appropriate in the first meeting.
PMCID: PMC4067065  PMID: 24935678
Delusions; Acute care; Communication; Therapeutic relationships
12.  The relationship between mood and sleep in different female reproductive states 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:177.
Sleep is disrupted in depressed subjects, but it also deteriorates with age and possibly with the transition to menopause. The nature of interaction between mood, sleep, age and reproductive state is not well-defined. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between mood and sleep among healthy women in different reproductive states.
We analyzed data from 11 younger (20–26 years), 21 perimenopausal (43–51 years) and 29 postmenopausal (58–71 years) healthy women who participated in a study on menopause, sleep and cognition. The 21-item Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was administered to assess mood. Subjective sleep quality was assessed with the Basic Nordic Sleep Questionnaire (BNSQ). Objective sleep was measured with all-night polysomnography (PSG) recordings. Perimenopausal and younger women were examined during the first days of their menstrual cycle at the follicular phase.
Among younger women, less arousals associated with higher BDI total scores (p = 0.026), and higher SWS percentages with more dissatisfaction (p = 0.001) and depressive-somatic symptoms (p = 0.025), but with less depressive-emotional symptoms (p = 0.001). In specific, less awakenings either from REM sleep or SWS, respectively, associated with more punishment (p = 0.005; p = 0.036), more dissatisfaction (p < 0.001; p = 0.001) and more depressive-somatic symptoms (p = 0.001; p = 0.009), but with less depressive-emotional symptoms (p = 0.002; p = 0.003). In perimenopausal women, higher BNSQ insomnia scores (p = 0.005), lower sleep efficiencies (p = 0.022) and shorter total sleep times (p = 0.024) associated with higher BDI scores, longer sleep latencies with more depressive-somatic symptoms (p = 0.032) and longer REM latencies with more dissatisfaction (p = 0.017). In postmenopausal women, higher REM percentages associated with higher BDI total scores (p = 0.019) and more depressive-somatic symptoms (p = 0.005), and longer SWS latencies with more depressive-somatic symptoms (p = 0.030).
Depressive symptoms measured with the total BDI scores associated with sleep impairment in both perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. In younger women, specific BDI factors revealed minor associations, suggesting that the type of sleep impairment can vary in relation to different depressive features. Our data indicate that associations between sleep and depressed mood may change in conjunction with hormonal milestones.
PMCID: PMC4071019  PMID: 24935559
Perimenopause; Postmenopause; Reproduction; Sleep stage
13.  Efficacy of depression treatments for immigrant patients: results from a systematic review 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:176.
The unprecedented rates of global migration present unique challenges to mental health services in migrant receiving countries to provide efficacious and culturally salient treatment for mental health conditions including depression. This review aimed to identify and evaluate the effectiveness of depression interventions specifically directed towards first-generation immigrant populations.
We conducted a systematic review of original research published between 2000 and 2013 that investigated depression interventions in first generation immigrants.
Fifteen studies were included; the majority focused on Latino immigrants living in the United States (US). Twelve studies investigated the use of psychotherapies; the remainder examined collaborative care models and physical exercise-based interventions. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Behavioral Activation tended to improve depressive symptoms, especially when culturally adapted to suit clients while Problem Solving Therapy improved depressive symptomology with and without adaptations. Collaborative care and exercise did not significantly improve depressive symptoms.
Depression may be effectively treated by means of psychotherapies, especially when treatments are culturally adapted. However the reviewed studies were limited due to methodological weaknesses and were predominantly undertaken in the US with Latino patients. To improve generalizability, future research should be undertaken in non-US settings, amongst diverse ethnic groups and utilize larger sample sizes in either randomized clinical trials or observational cohort studies.
PMCID: PMC4084503  PMID: 24930429
Migrant; Depression; Intervention; Review
14.  Case report: bipolar disorder as the first manifestation of CADASIL 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:175.
Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is an inherited cerebrovascular disease, clinically characterized by variable manifestations of migraine, recurrent transient ischemic attack or lacunar strokes, cognitive decline, and mood disturbances. However, manic episodes have rarely been documented as an initial symptom of CADASIL and bipolar disorder presenting as the first manifestation in CADASIL has not been reported previously from evaluations by psychiatrists or psychological testing by psychologists.
