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issn:1744-859
1.  Recognition of change in the reform of forensic mental health by clinical practitioners: a questionnaire survey in Japan 
In Japan, new legislation regarding forensic mental health, namely, the Act on Medical Care and Treatment for Persons Who Have Caused Serious Cases under the Condition of Insanity (Medical Treatment and Supervision Act (MTS Act)) was enforced in 2005, although community mental health care remains largely unchanged. We surveyed local clinical psychiatrists by questionnaire to gather information on the influence of the MTS Act on clinical mental health practice. We sent a paper questionnaire to almost all the psychiatrists in the Chiba prefecture, 56% of whom (N = 306) responded. The participants felt that the MTS Act had minimal direct impact on community mental health care. However, some relatively new schemes such as a multiple disciplinary team approach or supervised outpatient care are given more attention than before. These results suggest that this new forensic mental health legislation may assist in the spread of new paradigms into clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-13-9
PMCID: PMC3974740  PMID: 24678884
Forensic mental health; Offenders with mental disorders; Medical Treatment and Supervision (MTS) Act; Mental Health and Welfare (MHW) Law; Questionnaire survey; Community mental health
2.  Shared psychological characteristics that are linked to aggression between patients with Internet addiction and those with alcohol dependence 
Background
Internet addiction (IA) is considered as one of behavioral addictions. Although common neurobiological mechanisms have been suggested to underlie behavioral addiction and substance dependence, few studies have directly compared IA with substance dependence, such as alcohol dependence (AD).
Methods
We compared patients with IA, AD, and healthy controls (HC) in terms of the Five Factor Model of personality and with regard to impulsiveness, anger expression, and mood to explore psychological factors that are linked to aggression. All patients were treatment-seeking and had moderate-to-severe symptoms.
Results
The IA and AD groups showed a lower level of agreeableness and higher levels of neuroticism, impulsivity, and anger expression compared with the HC group, which are characteristics related to aggression. The addiction groups showed lower levels of extraversion, openness to experience, and conscientiousness and were more depressive and anxious than the HCs, and the severity of IA and AD symptoms was positively correlated with these types of psychopathology.
Conclusions
IA and AD are similar in terms of personality, temperament, and emotion, and they share common characteristics that may lead to aggression. Our findings suggest that strategies to reduce aggression in patients with IA are necessary and that IA and AD are closely related and should be dealt with as having a close nosological relationship.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-13-6
PMCID: PMC3936872  PMID: 24559036
Internet addiction; Alcohol dependence; Aggression; Personality; Impulsiveness; Anger
3.  Correlations of interpersonal sensitivity with negative working models of the self and other: evidence for link with attachment insecurity 
Background
It has been suggested that interpersonal sensitivity, a personality trait associated with depression and anxiety disorders, is linked with attachment insecurity. To confirm this link, we studied the correlations of interpersonal sensitivity with working models of the self and other.
Methods
The subjects were 301 healthy Japanese. Interpersonal sensitivity and working models of the self and other were assessed by the Interpersonal Sensitivity Measure (IPSM) and the Relationship Scales Questionnaire, respectively. The correlations of the IPSM total scores with the self-model or other-model scores were analyzed by the multiple regression analysis.
Results
The IPSM total scores were correlated negatively with the self-model scores (β = −0.48, p < 0.001) and to a lesser extent with the other-model scores (β = −0.15, p < 0.01).
Conclusions
The present study suggests that interpersonal sensitivity is correlated with negative working models of the self and other, providing evidence for its link with attachment insecurity.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-13-5
PMCID: PMC3925358  PMID: 24529211
Interpersonal sensitivity; Attachment insecurity; Working models; IPSM; RSQ
4.  A prospective follow-up study of first-episode acute transient psychotic disorder in Latvia 
Background
Acute and transient psychotic disorder (ATPD) has been described as an acute psychosis with brief onset and polymorphous symptomatology (WHO, 1993). The study of ATPD is growing increasingly relevant as scientists start an active discussion of the possibility of changing the ATPD classification in the next International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The aims of this study were to describe the clinical features of the index episode of ATPD in patients in Latvia, to analyse the stability and longitudinal changes of the diagnosis, to explore potential correlations between the sociodemographic and disease characteristics and to describe stressful life events before the first ATPD episode.
Methods
A prospective follow-up study of all first-time admitted patients from the Riga Centre of Psychiatry and Addiction Disorders who fulfilled the ICD-10 criteria for ATPD (WHO, 1993) during the 15-month period from 9 January 2010 to 30 March 2011 and followed up until 31 October 2012. Stressful life events, demographics and clinical features during the index episode were assessed.
