354 research outputs found

    Neuroimaging biomarkers to predict treatment response in schizophrenia:The end of 30 years of solitude?

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    Studies that have used structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suggest that individuals with psychoses have brain alterations, particularly in frontal and temporal cortices, and in the white matter tracts that connect them. Furthermore, these studies suggest that brain alterations may be particularly prominent, already at illness onset, in those individuals more likely to have poorer outcomes (eg, higher number of hospital admissions, and poorer symptom remission, level of functioning, and response to the first treatment with antipsychotic drugs). The fact that, even when present, these brain alterations are subtle and distributed in nature, has limited, until now, the utility of MRI in the clinical management of these disorders. More recently, MRI approaches, such as machine learning, have suggested that these neuroanatomical biomarkers can be used for direct clinical benefits. For example, using support vector machine, MRI data obtained at illness onset have been used to predict, with significant accuracy, whether a specific individual is likely to experience a remission of symptoms later on in the course of the illness. Taken together, this evidence suggests that validated, strong neuroanatomical markers could be used not only to inform tailored intervention strategies in a single individual, but also to allow patient stratification in clinical trials for new treatments

    Towards better care for women with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders

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    Women with a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder (SSD) have a better clinical profile than do men at the start of their illness but progress to the same state within the first few years of living with SSD. There are benefits to be gained across different areas in the care currently offered to women with psychosis. An important point for improvement is the early detection of female-specific signs of a first episode of psychosis, to shorten the duration of untreated psychosis, with prompt access to early intervention services. Special attention should be paid to sexual health, and to any history of childhood trauma. Antipsychotics require dosing and prescription tailored to the female physiology that consider hormonal life phases such as menopause. Switching to prolactin-sparing medications can benefit both mental and somatic health. Finally, hormone replacement therapy should be considered for postmenopausal women. By providing female-specific care, women with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders will have optimal chances to fare well

    Only a small proportion of patients with first episode psychosis come via prodromal services: A retrospective survey of a large UK mental health programme

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    BACKGROUND: Little is known about patients with a first episode of psychosis (FEP) who had first presented to prodromal services with an "at risk mental state" (ARMS) before making the transition to psychosis. We set out to identify the proportion of patients with a FEP who had first presented to prodromal services in the ARMS state, and to compare these FEP patients with FEP patients who did not have prior contact with prodromal services. METHODS: In this study information on 338 patients aged ≤37 years who presented to mental health services between 2010 and 2012 with a FEP was examined. The data on pathways to care, clinical and socio-demographic characteristics were extracted from the Biomedical Research Council Case Register for the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. RESULTS: Over 2 years, 14 (4.1% of n = 338) young adults presented with FEP and had been seen previously by the prodromal services. These ARMS patients were more likely to enter their pathway to psychiatric care via referral from General Practice, be born in the UK and to have had an insidious mode of illness onset than FEP patients without prior contact with the prodromal services. CONCLUSIONS: In the current pathways to care configuration, prodromal services are likely to prevent only a few at-risk individuals from transitioning to psychosis even if effective preventative treatments become available

    Dynamic and Static Cognitive Deficits in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder After the First Episode

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    Abstract Few studies have comprehensively examined the profile of cognitive functioning in first episode psychosis patients throughout the lifespan, and from first episode to chronic stage. We assessed functioning in general and specific cognitive functions, comparing both schizophrenia (N = 64) and bipolar I (N = 19) patients to controls (N = 103). Participants were from a population-based, case-control study of first episode psychosis patients, who were followed prospectively up to 10 years post first admission. A cognitive battery was administered at baseline and follow-up. By combining longitudinal and cross-sectional data, we were able to examine the cognitive profile of patients and controls throughout the entire age range of our sample (16–65). Schizophrenia patients exhibited widespread declines in IQ, executive function, visual memory, language ability, and verbal knowledge. However, the ages at which these declines occurred differed between functions. Deficits in verbal memory, working memory, processing speed, and visuospatial ability, on the other hand, were present at the first episode, and remained relatively static thereafter. Bipolar I patients also showed declines in IQ, verbal knowledge, and language ability, albeit at different ages to schizophrenia patients and only in verbal functions. Deficits on measures of verbal memory, processing speed, and executive function remained relatively static. Thus, both schizophrenia and bipolar I patients experienced cognitive decline in general and specific functions after the first episode, but the age at which these declines occurred differed between disorder and function. Cognitive remediation efforts may be most fruitful when targeting individual functions during specific time periods throughout adulthood