Case presentation
A 53 year old woman developed symptoms of mania in her 50s leading to a personality change involving a continuously labile mood and irritability over a number of years. Neuropsychological testing revealed an intact memory, but impairment in attention and executive function. In the Rorschach test, she showed a high level of cognitive rigidity. Magnetic resonance imaging findings were very consistent with a diagnosis of CADASIL, which was confirmed by genetic testing for NOTCH3 mutations. Atypical antipsychotics proved to be helpful in treating her manic symptoms and for behavior control.
We present a novel case of CADASIL that first presented as bipolar disorder. We contend that when patients show a late onset personality change or chronically irritable mood that deteriorates over many years, an organic cause such as CADASIL must be considered. Further studies are needed to better understand the exact impacts of cerebral tissue lesions and psychiatric symptoms in CADASIL patients.
PMCID: PMC4080756  PMID: 24929957
CADASIL; Bipolar disorder; Mood disorder; NOTCH3
15.  Establishing the bidirectional relationship between depression and subclinical arteriosclerosis – rationale, design, and characteristics of the BiDirect Study 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:174.
Depression and cardiovascular diseases due to arteriosclerosis are both frequent and impairing conditions. Depression and (subclinical) arteriosclerosis appear to be related in a bidirectional way, and it is plausible to assume a partly joint causal relationship. However, the biological mechanisms and the behavioral pathways that lead from depression to arteriosclerosis and vice versa remain to be exactly determined.
This study protocol describes the rationale and design of the prospective BiDirect Study that aims at investigating the mutual relationship between depression and (subclinical) arteriosclerosis. BiDirect is scheduled to follow-up three distinct cohorts of individuals ((i) patients with acute depression (N = 999), (ii) patients after an acute cardiac event (N = 347), and (iii) reference subjects from the general population (N = 912)). Over the course of 12 years, four personal examinations are planned to be conducted. The core examination program, which will remain identical across follow-ups, comprises a personal interview (e.g. medical diagnoses, health care utilization, lifestyle and risk behavior), a battery of self-administered questionnaires (e.g. depressive symptoms, readiness to change health behavior, perceived health-related quality of life), sensory (e.g. olfaction, pain) and neuropsychological (e.g. memory, executive functions, emotional processing, manual dexterity) assessments, anthropometry, body impedance measurement, a clinical work-up regarding the vascular status (e.g. electrocardiogram, blood pressure, intima media thickness), the taking of blood samples (serum and plasma, DNA), and structural and functional resonance imaging of the brain (e.g. diffusion tensor imaging, resting-state, emotional faces processing). The present report includes BiDirect-Baseline, the first data collection wave.
Due to its prospective character, the integration of three distinct cohorts, the long follow-up time window, the diligent diagnosis of depression taking depression subtypes into account, the consideration of relevant comorbidities and risk factors, the assessment of indicators of (subclinical) arteriosclerosis in different vascular territories, and the structural and functional brain imaging that is performed for a large number of participants, the BiDirect Study represents an innovative approach that combines population-based cohorts with sophisticated clinical work-up methods and that holds the potential to overcome many of the drawbacks characterizing earlier investigations.
PMCID: PMC4065391  PMID: 24924233
Depression; Depression subtypes; Arteriosclerosis; Cardiovascular; Cerebrovascular; (f)MRI; White matter hyperintensities; Prospective cohort study; Bidirectional
16.  Social insecurity in relation to orbitofrontal activity in patients with eating disorders: a near-infrared spectroscopy study 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:173.
Functional neuroimaging techniques are widely used to elucidate changes in brain activity, and various questionnaires are used to investigate psychopathological features in patients with eating disorders (ED). It is well known that social skills and interpersonal difficulties are strongly associated with the psychopathology of patients with ED. However, few studies have examined the association between brain activity and social relationships in patients with ED, particularly in patients with extremely low body weight.
In this study, 22-channel near-infrared spectroscopy was used to quantify regional hemodynamic changes during a letter fluency task (LFT) in 20 female patients with ED with a mean body mass index of 14.0 kg/m2and 31 female controls (CTLs). Symptoms were assessed using the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 and Beck Depression Inventory. We hypothesized that frontal activity in patients with ED would be lower than in CTLs and would show different correlations with psychopathological features compared with CTLs.
The LFT performance and score on the social insecurity subscale of the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 were significantly higher in the ED group than in the CTL group. The mean change in oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) in bilateral frontal regions during the LFT was significantly smaller in the ED group than in the CTL group. Social insecurity score was positively correlated with the concentration of oxy-Hb in the bilateral orbitofrontal cortex in the ED group but not in the CTL group.