Results
One hundred two patients were admitted with first-episode ATPD. The majority were females (60.7%). Over an average 26.5-month follow-up period, 59.8% of the patients were not readmitted. The overall stability rate of ATPD diagnosis in our sample was 67.4% (p = 0.0001). In the subgroup of patients who were readmitted, 70.7% had their diagnosis converted to schizophrenia in subsequent visits. Stressful life events before the first episode were found in 49.0% of first-episode ATPD patients. Thought disorder was found to be the strongest statistically significant predictor of ATPD diagnosis conversation to schizophrenia (odds ratio 4.3), with high Wald's criterion (9.435) in binary logistic regression.
Conclusions
ATPD is prevalent in Latvia, with rather high overall stability rate. Combining these data from first-episode ATPD patients in Latvia with data from other countries may help predict the development of the disease and provide a basis for potential changes to ICD-11.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-13-4
PMCID: PMC3922543  PMID: 24502369
Acute and transient psychotic disorder; First episode psychosis; Clinical features; Stressful life event
5.  Annals of General Psychiatry reviewer acknowledgement 2013 
Contributing reviewers
The editors of Annals of General Psychiatry would like to thank all of our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in volume 12 (2013).
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-13-3
PMCID: PMC3907368  PMID: 24479671
6.  Quality of helping behaviours of members of the public towards a person with a mental illness: a descriptive analysis of data from an Australian national survey 
Background
Courses such as Mental Health First Aid equip members of the public to perform appropriate helping behaviours towards people experiencing a mental illness or mental health crisis. However, studies investigating the general public’s knowledge and skills in relation to assisting a person with a mental illness are rare. This study assesses the quality of mental health first aid responses by members of the Australian public using data from a national survey.
Methods
Participants in a national survey of mental health literacy were assigned one of six vignettes (depression, depression with suicidal thoughts, early schizophrenia, chronic schizophrenia, social phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder) and asked an open-ended question about how they would help the character in the vignette. The 6,019 respondents were also asked if and how they had helped a person in real life with a similar problem. Responses to these questions were scored using a system based on an action plan developed from expert consensus guidelines on mental health first aid.
Results
The quality of responses overall was poor, with participants scoring an average of 2 out of 12. The most commonly reported actions for both questions were listening to the person, providing support and information and encouraging them to seek appropriate professional help. Actions such as assessing and assisting with crisis were rarely mentioned, even for the depression with suicidal thoughts vignette.
Conclusions
The quality of the Australian public’s mental health first aid knowledge and skills requires substantial improvement. Particular attention should be given to helping people recognise that anxiety disorders such as social phobia require professional help and to improving responses to a suicidal person.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-13-2
PMCID: PMC3898824  PMID: 24438434
Mental health literacy; Mental health first aid; Helping behaviours; Intentions
7.  Early childhood educators’ perceptions of preschoolers' mental health problems: a qualitative analysis 
Background
Early childhood education services create potentially optimal opportunities to identify and respond effectively to preschoolers' mental health problems. However, little is known about the knowledge, skills and competencies of early childhood educators in the area of mental health. The present study aimed to contribute to this field through conducting focus group interviews with professionals from public early childhood education centres in Greece.
Methods
Thirty-four educators attended five focus group meetings, with each group consisting of five to nine participants and two discussion facilitators. A thematic analysis was conducted using line-by-line open coding. Constructed codes from the wording used by the participants in the interviews were created, and constant comparisons for developing themes as well as seeking data not conforming to each theme were used independently by two researchers. At the end of this process, no new information was being provided and there was repetition in each of the categories.
Results
The analysis identified three themes in the data: risk factors for preschoolers' mental health problems, signs of preschoolers' mental health problems and practices of helping preschoolers with mental health problems. Results suggested that early childhood educators had satisfactory awareness of many preschoolers' mental health issues, although they showed a rather limited understanding in some domains. Moreover, they seemed to deliver inadequate practices in responding effectively to children's and families' mental health problems.
Conclusions
Best practice training in working with preschoolers, families and mental health services seems essential for helping young children receive the best level of support through early identification and intervention services for possible mental health problems.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-13-1
PMCID: PMC3882325  PMID: 24386965
Early childhood education; Mental health; Preschoolers
8.  Reasons and clinical outcomes of antipsychotic treatment switch in outpatients with schizophrenia in real-life clinical settings: the ETOS observational study 
Background
Patients under antipsychotic treatment for schizophrenia commonly exhibit poor adherence to treatment, high rates of treatment discontinuation, and frequent treatment changes. The ETOS study aimed to identify the reasons leading physicians to decide to switch antipsychotic treatment in outpatients with schizophrenia and to evaluate the outcome of this switch.
