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1.  Association between adjuvant regional radiotherapy and cognitive function in breast cancer patients treated with conservation therapy 
Cancer Medicine  2014;3(3):702-709.
Although protracted cognitive impairment has been reported to occur after radiotherapy even when such therapy is not directed to brain areas, the mechanism remains unclear. This study investigated whether breast cancer patients exposed to local radiotherapy showed lower cognitive function mediated by higher plasma interleukin (IL)-6 levels than those unexposed. We performed the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised (WMS-R) and measured plasma IL-6 levels for 105 breast cancer surgical patients within 1 year after the initial therapy. The group differences in each of the indices of WMS-R were investigated between cancer patients exposed to adjuvant regional radiotherapy (n = 51) and those unexposed (n = 54) using analysis of covariance. We further investigated a mediation effect by plasma IL-6 levels on the relationship between radiotherapy and the indices of WMS-R using the bootstrapping method. The radiotherapy group showed significantly lower Immediate Verbal Memory Index and Delayed Recall Index (P = 0.001, P = 0.008, respectively). Radiotherapy exerted an indirect effect on the lower Delayed Recall Index of WMS-R through elevation of plasma IL-6 levels (bootstrap 95% confidence interval = −2.6626 to −0.0402). This study showed that breast cancer patients exposed to adjuvant regional radiotherapy in conservation therapy might have cognitive impairment even several months after their treatment. The relationship between the therapy and the cognitive impairment could be partially mediated by elevation of plasma IL-6 levels.
doi:10.1002/cam4.174
PMCID: PMC4101762  PMID: 24756915
Breast cancer; cognitive impairment; interleukin-6; radiotherapy; Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised
2.  The Impact of Suicidality-Related Internet Use: A Prospective Large Cohort Study with Young and Middle-Aged Internet Users 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94841.
Background
There has been no study that has allowed clear conclusions about the impact of suicide-related or mental health consultation-related internet use.
Aim
To investigate the impacts of suicide-related or mental health consultation-related internet use.
Methods
We conducted prospective observational longitudinal study with data collection at baseline screening (T0), 1 week after T0 (T1) and 7 weeks after T0 (T2). Participants with a stratified random sampling from 744,806 internet users were 20–49 years of age who employed the internet for suicide-related or mental health consultation-related reasons and internet users who did not. The main outcome was suicidal ideation. Secondary outcome measures comprised hopelessness, depression/anxiety, and loneliness.
Results
The internet users who had employed the internet for suicide-related or mental health consultation-related reasons at T0 (n = 2813), compared with those who had not (n = 2682), showed a significant increase in suicidal ideation (β = 0.38, 95%CI: 0.20–0.55) and depression/anxiety (β = 0.37, 95%CI: 0.12–0.61) from T1 to T2. Those who disclosed their own suicidal ideation and browsed for information about suicide methods on the web showed increased suicidal ideation (β = 0.55, 95%CI: 0.23–0.88; β = 0.45, 95% CI: 0.26–0.63, respectively). Although mental health consultation with an anonymous other online did not increase suicidal ideation, increased depression/anxiety was observed (β = 0.34, 95%CI: −0.03–0.71).
Conclusions
An increased suicidal ideation was observed in the young and middle-aged who employed the internet for suicide-related or mental health consultation-related reasons. Mental health consultation via the internet was not useful, but those who did so showed worsened depression/anxiety.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094841
PMCID: PMC3989242  PMID: 24740115
3.  Attitudes toward depression among Japanese non-psychiatric medical doctors: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:441.
Background
Under-recognition of depression is common in many countries. Education of medical staff, focusing on their attitudes towards depression, may be necessary to change their behavior and enhance recognition of depression. Several studies have previously reported on attitudes toward depression among general physicians. However, little is known about attitudes of non-psychiatric doctors in Japan. In the present study, we surveyed non-psychiatric doctors’ attitude toward depression.
Methods
The inclusion criteria of participants in the present study were as follows: 1) Japanese non-psychiatric doctors and 2) attendees in educational opportunities regarding depression care. We conveniently approached two populations: 1) a workshop to depression care for non-psychiatric doctors and 2) a general physician-psychiatrist (G-P) network group. We contacted 367 subjects. Attitudes toward depression were measured using the Depression Attitude Questionnaire (DAQ), a 20-item self-report questionnaire developed for general physicians. We report scores of each DAQ item and factors derived from exploratory factor analysis.