These results suggest that activity of the orbitofrontal cortex is associated with social insecurity and disturbed in patients with ED. Therefore, disturbed orbitofrontal cortex activity may underlie the lack of insight and social isolation that is characteristic of patients with ED.
PMCID: PMC4067083  PMID: 24924100
Anorexia nervosa; Extremely low body weight; Near-infrared spectroscopy; Social isolation
17.  Predicting outcome following psychological therapy in IAPT (PROMPT): a naturalistic project protocol 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:170.
Depression and anxiety are highly prevalent and represent a significant and well described public health burden. Whilst first line psychological treatments are effective for nearly half of attenders, there remain a substantial number of patients who do not benefit. The main objective of the present project is to establish an infrastructure platform for the identification of factors that predict lack of response to psychological treatment for depression and anxiety, in order to better target treatments as well as to support translational and experimental medicine research in mood and anxiety disorders.
Predicting outcome following psychological therapy in IAPT (PROMPT) is a naturalistic observational project that began patient recruitment in January 2014. The project is currently taking place in Southwark Psychological Therapies Service, an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service currently provided by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). However, the aim is to roll-out the project across other IAPT services. Participants are approached before beginning treatment and offered a baseline interview whilst they are waiting for therapy to begin. This allows us to test for relationships between predictor variables and patient outcome measures. At the baseline interview, participants complete a diagnostic interview; are asked to give blood and hair samples for relevant biomarkers, and complete psychological and social questionnaire measures. Participants then complete their psychological therapy as offered by Southwark Psychological Therapies Service. Response to psychological therapy will be measured using standard IAPT outcome data, which are routinely collected at each appointment.
This project addresses a need to understand treatment response rates in primary care psychological therapy services for those with depression and/or anxiety. Measurement of a range of predictor variables allows for the detection of bio-psycho-social factors which may be relevant for treatment outcome. This will enable future clinical decision making to be based on the individual needs of the patient in an evidence-based manner. Moreover, the identification of individuals who fail to improve following therapy delivered by IAPT services could be utilised for the development of novel interventions.
PMCID: PMC4057910  PMID: 24910361
18.  The addition of STEPPS in the treatment of patients with bipolar disorder and comorbid borderline personality features: a protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:172.
Bipolar disorder (BD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) both are severe and chronic psychiatric disorders. Both disorders have overlapping symptoms, and current research shows that the presence of a BPD has an adverse effect on the course of BD. The limited research available shows an unfavorable illness course, a worse prognosis and response to medication, longer treatment duration, more frequent psychiatric admissions, higher drop-out, increased risk of substance abuse, increased risk of suicide, and more impairment of social and occupational functioning. However, there is no research available on the effect of specific psychotherapeutic treatment for this patients.
This paper presents the protocol of a RCT to investigate the presence of borderline personality features in patients treated for BD (study part 1) and the effectiveness of STEPPS (Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving) added to treatment as usual (TAU) for BD compared to TAU in patients with BD and comorbid borderline personality features (study part 2). STEPPS is a validated and effective intervention for BPD. The study population consists of patients treated for BD at specialized outpatient clinics for BD in the Netherlands. At first the prevalence of comorbid borderline personality features in outpatients with BD is investigated. Inclusion criteria for study part 2 is defined as having three or more of the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria of BPD, including impulsivity and anger bursts. Primary outcomes will be the frequency and severity of manic and depressive recurrences as well as severity, course and burden of borderline personality features. Secondary outcomes will be quality of life, utilizing mental healthcare and psychopathologic symptoms not primarily related to BD or BPD. Assessment will be at baseline, at the end of the intervention, and at 12 and 18 months follow-up.
This will be the first randomized controlled trial of a specific intervention in patients with BD and comorbid BPD or borderline personality features. There are no recommendations in the guideline of treatment of bipolar disorders for patients with this complex comorbidity. We expect that a combined treatment aimed at mood disorder and emotion regulation will improve treatment outcomes for these patients.
PMCID: PMC4065586  PMID: 24912456
Bipolar disorder; Borderline personality disorder; Randomized controlled trial; STEPPS
19.  Eating disorders among patients incarcerated only for repeated shoplifting: a retrospective quasi-case-control study in a medical prison in Japan 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:169.