Methods
ETOS was an observational 18-week (four visits) study in outpatients 18 to 65 years old, diagnosed with schizophrenia according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - 4th edition criteria at least 6 months prior to enrolment, who were initiated on a new antipsychotic monotherapy treatment within the 2 weeks prior to enrollment. A total of 574 patients were recruited by 87 hospital- and office-based physicians. Ethical approval was obtained prior to study initiation (NCT00999895).
Results
The final analysis included 568 patients, 39.0 ± 11.2 years old with mean disease duration of 11.7 years. The male-to-female ratio was 53:47. The main reason for switching antipsychotic treatment was lack of tolerability (n = 369, 65.0%), followed by lack of efficacy (n = 249, 43.8%). Following treatment switch, 87.9% of patients (n = 499) showed meaningful clinical benefit by achieving a Clinical Global Impression-Clinical Benefit score of ≤4 at the final visit. By the end of the study, total Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, Clinical Global Impression-Improvement, Clinical Global Impression-Severity, and Simpson-Angus Scale scores demonstrated significant mean decreases of 31.69, 0.70, 1.14, and 11.30, respectively (all p < 0.0001). Treatment adherence remarkably improved.
Conclusion
In the ETOS study, switch of antipsychotic monotherapy for reasons relating to lack of efficacy and/or tolerability was associated with significantly improved clinical benefit and significant increase of patients' adherence to treatment.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-42
PMCID: PMC3878189  PMID: 24359635
Schizophrenia; Clinical outcome; Antipsychotic; Switch; Monotherapy
9.  Aripirazole augmentation in clozapine-associated obsessive-compulsive symptoms in schizophrenia 
Objective
Patients with schizophrenia often experience comorbid obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Within these patients, a significant subgroup developed secondary obsessive-compulsive symptoms during treatment with clozapine.
Method
In this paper, we report on four cases in which adjunctive therapy with aripiprazole was tested to alleviate obsessive-compulsive symptoms in schizophrenia.
Results
All four patients had a significant improvement in obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The combination of clozapine and aripiprazole was well tolerated.
Conclusion
This case series demonstrates the clinical efficacy of aripiprazole adjunctive therapy with clozapine in schizophrenic patients with comorbid obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Larger-sampled and controlled studies are required in order to test and confirm these observations.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-40
PMCID: PMC3874630  PMID: 24330737
Adjunctive therapy; Aripiprazole; Clozapine; Obsessive compulsive symptoms
10.  A theory-based educational intervention to pediatricians in order to improve identification and referral of maternal depression: a quasi-experimental study 
Background
Maternal depression has a negative impact on both the mother and child's physical and mental health, as well as impairs parenting skills and pediatric health care utilization. The pediatricians' role in identification and management of maternal depression is well established. Although it can be successfully and easily treated, maternal depression remains under-recognized and under-treated. Despite the heightened emphasis, there is lack of interventions to pediatricians in order to improve detection and management of maternal depression.
Methods
To address this gap, an educational intervention based on the ‘Health Belief Model’ was developed, implemented, and evaluated. The present quasi-experimental study, aimed to assess the pediatricians' knowledge, self-efficacy, beliefs, and attitudes toward maternal depression at baseline and post-intervention measurements. A total of 43 randomly selected primary care pediatricians residing in Athens completed a 59-item survey by mail in 2011. Pediatricians in the intervention group received a toolkit about the recognition and management of maternal depression, while pediatricians in the control group received a leaflet about mental health. Descriptive statistics, t test, chi-square, Fisher's exact test, and analysis of variance were used for the statistical analysis.
Results
Post-intervention measurement revealed differences at a statistical significance level between the two groups, in the following variables: beliefs, attitudes, self- efficacy, perceived barriers, and management practices of maternal depression. Furthermore, at post-measurement, pediatricians in the intervention group demonstrated increased perceived responsibility and increased self-efficacy for detection and referral of maternal depression.
