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1.  Right and left amygdalae activation in patients with major depression receiving antidepressant treatment, as revealed by fMRI 
A differential contribution of the right and left amygdalae to affective information processing has been proposed. However, the direction of this lateralization has not been confirmed. In this study, we used a pre- and post-treatment (escitalopram) design to analyze the relative differences between neural activity in the right and left amygdalae during exposure to emotional stimuli in currently depressed patients. To the best of our knowledge, this study is to compare neural activity between the left and right amygdalae in people with depression. Our findings could lead to the development of parameters or biomarkers for depressive symptoms and treatment response.
We used a pre–post-test design without a control group. Twenty currently depressed participants underwent an emotion processing task during fMRI. These participants were then treated with an antidepressant for 6 weeks. We used amygdala region-of-interest analysis to evaluate the hemodynamic response during exposure to colored emotional pictures.
In total, thirteen of the 20 participants were placed into a separate group based on degree of response to antidepressants. The partial response group had an averaged HDRS score of 10.75 ± 2.25 and an averaged DBOLDLR signal of 189.18 ± 140.23 (m1 = 8), and the remitted group had an averaged HDRS score of 4.80 ± 1.64 and an averaged DBOLDLR signal of 421.26 ± 109.19 (m2 = 5). Each individual had lateralized amygdala activity, and the direction of asymmetry persisted following treatment. Amygdala responses to four types of emotional stimuli did not significantly change (p > 0.05) with treatment in either the right or the left amygdala. However, the difference in neural activity between the right and left amygdalae was greater after treatment, and the variation in neural activity was larger in the left amygdala.
We found that the response between the right and left amygdala did not differ in terms of time series, although activity increased after pharmaceutical treatment for each emotion tested. In the future, changes in BOLD signals as revealed by fMRI might be useful in evaluating the clinical manifestation of major depression.
PMCID: PMC4282198  PMID: 25298173
Amygdala; DBOLDLR signal; Emotion; Major Depression; Antidepressants
2.  Late-life depression and quality of life in a geriatric evaluation and management unit: an exploratory study 
BMC Geriatrics  2014;14:77.
Late-life depression is common among elderly patients. Ignorance of the health problem, either because of under-diagnosis or under-treatment, causes additional medical cost and comorbidity. For a better health and quality of life (QoL), evaluation, prevention and treatment of late-life depression in elderly patients is essential.
This study examined (1) the differences of clinical characteristics, degree of improvement on QoL and functionality on discharge between non-depressed and depressed elderly inpatients and (2) factors associated with QoL on discharge. Four hundred and seventy-one elderly inpatients admitted to a geriatric evaluation and management unit (GEMU) from 2009 to 2010 were enrolled in this study. Comprehensive geriatric assessment including the activities of daily living (ADL), geriatric depression scale, and mini-mental state examination were conducted. QoL was assessed using the European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions and the European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions Visual Analog Scale on discharge. Information on hospital stay and Charlson comorbidity index were obtained by chart review. Chi-square tests, independent t-tests, Mann–Whitney U tests and multiple linear regressions were used in statistical analysis.
Worse QoL and ADL on discharge were found among the depressed. Depressive symptoms, female gender, duration of hospital stay, and rehabilitation were significant factors affecting QoL on discharge in linear regression models.
The importance of the diagnosis and treatment of depression among elderly inpatients should not be overlooked during hospital stay and after discharge. Greater efforts should be made to improve intervention with depressed elderly inpatients.
PMCID: PMC4085690  PMID: 24941865
Elderly; Late-life depression; Geriatric depression; Quality of life; EQ-5D; Geriatric evaluation and management unit; GEMU; ADL; GDS
3.  Risk of Psychiatric Disorders following Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97041.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders among women of reproductive age. A higher prevalence of psychiatric comorbidities, including depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder has been proved in patients with PCOS. However, a clear temporal causal relationship between PCOS and psychiatric disorders has not been well established.
We explored the relationship between PCOS and the subsequent development of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and sleep disorder.
We identified patients who were diagnosed with PCOS by an obstetrician-gynecologist in the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. A comparison cohort was constructed of patients without PCOS who were matched according to age and sex. The occurrence of subsequent new-onset psychiatric disorders was evaluated in both cohorts based on diagnoses made by psychiatrists.
The PCOS cohort consisted of 5431 patients, and the comparison cohort consisted of 21,724 matched control patients without PCOS. The incidence of depressive disorder (hazard ratio [HR] 1.296, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.084–.550), anxiety disorder (HR 1.392, 95% CI 1.121–1.729), and sleep disorder (HR 1.495, 95% CI 1.176–1.899) were higher among the PCOS patients than among the patients in the comparison cohort. In addition, a higher incidence of newly diagnosed depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and sleep disorder remained significantly increased in all of the stratified follow-up durations (0–1, 1–5, ≥5 y).
PCOS might increase the risk of subsequent newly diagnosed depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and sleep disorder. The risk of newly diagnosed bipolar disorder, which has often been reported in the literature to be comorbid with PCOS, was not significantly elevated.
PMCID: PMC4016227  PMID: 24816764
4.  Risk of Depressive Disorder following Non-Alcoholic Cirrhosis: A Nationwide Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88721.
Background & Aims
To evaluate the risk of depressive disorders among non-alcoholic patients by using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD).
We conducted a retrospective study of a matched cohort of 52 725 participants (10 545 non-alcoholic cirrhotic patients and 42 180 control patients) who were selected from the NHIRD. Patients were observed for a maximum of 11 years to determine the rates of newly onset depressive disorders, and Cox regression was used to identify the risk factors associated with depressive disorders in cirrhotic patients.