Shoplifting is a serious problem among patients with eating disorders. For more than a decade, we have treated many patients with eating disorders incarcerated in Hachioji Medical Prison only for repeated shoplifting.
We analyzed the prison records and medical records of female psychiatric patients transferred to Hachioji Medical Prison between 2002 and 2011. Based on the offense listed at the time of sentencing, we extracted a shoplifting group and a drug-offense group from among all patients with eating disorders. One patient from the former group who had used substances and two from the latter group who had never shoplifted were excluded from the study. The groups had 41 and 14 patients, respectively. A control group comprised patients with other mental disorders (n = 34). We compared eating disorder histories and subtypes, weight changes, comorbidities, life histories, past behavioral problems, and clinical behavioral problems among the three groups.
The shoplifting group exhibited less impulsive behavior, substance abuse, antisocial features, borderline personality disorder, and past bulimia than did the drug-offense and control groups. The shoplifting group had higher educational achievement and steadier employment; however, their eating disorder histories and interpersonal dysfunction were more severe, and they had a higher psychiatric treatment dropout rate. There were also significant relationships with low body weight, anorexia nervosa-restricting type, obsessive–compulsive behaviors, and obsessive–compulsive personality disorder in the shoplifting group. During the clinical course, food refusal, excessive exercise, food hoarding, and falsification of dietary intake amounts were more frequently observed in the shoplifting group. Conversely, drug requests and occurrences of self-harm were less frequent in the shoplifting group than in the drug-offense group.
Although these results may be associated with specific characteristics of patients with eating disorders in the medical prison setting, we concluded that the repeated shoplifting by these patients is unrelated to antisocial or impulsive characteristics but is deeply rooted in these patients’ severe and undertreated eating disorder psychopathology. Strong supportive treatment should be considered for patients with eating disorders who develop shoplifting behaviors. Further research is required to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for the relationship between shoplifting and eating disorders.
PMCID: PMC4062907  PMID: 24907848
Anorexia nervosa; Shoplifting; Multi-impulsive bulimia nervosa; Crime; Addiction
20.  Qualitative process evaluation of a problem-solving guided self-help manual for family carers of young people with first-episode psychosis 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:168.
Caring for a young person experiencing first-episode psychosis is challenging and can affect carers’ well-being adversely. While some face-to-face approaches have achieved promising outcomes, they are costly and resource-intensive to provide, restricting their reach and penetration. Guided self-help in book-form (or bibliotherapy) is an alternative but untested approach in these circumstances. In this study, we aimed to evaluate carers’ beliefs about the usefulness of problem-solving guided self-help manual for primary carers of young people with first-episode psychosis.
A qualitative process evaluation nested in a randomised controlled trial, conducted across two early intervention psychosis services in Melbourne, Australia. 124 carers were randomised to problem-solving guided self-help intervention or treatment as usual. We also undertook a qualitative process evaluation, using individual interviews, with a random sample of 24 of the intervention group. A thematic analysis of the qualitative data was undertaken, which is the subject of this paper. Interviews were conducted between January 2009 and September 2010.
Three themes were abstracted from the data, reflecting carers’ beliefs about the usefulness of the manual: promoting carers’ well-being, increasing carers’ understanding of and support for the young person with first-episode psychosis, and accessibility and delivery modes of the programme.
This process evaluation highlights that guided self-help is useful in informing and supporting carers of affected young people. While there is scope for broadening the delivery modes, the approach is easy to use and accessible, and can be used as a cost-effective adjunct to standard support provided to carers, by community mental health nurses and other clinicians.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC4064108  PMID: 24906392
Bibliotherapy; Clinicians; First-episode psychosis; Guided self-help; Nurses; Primary carers; Problem-solving; Process evaluation; Qualitative research; Randomised controlled trial; Self-help manual
21.  Pharmacotherapy for acute mania and disconcordance with treatment guidelines: bipolar mania pathway survey (BIPAS) in mainland China 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:167.
With the recent attention to evidence-based medicine in psychiatry, a number of treatment guidelines for bipolar disorders have been published. This survey investigated prescribing patterns and predictors for guideline disconcordance in the acute treatment of a manic and mixed episode across mainland China.