Conclusions
Educational interventions to pediatricians seem to be beneficial for the improvement of the pediatricians' knowledge, self-efficacy, and attitudes regarding maternal depression. Studies using large, representative population samples are needed to provide evidence if the training interventions to pediatricians for maternal depression are translated to changes in their clinical practice and improved the patients' health outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-37
PMCID: PMC3874664  PMID: 24266909
Maternal depression; Pediatricians; Theory-based intervention
11.  The relationship between drive to thinness, conscientiousness and bulimic traits during adolescence: a comparison between younger and older cases in 608 healthy volunteers 
Background
Adolescence represents one of the critical transitions in the life span and is characterized by a tremendous pace in growth and change that is second only to that of infancy. Both biological and psychological changes occurring during early adolescence may also influence the definition of subsequent late adolescence or early adulthood physiological or (psycho)-pathological features, including bulimia nervosa (BN) whenever occurring. Therefore, a pre-emptive assessment of suggestive psychological traits, including bulimic ones, during early and late years of adolescence, is recommended and represents the goal of the present study.
Methods
Six hundred and eight healthy volunteers attending mid- or high school, aged 14–19 years, were consecutively enrolled at multiple sites in Eastern Sicily, Italy. A systematic psychological assessment was performed, including McCrae and Costa' BigFive, the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI), Bisantis's Assertivity test and the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale for Children and Adolescents. Demographic and general characteristics, including the body mass index, were also recorded. Based on hierarchical considerations, cases were then divided into ‘younger’ (‘early’ years, 14–16) and ‘older’ (‘late’ years, 17–19) adolescents.
Results
Upon descriptive and Pearson's correlation analyses, the following EDI constructs ‘drive to thinness’ and ‘bulimia’ scored significantly higher (both p = <.001) in ‘early’ vs. ‘late’ cases. Conversely, BigFive ‘conscientiousness’ was higher in older subjects vs. early cases (p = <.003). As expected, ‘drive to thinness’ positively correlated with BN both in early (r = .31) and late (r = .50) cases. In the ‘late’ group, age correlated with conscientiousness (r = .206) while BN correlated with drive to thinness (r = .505); finally, a negative correlation was observed with regard to consciousness and BN (r = −.19).
Conclusions
Despite intrinsic methodological limits, our preliminary findings confirm that the transition between early and late years of adolescence is a critical phase of life span, with the consolidation of ‘conscientiousness’ eventually playing a protective role towards the onset of bulimic traits. If confirmed by replication studies, ideally providing long-term follow-ups too, an early acknowledgement of bulimic traits may play a major predictive role for subsequent BN, ultimately contributing to more effective pre-emptive interventions as well.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-34
PMCID: PMC3816099  PMID: 24176173
Adolescence; Personality traits; Bigfive; Conscientiousness; Thinness; Bulimia nervosa
12.  Dysfunction of orbitofrontal and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices in children and adolescents with high-functioning pervasive developmental disorders 
Background
Several lines of evidence suggest that dysfunction of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) contributes to the pathophysiology of pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). The purpose of this study was to investigate neuropsychological dysfunctions in both the DLPFC and OFC of children and adolescents with high-functioning PDD.
Methods
The Iowa gambling task (IGT), which reflects OFC function, and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), which reflects DLPFC function, were assigned to 19 children and early adolescents with high-functioning PDD and 19 healthy controls matched for gender, age, and intelligence.
Results
Compared to healthy controls, patients with high-functioning PDD displayed poorer performance on the IGT and the WCST.
Conclusions
These results indicate that both the DLPFC and OFC could be impaired in children and early adolescents with high-functioning PDD.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-31
PMCID: PMC3851848  PMID: 24103490
Pervasive developmental disorders; Childhood; Adolescence; Iowa gambling task; Wisconsin card sorting test; Orbitofrontal cortex; Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
13.  Posttraumatic stress disorder and health: a preliminary study of group differences in health and health behaviors 
Background
Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more likely to undertake harmful health behaviors like substance use. Less is known about the association of PTSD with healthful behaviors such as healthy diet and exercise. The purpose of this study was to examine differences across physical health indicators and health behaviors in individuals with and without PTSD.
Methods
A cross-sectional, case–control study of health indicators and self-reported health behaviors in a community and military veteran sample was used.
Results
Based on a structured psychiatric interview, 25 participants had PTSD, and the remaining 55 without PTSD served as the comparison group. Participants were 40 years old on average and 45% were female. Multivariate analysis of variance analyses revealed that participants with PTSD had significantly higher body mass index (p = 0.004), had more alcohol use (p = 0.007), and reported fewer minutes of vigorous exercise (p = 0.020) than those without PTSD. Chi-square analysis of diet content and eating behavior constructs found that individuals with PTSD ate fewer fruits (p = 0.035) and had more guilt after overeating (p = 0.006).