Results
We received responses from 230 subjects, and we used DAQ data from 187 non-psychiatric doctors who met the inclusion criteria. All non-psychiatric doctors (n = 187) disagreed with "I feel comfortable in dealing with depressed patients' needs," while 60 % (n = 112) agreed with "Working with depressed patients is heavy going." Factor analysis indicated these items comprised a factor termed "Depression should be treated by psychiatrists" - to which 54 % of doctors (n = 101) agreed. Meanwhile, 67 % of doctors (n = 126) thought that nurses could be useful in depressed patient support. The three factors derived from the Japanese DAQ differed from models previously derived from British GP samples. The attitude of Japanese non-psychiatric doctors concerning whether depression should be treated by psychiatrists was markedly different to that of British GPs.
Conclusions
Japanese non-psychiatric doctors believe that depression care is beyond the scope of their duties. It is suggested that educational programs or guidelines for depression care developed in other countries such as the UK are not directly adaptable for Japanese non-psychiatric doctors. Developing a focused educational program that motivates non-psychiatric doctors to play a role in depression care is necessary to enhance recognition and treatment of depression in Japan.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-441
PMCID: PMC3434090  PMID: 22894761
4.  The first 100 patients in the SUN(^_^)D trial (strategic use of new generation antidepressants for depression): examination of feasibility and adherence during the pilot phase 
Trials  2012;13:80.
Background
Initial glitches and unexpected inconsistencies are unavoidable in the early stage of a large, multi-centre trial. Adaptive modifications of the trial’s protocol and operational procedures to ensure its smooth running are therefore imperative. We started a large pragmatic, multi-centre, assessor-blinded, 25-week trial to investigate the optimal first- and second-line treatments for untreated episodes of nonpsychotic major depression in 2010 [Strategic Use of New generation antidepressants for Depression, abbreviated SUN(^_^)D] and would like to herein report an examination of the trial’s feasibility and adherence among the first 100 participants.
Methods
We examined the participants’ characteristics, the treatments that were allocated and received during each step of the trial, and the quality of the outcome assessments among the first 100 patients enrolled in the SUN(^_^)D trial.
Results
Of the 2,743 first-visit patients who visited the two collaborating centres between December 2010 and July 2011, 382 were judged as potentially eligible, and 100 of these patients provided written informed consent. These patients represented the whole spectrum of mild to very severe depression. Of the 93 patients who had reached Week 3 of the study by the end of July 2011, one withdrew consent for both the treatment and the assessment, and eight withdrew consent for the treatment only. Altogether, the primary outcomes were successfully assessed in 90 (96.8%) of the patients at Week 3. Of the 72 patients who had reached Week 9, three withdrew consent for the treatment, but 70 were successfully interviewed (97.2%). Of the 32 patients who had reached Week 25, 29 (90.5%) were successfully followed up. The inter-rater reliability of the assessments of the primary outcomes was nearly perfect and their successful blinding was confirmed. Minor modifications and clarifications to the protocol were deemed necessary.
Discussion
Given the satisfactory feasibility and adherence to the study protocol and the minor modifications that were necessary, we conclude that the data obtained from the first 100 patients can be safely included in the main study. We now intend to accelerate the study by recruiting more collaborating centres and clinics/hospitals.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01109693
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-80
PMCID: PMC3409023  PMID: 22682213
6.  Strategic use of new generation antidepressants for depression: SUN(^_^)D study protocol 
Trials  2011;12:116.
Background
After more than half a century of modern psychopharmacology, with billions of dollars spent on antidepressants annually world-wide, we lack good evidence to guide our everyday decisions in conducting antidepressant treatment of patients with major depression. First we did not know which antidepressant to use as first line treatment. Second we do not know which dosage we should be aiming at with that antidepressant. Because more than half of the patients with major depression starting treatment do not remit after adequate trial with the first agent, they will need a second line treatment. Dose escalation, augmentation and switching are the three often recommended second line strategies but we do not know which is better than the others. Moreover, we do not know when to start considering this second line treatment.
The recently published multiple-treatments meta-analysis of 12 new generation antidepressants has provided some partial answers to the first question. Starting with these findings, this proposed trial aims to establish the optimum 1st line and 2nd line antidepressant treatment strategy among adult patients with a non-psychotic unipolar major depressive episode.