The pharmacological treatments of 2828 patients with a recent hypomanic/manic episode or mixed state were examined. Guidelines disconcordance was determined by comparing the medication(s) patients were prescribed with the recommendation(s) in the guidelines of the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments.
The most common pattern of pharmacological treatments for an acute manic or mixed episode was a mood stabilizer plus an atypical antipsychotic (n = 1345, 47.6%), and the rate of guideline-disconcordant treatments was 11.1%. The patients who were treated in general hospitals were more likely to receive guideline-disconcordant treatments than those who were treated in psychiatric hospitals, with an OR of 1.84 (95% CI 1.44-2.36). Similarly, the patients with a mixed episode at study entry were more likely to receive guideline-disconcordant treatments than those with a manic episode, with an OR of 1.69 (95% CI 1.22-2.35). In contrast, the patients with a longer duration of disease (>5 years) were less likely to receive guideline-disconcordant treatments than those with a short duration, with an OR of 0.47 (95% CI 0.36-0.60).
In mainland China, the disconcordance with treatment guidelines for a most recent acute manic or mixed episode was modest under naturalistic conditions. The higher risk for disconcordance in general hospitals than in psychiatric hospitals suggests that special education based on treatment guidelines to practitioners in general hospitals is necessary in order to reduce the risk for disconcordant treatments.
PMCID: PMC4061451  PMID: 24903426
Bipolar disorder; Mania; Pharmacotherapy; Treatment; Guidelines
22.  Severity of psychotic episodes in predicting concurrent depressive and anxiety features in acute phase schizophrenia 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:166.
Considering that depressive and anxiety symptoms are common in schizophrenia, this study investigated whether the severity of a psychotic episode in an acute phase schizophrenia cohort is predictive of concurrent depressive and anxiety features.
Fifty one recently hospitalised patients suffering from acute phase schizophrenia participated prospectively in a cross-sectional study. The severity of the psychotic episode, the depressive features and the anxiety features were measured by the Structured Clinical Interview for Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (SCI-PANSS), the Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS), the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) and the Staden Schizophrenia Anxiety Rating Scale (S-SARS). The total SCI-PANSS-scores were adjusted to exclude appropriately the depression or anxiety items contained therein. To examine akathisia as potential confounder, the Barnes Akathisia Scale was also applied. The relationships were examined using linear regressions and paired t-tests were performed between lower and higher scores on the SCI-PANSS.
A higher adjusted total SCI-PANSS-score predicted statistically significantly higher scores for depressive features on the CDSS (p < 0.0001) and for anxiety features on the HAM-A (p = 0.05) and the S-SARS (p < 0.0001). The group that scored more or equal to the median (=99) of the adjusted total SCI-PANSS, scored significantly higher (p < 0.0001) on the CDSS, the HAM-A and the S-SARS than the group scoring below it. Akathisia measured distinctly different (p < 0.0001) from both the anxiety measures.
The study suggests that the severity of a psychotic episode in acute phase schizophrenia predicts the severity of concurrent depressive and anxiety features respectively.
PMCID: PMC4068766  PMID: 24903304
Acute psychosis; Severity; Akathisia; Symptomatology; Symptoms
23.  Methodological and ethical challenges in studying patients’ perceptions of coercion: a systematic mixed studies review 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:162.
Despite improvements in psychiatric inpatient care, patient restrictions in psychiatric hospitals are still in use. Studying perceptions among patients who have been secluded or physically restrained during their hospital stay is challenging. We sought to review the methodological and ethical challenges in qualitative and quantitative studies aiming to describe patients’ perceptions of coercive measures, especially seclusion and physical restraints during their hospital stay.
Systematic mixed studies review was the study method. Studies reporting patients’ perceptions of coercive measures, especially seclusion and physical restraints during hospital stay were included. Methodological issues such as study design, data collection and recruitment process, participants, sampling, patient refusal or non-participation, and ethical issues such as informed consent process, and approval were synthesized systematically. Electronic searches of CINALH, MEDLINE, PsychINFO and The Cochrane Library (1976-2012) were carried out.
Out of 846 initial citations, 32 studies were included, 14 qualitative and 18 quantitative studies. A variety of methodological approaches were used, although descriptive and explorative designs were used in most cases. Data were mainly collected in qualitative studies by interviews (n = 13) or in quantitative studies by self-report questionnaires (n = 12). The recruitment process was explained in 59% (n = 19) of the studies. In most cases convenience sampling was used, yet five studies used randomization. Patient’s refusal or non-participation was reported in 37% (n = 11) of studies. Of all studies, 56% (n = 18) had reported undergone an ethical review process in an official board or committee. Respondents were informed and consent was requested in 69% studies (n = 22).