Conclusions
These findings replicate prior research on the link between PTSD and negative health outcomes and engagement in harmful health behaviors and highlight the need for further examination of the association between PTSD and other health behaviors like diet content, eating behaviors, and exercise.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-30
PMCID: PMC3852011  PMID: 24070007
Alcohol use; Behavioral medicine; Body mass index; Diet; Exercise; Posttraumatic stress
14.  How to diagnose the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome in patients with schizophrenia: a case report 
The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome is caused by a microdeletion of chromosome 22. One third of all patients with 22q11.2 deletion develop schizophrenia-like symptoms. In general, the prevalence of 22q11.2 deletion in patients with schizophrenia is 1%–2%. The 22q11.2 deletion is one of the major known genetic risk factors for schizophrenia. However, clinical differences in the phenotypes between patients with schizophrenia who are 22q11.2 deletion carriers and those who are not are still unknown. Therefore, it may be difficult to diagnose 22q11.2 deletion in patients with schizophrenia on the basis of clinical symptoms. To date, only two Japanese patients with the deletion have been identified through microdeletion studies of patients with schizophrenia in the Japanese population. Herein, we report the case study of a 48-year-old Japanese woman with 22q11.2 deletion who had a 30-year history of schizophrenia. Based on craniofacial anomalies, unpredictable agitation, hypocalcemia, and brain imaging finding, we suspected the 22q11.2 deletion in clinical populations and diagnosed the deletion using fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis. To find common phenotypes in Japanese patients with the deletion who have schizophrenia-like symptoms, we compared phenotypes among three Japanese cases. The common phenotypes were an absence of congenital cardiovascular anomalies and the presence of current findings of low intellectual ability, agitation, and hypocalcemia. We propose that hypocalcemia and agitation in patients with schizophrenia may derive from the 22q11.2 deletion, particularly when these phenotypes are coupled with schizophrenia-like symptoms.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-29
PMCID: PMC3849181  PMID: 24063534
22q11.2 deletion syndrome; Schizophrenia; Hypocalcemia; Agitation
15.  Subjective Well-Being Under Neuroleptics Scale short form (SWN-K): reliability and validity in an Estonian speaking sample 
Background
The Subjective Well-Being Under Neuroleptic Treatment Scale short form (SWN-K) is a self-rating scale developed to measure mentally ill patients' well-being under the antipsychotic drug treatment. This paper reports on adaptation and psychometric properties of the instrument in an Estonian psychiatric sample.
Methods
In a naturalistic study design, 124 inpatients or outpatients suffering from the first psychotic episode or chronic psychotic illness completed the translated SWN-K instrument. Item content analysis, internal consistency analysis, exploratory principal components analysis, and confirmatory factor analysis were used to construct the Estonian version of the SWN-K (SWN-K-E). Additionally, socio-demographic and clinical data, observer-rated psychopathology, medication side effects, daily antipsychotic drug dosages, and general functioning were assessed at two time points, at baseline and after a 29-week period; the associations of the SWN-K-E scores with these variables were explored.
Results
After having selected 20 items for the Estonian adaptation, the internal consistency of the total SWN-K-E was 0.93 and the subscale consistencies ranged from 0.70 to 0.80. Good test–retest reliabilities were observed for the adapted scale scores, with the correlation of the total score over about 6 months being r = 0.70. Confirmatory factor analysis replicated the presence of a higher-order factor (general well-being) and five first-order factors (mental functioning, physical functioning, social integration, emotional regulation, and self-control); the model fitted the data well. The results indicated a moderate-high correlations r = 0.54 between the SWN-K-E total score and the evaluation how satisfied patients were with their lives in generally. No significant correlations were found between the overall subjective well-being score and age, severity of the psychopathology, drug adverse effects, or prescribed drug dosage.
Conclusion
Taken together, the results demonstrated that the Estonian version of the SWN-K is a reliable and valid instrument with psychometric properties similar to the original English version. The potential uses of the scale in both research and clinical settings are considered.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-28
PMCID: PMC3847444  PMID: 24025191
SWN scale; Subjective well-being; Psychometric properties; Schizophrenia
16.  Correlational study: illness representations and coping styles in caregivers for individuals with schizophrenia 
Background
Caring for individuals with schizophrenia can create distress for caregivers which can, in turn, have a harmful impact on patient progress. There could be a better understanding of the connections between caregivers’ representations of schizophrenia and coping styles. This study aims at exploring those connections.
Methods
This correlational descriptive study was conducted with 92 caregivers of individuals suffering from schizophrenia. The participants completed three questionnaires translated and validated in French: (a) a socio-demographic questionnaire, (b) the Illness Perception Questionnaire for Schizophrenia and (c) the Family Coping Questionnaire.