During the 11-year follow-up period, 395 (3.75%) non-alcoholic cirrhotic patients and 1 183 (2.80%) control patients were diagnosed with depressive disorders. The incidence risk ratio of depressive disorders between non-alcoholic cirrhotic patients and control patients was 1.76 (95% CI, 1.57–1.98, P<.001). After adjusting for age, sex, and comorbidities, non-alcoholic cirrhotic patients were 1.75 times more likely to develop depressive disorders (95% CI, 1.56–1.96, P<.001) compared with the control patients. The hazard ratios for patients younger than 60 years old (1.31) and female (1.25) indicated that each is an independent risk factor for depressive disorders in non-alcoholic cirrhotic patients.
The likelihood of developing depressive disorders is greater among non-alcoholic cirrhotic patients than among patients without cirrhosis. Symptoms of depression should be sought in patients with cirrhosis.
PMCID: PMC3922987  PMID: 24533141
5.  The Risk of Cancer in Patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Nationwide Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57399.
To evaluate the risk of cancer among patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in a nationwide population-based dataset.
We recruited newly-diagnosed GAD patients aged 20 years or older without antecedent cancer from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research database between 2000–2010. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) of cancers were calculated in GAD patients, and the subgroup of GAD patients diagnosed by psychiatric specialists.
A total of 559 cancers developed among 19,793 GAD patients with a follow-up of 89,485 person-years (median follow-up of 4.34 years), leading to a significantly increased SIR of 1.14 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.05–1.24]. Male GAD patients had a significantly increased SIR overall (1.30, 95% CI 1.15–1.46) and for lung and prostate cancer (1.77, 95% CI 1.33–2.30 and 2.17, 95% CI 1.56–2.93, respectively). Patients over 80 years of age also had a significantly increased SIR (1.56, 95% CI 1.25–1.92), especially in males. However, psychiatrist-diagnosed GAD patients did not show increased cancer risk relative to the general population, perhaps due to having fewer physical comorbidities than non-psychiatrist-diagnosed GAD patients.
This study found that overall cancer risk is elevated among patients with GAD. The risk of lung and prostate cancer also increased in male patients with GAD. This increased cancer risk may be due to physical comorbidities and surveillance bias. Further prospective study is necessary to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC3584040  PMID: 23460851
6.  Effects of paliperidone extended release on the symptoms and functioning of schizophrenia 
We aimed to explore relations between symptomatic remission and functionality evaluation in schizophrenia patients treated with paliperidone extended-release (ER), as seen in a normal day-to-day practice, using flexible dosing regimens of paliperidone ER. We explored symptomatic remission rate in patients treated with flexibly dosed paliperidone ER by 8 items of Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and change of Personal and Social Performance (PSP) scale.
This was a 12-week multicenter, open-label, prospective clinical study conducted in in-patient and out-patient populations. Flexible dosing in the range 3-12 mg/day was used throughout the study. All subjects attended clinic visits on weeks 0, 4, 8, and 12 as usual clinical practice for the 12-week observation period. Data were summarized with respect to demographic and baseline characteristics, efficacy measurement with PANSS scale, PSP, and social functioning score, and safety observations. Descriptive statistics were performed to identify the retention rate at each visit as well as the symptomatic remission rate. Summary statistics of average doses the subjects received were based on all subjects participating in the study.
A total of 480 patients were enrolled. Among them, 426 patients (88.8%) had evaluation at week 4 and 350 (72.9%) completed the 12-week evaluation. Patients with at least moderate severity of schizophrenia were evaluated as "mild" or better on PANSS scale by all 8 items after 12 weeks of treatment with paliperidone ER. There was significant improvement in patients' functionality as measured by PSP improvement and score changes. Concerning the other efficacy parameters, PANSS total scale, PSP total scale, and social functioning total scale at the end of study all indicated statistically significant improvement by comparison with baseline. The safety profile also demonstrated that paliperidone ER was well-tolerated without clinically significant changes after treatment administration.
Although the short-term nature of this study may limit the potential for assessing improvements in function, it is noteworthy that in the present short-term study significant improvements in patient personal and social functioning with paliperidone ER treatment were observed, as assessed by PSP scale.
Trial Registration
Clinical Trials. PAL-TWN-MA3
PMCID: PMC3282633  PMID: 22225965
7.  A comparative study on long-term evoked auditory and visual potential responses between Schizophrenic patients and normal subjects 
BMC Psychiatry  2011;11:74.
The electrical signals measuring method is recommended to examine the relationship between neuronal activities and measure with the event related potentials (ERPs) during an auditory and a visual oddball paradigm between schizophrenic patients and normal subjects. The aim of this study is to discriminate the activation changes of different stimulations evoked by auditory and visual ERPs between schizophrenic patients and normal subjects.
Forty-three schizophrenic patients were selected as experimental group patients, and 40 healthy subjects with no medical history of any kind of psychiatric diseases, neurological diseases, or drug abuse, were recruited as a control group. Auditory and visual ERPs were studied with an oddball paradigm. All the data were analyzed by SPSS statistical software version 10.0.
In the comparative study of auditory and visual ERPs between the schizophrenic and healthy patients, P300 amplitude at Fz, Cz, and Pz and N100, N200, and P200 latencies at Fz, Cz, and Pz were shown significantly different. The cognitive processing reflected by the auditory and the visual P300 latency to rare target stimuli was probably an indicator of the cognitive function in schizophrenic patients.
This study shows the methodology of application of auditory and visual oddball paradigm identifies task-relevant sources of activity and allows separation of regions that have different response properties. Our study indicates that there may be slowness of automatic cognitive processing and controlled cognitive processing of visual ERPs compared to auditory ERPs in schizophrenic patients. The activation changes of visual evoked potentials are more regionally specific than auditory evoked potentials.
PMCID: PMC3113739  PMID: 21542917

Results 1-7 (7)