The use of different study designs made comparison methodologically challenging. The timing of data collection (considering bias and confounding factors) and the reasons for non-participation of eligible participants are likewise methodological challenges, e.g. recommended flow charts could aid the information. Other challenges identified were the recruitment of large and representative samples. Ethical challenges included requesting participants’ informed consent and respecting ethical procedures.
PMCID: PMC4051960  PMID: 24894162
Methodology; Ethics; Coercion; Inpatient; Perception
24.  Effectiveness and efficiency of integrated mental health care programmes in Germany: study protocol of an observational controlled trial 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:163.
Since 2009 some German health insurance companies have implemented integrated mental health care services along the principles of assertive community treatment in collaboration with local mental health service providers across Germany. Focus of this study is the analysis of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of this integrated care programme compared to care as usual in routine care surroundings in five regions in Germany.
In this 18-month multi-centre observational trial 250 patients enrolled in an integrated mental health care programme and 250 patients who receive treatment as usual from five catchment areas will be included. In addition, in each group about 125 relatives of the participating patients will be included. The primary outcome criterion is the improvement of empowerment; secondary outcomes are subjective quality of life, functional impairment and costs of illness. Data will be collected at baseline and three follow-ups after 6, 12 and 18 months. Data will be analysed by means of mixed effects regression models. Propensity score methods are used for selection bias control.
Study results are expected to provide information about how integrated care programmes in their present form contribute to the improvement of mental health care. In addition, the study will provide hints to weaknesses of the current integrated care programme and options to overcome them. The major strengths of this study are the real-world character of the study intervention with a simultaneous high level of academic rigour. However, the fact that patients are not randomised to study groups and that there is no blinding might limit the study.
Trial registration
German Clinical Trial Register DRKS00005111.
PMCID: PMC4057655  PMID: 24894310
Integrated care; Mental illness; Depression; Schizophrenia; Quality of life; Empowerment; Cost-effectiveness
25.  Exploring health-related quality of life in eating disorders by a cross-sectional study and a comprehensive review 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:165.
People with eating disorders (ED) often report poor health-related quality of life (HRQoL), which is explicitly correlated to illness’ severity and its effects on cognitive performance. We aimed to analyze health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in subgroups of eating disorder (ED) patients by using the brief version of WHOQoL questionnaire (WHOQoL-BREF) before treatment administration. Moreover, in order to compare our findings with other published data, we carried out a comprehensive review of the literature on HRQoL in ED patients.
Our review was carried out by means of an accurate data mining of PsychInfo and Medline databases and other available sources. In our cross-sectional study, eighty female ED patients (26 with bulimia nervosa, 33 with anorexia nervosa, 7 with binge eating disorder and 14 with ED not otherwise specified) completed the WHOQoL-BREF. HRQoL scores were compared among ED subgroups and clinical information (presence of previous contacts, length of illness, psychiatric comorbidity) was considered in the analysis.
Our review shows that with few exceptions ED patients have a poorer HRQoL than the healthy population of control and sometimes the mental component of HRQoL is the most involved dimension. Moreover, there are no differences in the HRQoL among ED groups, even if AN patients in some studies have a lower HRQoL scores. Furthermore, BED patients have a poorer HRQoL than obese patients who do not have binge episodes. Finally, all treatments were positively correlated with an improvement on general and specific QoL dimensions. In our sample, ED subgroups differed only for Psychological Health HRQoL scores (F = 4.072, df = 3; p = 0.01). No differences were found between inpatients and outpatients, treatment naïve and previously treated patients and patients with or without psychiatric comorbidity. Moreover, HRQoL scores were not correlated to length of illness within each ED subgroup.
The analysis of the literature adds some relevant information on HRQoL in ED and may address the future research toward the exploration of specific questions. One of these may be the prominent role of Psychological Health domain in HRQoL, since our study confirms that this component is able to differentiate eating disorders.
PMCID: PMC4058000  PMID: 24898768
Eating disorders; Anorexia nervosa; Bulimia nervosa; Binge eating; HRQoL; Quality of life; WHOQoL-BREF; SF-36; Review

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