Results
Our results show that illness representations are slightly correlated with coping styles. More specifically, emotional representations are correlated to an emotion-focused coping style centred on coercion, avoidance and resignation.
Conclusion
Our results are coherent with the Commonsense Model of Self-Regulation of Health and Illness and should enable to develop new interventions for caregivers.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-27
PMCID: PMC3765815  PMID: 23984848
Caregivers; Representations of schizophrenia; Coping; Nursing care
17.  No role for initial severity on the efficacy of antidepressants: results of a multi-meta-analysis 
Introduction
During the last decade, a number of meta-analyses questioned the clinically relevant efficacy of antidepressants. Part of the debate concerned the method used in each of these meta-analyses as well as the quality of the data set.
Materials and methods
The Kirsch data set was analysed with a number of different methods, and eight key questions were tackled. We fit random effects models in both Bayesian and frequentist statistical frameworks using raw mean difference and standardised mean difference scales. We also compare between-study heterogeneity estimates and produce treatment rank probabilities for all antidepressants. The role of the initial severity is further examined using meta-regression methods.
Results
The results suggest that antidepressants have a standardised effect size equal to 0.34 which is lower but comparable to the effect of antipsychotics in schizophrenia and acute mania. The raw HDRS difference from placebo is 2.82 with the value of 3 included in the confidence interval (2.21–3.44). No role of initial severity was found after partially controlling for the effect of structural (mathematical) coupling. Although data are not definite, even after controlling for baseline severity, there is a strong possibility that venlafaxine is superior to fluoxetine, with the other two agents positioned in the middle. The decrease in the difference between the agent and placebo in more recent studies in comparison to older ones is attributed to baseline severity alone.
Discussion
The results reported here conclude the debate on the efficacy of antidepressants and suggest that antidepressants are clearly superior to placebo. They also suggest that baseline severity cannot be utilized to dictate whether the treatment should include medication or not. Suggestions like this, proposed by guidelines or institutions (e.g. the NICE), should be considered mistaken.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-26
PMCID: PMC3751863  PMID: 23941527
Antidepressants; Depression; Meta-analysis; Effect size; Baseline severity
18.  Anxiety as a risk factor for school absenteeism: what differentiates anxious school attenders from non-attenders? 
Background
Anxiety is a major risk factor for problematic school absenteeism. However, most anxious students attend school. What differentiates anxious attenders from non-attenders?
Method
High school students (N = 865) were assigned to groups based on anxiety and absenteeism scores. These groups were then tested for differences in risk factor profiles using discriminant analysis.
Results
Anxious school attenders were less affected by negative personality traits, total number of risk factors, social anxiety, panic, and behavioural and family problems. They also displayed greater resilience.
Conclusions
This study indicates that the risk for problematic school absenteeism increases as the number of risk factors aggregate and that treatment for anxious school refusal should be based on a profile of the individual's risk factors.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-25
PMCID: PMC3726429  PMID: 23886245
School absenteeism; Anxiety; Depression; Neuroticism; Behavioural problems; Risk factors
19.  Psychiatric symptoms as a clinical presentation of Cushing’s syndrome 
Cushing’s syndrome can present with a spectrum of symptoms; however, it is less recognised that psychiatric symptoms can form part of the clinical presenting features. In the investigations for an organic cause for a psychiatric illness, Cushing’s syndrome needs to be considered, especially if there are other features such as hirsutism or hypertension. In this article, the two cases reported demonstrate that a prompt diagnosis is not only important for psychiatric management but also crucial for timely institution of the necessary treatment of life-threatening causes of hypercortisolaemia such as metastatic adrenal carcinoma.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-23
PMCID: PMC3718650  PMID: 23866099
Hypercortisolaemia; Hypercortisolism; Cushing’s syndrome; Psychosis; Depression; Catatonia
20.  Multiple physical symptoms in a military population: a cross-sectional study 
Background
Medically unexplained symptoms have been reported among both civilians and military personnel exposed to combat. A large number of military personnel deployed to the Gulf War in 1991 reported non-specific symptoms. These symptoms did not constitute a clearly defined syndrome. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to a lesser degree exposure to combat are associated with physical symptoms.
Methods
This is a cross-sectional study of representative samples of Sri Lanka Navy Special Forces and regular forces deployed in combat areas continuously during a 1-year period. Multiple physical symptoms were elicited using a checklist of 53 symptoms. Cases were defined as individuals with ten or more symptoms. Symptoms of common mental disorder were identified using the General Health Questionnaire 12 (GHQ-12). PTSD was diagnosed using the 17-item National Centre for PTSD checklist civilian version.