Methods
SUN(^_^)D, the Strategic Use of New generation antidepressants for Depression, is an assessor-blinded, parallel-group, multi-centre randomised controlled trial. Step I is a cluster-randomised trial comparing titration up to the minimum vs maximum of the recommended dose range among patients starting with sertraline. The primary outcome is the change in the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9 scores administered by a blinded rater via telephone at week 1 through 3. Step II is an individually randomised trial comparing staying on sertraline, augmentation of sertraline with mirtazapine, and switching to mirtazapine among patients who have not remitted on the first line treatment by week 3. The primary outcome is the change in the PHQ-9 scores at week 4 through 9. Step III represents a continuation phase to Steps I and II and aims to establish longer-term effectiveness and acceptability of the above-examined treatment strategies up to week 25. The trial is supported by the Grant-in-Aid by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan.
Discussion
SUN(^_^)D promises to be a pragmatic large trial to answer important clinical questions that every clinician treating patients with major depression faces in his/her daily practices concerning its first- and second-line treatments.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01109693
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-12-116
PMCID: PMC3120681  PMID: 21569309
7.  Multiple barriers against successful care provision for depressed patients in general internal medicine in a Japanese rural hospital: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Psychiatry  2010;10:30.
Background
A general internist has an important role in primary care, especially for the elderly in rural areas of Japan. Although effective intervention models for depressed patients in general practice and primary care settings have been developed in the US and UK medical systems, there is little information regarding even the recognition rate and prescription rate of psychotropic medication by general internists in Japan. The present study surveyed these data cross-sectionally in a general internal medicine outpatient clinic of a Japanese rural hospital.
Methods
Patients were consecutively recruited and evaluated for major depressive disorder or any mood disorder using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). Physicians who were blinded to the results of the PHQ were asked to diagnose whether the patients had any mental disorders, and if so, whether they had mood disorders or not. Data regarding prescription of psychotropic medicines were collected from medical records.
Results
Among 312 patients, 27 (8.7%) and 52 (16.7%) were identified with major depressive disorder and any mood disorder using the PHQ, respectively. Among those with major depressive disorder, 21 (77.8%) were recognized by physicians as having a mental disorder, but only three (11.1%) were diagnosed as having a mood disorder.
Only two patients with major depressive disorder (7.4%) had been prescribed antidepressants. Even among those (n = 15) whom physicians diagnosed with a mood disorder irrespective of the PHQ results, only four (26.7%) were prescribed an antidepressant.
Conclusions
Despite a high prevalence of depression, physicians did not often recognize depression in patients. In addition, most patients who were diagnosed by physicians as having a mood disorder were not prescribed antidepressants. Multiple barriers to providing appropriate care for depressed patients exist, such as recognizing depression, prescribing appropriate medications, and appropriately referring patients to mental health specialists.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-10-30
PMCID: PMC2874771  PMID: 20416116
8.  Reduced Posterior Hippocampal Volume in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 
The Journal of clinical psychiatry  2008;69(7):1087-1091.
Objective
Hippocampal volume is reduced in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the present study, we sought to determine whether volume loss is homogenously distributed or confined to certain part of the structure.
Method
Twenty-two adult outpatients with PTSD (11 after prolonged prepubertal trauma and 11 after single adult trauma) and 22 matched healthy subjects were scanned at the National Institute of Mental Health using high-resolution 3T magnetic resonance imaging between September 2003 and August 2004. PTSD diagnosis was conferred using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Volumes of whole, anterior, and posterior hippocampus and subiculum were compared between groups.
Results
Total hippocampal volume was lower in patients with PTSD (p = .2), with a significant diagnosis by hippocampal-subregion interaction (p = .2). Post hoc analysis revealed significantly smaller posterior hippocampi in PTSD (p = .006), with no difference in the volumes of anterior hippocampus or subiculum. No volume differences were found between PTSD participants with prolonged childhood abuse compared to single adult trauma exposure.
Conclusions
The posterior hippocampus has been associated with storage, processing, and retrieval of spatiotemporal memories, central to the protective function of fear conditioning. Volume deficit in the posterior hippocampus may indicate malfunction in this faculty, leading to the exaggerated conditioned fear response observed in PTSD.
PMCID: PMC2684983  PMID: 18572983

Results 1-8 (8)