Results
Prevalence of multiple physical symptoms was 10.4% (95% CI 8.11–12.75). Prevalence was significantly less in the Special Forces (5.79%) than in the regular forces (13.35%). The mean number of symptoms reported by those who met the criteria for PTSD was 12.19 (SD 10.58), GHQ caseness 7.87 (SD 7.57) and those without these conditions 2.84 (SD 3.63). After adjusting for socio-demographic and service variables, ‘thought I might be killed’ , ‘coming under small arms fire’ , and ‘coming under mortar, missile and artillery fire’ remained significant. Multiple physical symptoms were associated with functional impairment and poor perceived general health.
Conclusions
Prevalence of multiple physical symptoms was significantly lower in the Special Forces despite high exposure to potentially traumatic events. More multiple physical symptoms were reported by personnel with PTSD and common mental disorders. Multiple physical symptoms were associated with functional impairment.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-24
PMCID: PMC3718653  PMID: 23866109
Trauma; Stress; Stress disorders; Post-traumatic; Military personnel; Special forces; War; Sri Lanka
21.  Long-acting injectable paliperidone palmitate versus oral paliperidone extended release: a comparative analysis from two placebo-controlled relapse prevention studies 
Background
Increasing availability and use of long-acting injectable antipsychotics have generated a need to compare these formulations with their oral equivalents; however, a paucity of relevant data is available.
Methods
This post hoc comparison of the long-term efficacy, safety and tolerability of maintenance treatment with paliperidone palmitate (PP) versus oral paliperidone extended release (ER) used data from two similarly designed, randomised, double-blind (DB), placebo-controlled schizophrenia relapse prevention trials. Assessments included measures of time to relapse, symptom changes/functioning and treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs). Time to relapse between treatment groups was evaluated using a Cox proportional hazards model. Between-group differences for continuous variables for change scores during the DB phase were assessed using analysis of co-variance models. Categorical variables were evaluated using Chi-square and Fisher's exact tests. No adjustment was made for multiplicity.
Results
Approximately 45% of enrolled subjects in both trials were stabilised and randomised to the DB relapse prevention phase. Risk of relapse was higher in subjects treated with paliperidone ER than in those treated with PP [paliperidone ER/PP hazard ratio (HR), 2.52; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.46–4.35; p < 0.001]. Similarly, risk of relapse after withdrawal of paliperidone ER treatment (placebo group of the paliperidone ER study) was higher than after withdrawal of PP (paliperidone ER placebo/PP placebo HR, 2.25; 95% CI, 1.59–3.18; p < 0.001). Stabilised schizophrenic subjects treated with PP maintained functioning demonstrated by the same proportions of subjects with mild to no difficulties in functioning at DB baseline and end point [Personal and Social Performance (PSP) scale total score >70, both approximately 58.5%; p = 1.000] compared with a 10.9% decrease for paliperidone ER (58.5% vs 47.6%, respectively; p = 0.048). The least squares mean change for Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score at DB end point in these previously stabilised subjects was 3.5 points in favour of PP (6.0 vs 2.5; p = 0.025). The rates of TEAEs and AEs of interest appeared similar.
Conclusions
This analysis supports maintenance of effect with the injectable compared with the oral formulation of paliperidone in patients with schizophrenia. The safety profile of PP was similar to that of paliperidone ER. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-22
PMCID: PMC3722005  PMID: 23845018
Post hoc analysis; Paliperidone extended release; Long-acting injectable; Paliperidone palmitate
22.  Suicide in Hungary-epidemiological and clinical perspectives 
Annual suicide rates of Hungary were unexpectedly high in the previous century. In our narrative review, we try to depict, with presentation of the raw data, the main descriptive epidemiological features of the Hungarian suicide scene of the past decades. Accordingly, we present the annual suicide rates of the period mentioned and also data on how they varied by gender, age, urban vs. rural living, seasons, marital status, etc. Furthermore, the overview of trends of other factors that may have influenced suicidal behavior (e.g., alcohol and tobacco consumption, antidepressant prescription, unemployment rate) in the past decades is appended as well. Based on raw data and also on results of the relevant papers of Hungarian suicidology we tried to explain the observable trends of the Hungarian suicide rate. Eventually, we discuss the results, the possibilities, and the future tasks of suicide prevention in Hungary.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-21
PMCID: PMC3698008  PMID: 23803500
Hungary; Suicide; Suicidal behavior; Epidemiology; Risk factors; Prevention
23.  Cognitive function and number of teeth in a community-dwelling population in Japan 
Background
It has been reported that oral health is poor in elderly populations and is associated with poor cognition and dementia. The objective of this study was to examine the association between tooth loss and cognitive function in a community-dwelling population in Japan.
Methods
We examined the association between tooth loss and cognitive function in 462 Japanese community-dwelling individuals. The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) was employed to measure global cognitive status. A multiple logistic regression analysis, with both crude and adjusted conditions for confounding factors, was used to assess the relationship between poor cognition and the number of remaining teeth.
Results
The overall prevalence of poor cognition (MMSE ≤ 23) in this study population was 5.6%. Subjects with poor cognition were significantly older, less educated, scored lower in intellectual activity, and had fewer remaining teeth than those with normal cognition. According to the multiple logistic regression analysis, a lower number of teeth (0–10) was found to be a significant independent risk factor (OR = 20.21, 95% confidence interval = 2.20 to 185.47) of cognitive impairment.
Conclusions
This cross-sectional study on a Japanese community-dwelling population revealed relationships between tooth loss and cognitive function. However, the interpretation of our results was hampered by a lack of data, including socioeconomic status and longitudinal observations. Future research exploring tooth loss and cognitive function is warranted.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-20
PMCID: PMC3706283  PMID: 23800274
24.  Heart rate changes during electroconvulsive therapy 
Background
This observational study documented heart rate over the entire course of electrically induced seizures and aimed to evaluate the effects of stimulus electrode placement, patients' age, stimulus dose, and additional predictors.
Method
In 119 consecutive patients with 64 right unilateral (RUL) and 55 bifrontal (BF) electroconvulsive treatments, heart rate graphs based on beat-to-beat measurements were plotted up to durations of 130 s.
Results
In RUL stimulation, the initial drop in heart rate lasted for 12.5 ± 2.6 s (mean ± standard deviation). This depended on stimulus train duration, age, and baseline heart rate. In seizures induced with BF electrode placement, a sympathetic response was observed within the first few seconds of the stimulation phase (median 3.5 s). This was also the case with subconvulsive stimulations. The mean peak heart rate in all 119 treatments amounted to 135 ± 20 bpm and depended on baseline heart rate and seizure duration; electrode placement, charge dose, and age were insignificant in regression analysis. A marked decline in heart rate in connection with seizure cessation occurred in 71% of treatments.
Conclusions
A significant independent effect of stimulus electrode positioning on cardiac action was evident only in the initial phase of the seizures. Electrical stimulation rather than the seizure causes the initial heart rate increase in BF treatments. The data reveal no rationale for setting the stimulus doses as a function of intraictal peak heart rates (‘benchmark method’). The marked decline in heart rate at the end of most seizures is probably mediated by a baroreceptor reflex.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-19
PMCID: PMC3695879  PMID: 23764036
Electroconvulsive therapy; Heart rate; Asystole; Bifrontal stimulation; Baroreceptor reflex
25.  Mental health, childhood abuse and HIV sexual risk behaviour among university students in Ivory Coast 
Background
Little focus has been paid to the role of poor mental health and childhood abuse among young people with regard to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk behaviour and HIV prevention in Africa. The aim of this study was to determine the association between mental health, childhood abuse and HIV sexual risk behaviour among a sample of university students in Ivory Coast.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey was conducted with undergraduate students that were recruited randomly from classes at the Félix Houphouët Boigny University of Cocody. The sample included 824 university students (50% men and 50% women), with a mean age of 23.7 years (SD = 2.7).
Results
Of the 824 university students who completed the survey, 17.6% reported depression, 10.8% screened positive for post-traumatic stress disorder, 8.3% reported at least monthly heavy episodic drinking, 13.5% reported childhood physical abuse and 4.7% sexual abuse, 33.9% had two or more sexual partners in the past 12 months, 66.3% had inconsistent condom use, 23.6% had alcohol use in the context of sex and 16.7% had a history of a sexually transmitted infection In multivariable analysis among men, lack of religiousness and alcohol use in the context of sex were associated with HIV risk behaviour, and among women, poorer family background, experience of sexual and physical partner violence, alcohol use in the context of sex and depression were associated with HIV risk behaviour.
Conclusions
Poor mental health (depression) including alcohol use and partner violence was found to be associated with HIV risk behaviour. Coordinated mental health and sexual and reproductive health services to meet the needs of university students would be desirable.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-18
PMCID: PMC3682872  PMID: 23758850

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