    Childhood and adulthood severe stressful experiences and biomarkers related to glucose metabolism: a possible association?

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    Background: No study investigated the association between stress exposure in different stages of life and metabolic dysfunction.Aim: We explore the association between stress exposure and several biomarkers related to glucose metabolism (insulin, c-peptide, GIP, GLP-1, glucagon) in a group of 72 healthy individuals.Method: We used the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse-Questionnaire (CECA-Q) and a modified version of the Life Events Scale to define exposure to stress, according to four categories: no exposure to childhood trauma (CT) nor to stressful life events (SLEs) (46%), only to CT (25%), only to SLEs (21%), to both (8%).Results: We found that c-peptide (p = 0.006) and insulin (p = 0.002) levels differed among the four categories: 0.77 ng/ml (SD 0.27) and 0.21 ng/ml (SD 0.06) for none, 0.77 (SD 0.37) and 0.20 (SD 0.08) for only SLEs, 0.88 (SD 0.39) and 0.27 (SD 0.12) for only CT, 1.33 (SD 0.57) and 0.40 (SD 0.28) for both, respectively. The highest levels of biomarkers were found in subjects exposed to both CT and SLEs.Conclusion: Our preliminary results seem to suggest that CT might be specifically associated with a dysfunction of glucose metabolism, which might increase the risk of poorer health outcomes in adulthood. This association seems to be even stronger in individuals additionally exposed to SLEs in adulthood. In conclusion, if confirmed in other studies, subjects exposed to both CT and SLEs appear the most vulnerable individuals, for whom preventative interventions, such as healthy lifestyle education programs, might ameliorate the risk of developing metabolic abnormalities

    Neurological Soft Signs Are Not "Soft" in Brain Structure and Functional Networks: Evidence From ALE Meta-Analysis

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    Background: Neurological soft signs (NSS) are associated with schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. NSS have been conventionally considered as clinical neurological signs without localized brain regions. However, recent brain imaging studies suggest that NSS are partly localizable and may be associated with deficits in specific brain areas. Method: We conducted an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis to quantitatively review structural and functional imaging studies that evaluated the brain correlates of NSS in patients with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Six structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) and 15 functional magnetic -resonance imaging (fMRI) studies were included. Results: The results from meta-analysis of the sMRI studies-indicated that NSS were associated with atrophy of the precentral gyrus, the cerebellum, the inferior frontal gyrus, and the thalamus. The results from meta-analysis of the fMRI studies demonstrated that the NSS-related task was significantly associated with altered brain activation in the inferior frontal gyrus, bilateral putamen, the cerebellum, and the superior temporal gyrus. Conclusions: Ourfindings from both sMRI and fMRI meta-analyses further support the conceptualization of NSS as a manifestation of the "cerebello-thalamo-prefrontal" brain network model of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders

    Study protocol for the development and internal validation of Schizophrenia Prediction of Resistance to Treatment (SPIRIT): a clinical tool for predicting risk of treatment resistance to antipsychotics in first-episode schizophrenia

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    INTRODUCTION: Treatment-resistant schizophrenia (TRS) is associated with significant impairment of functioning and high treatment costs. Identification of patients at high risk of TRS at the time of their initial diagnosis may significantly improve clinical outcomes and minimise social and functional disability. We aim to develop a prognostic model for predicting the risk of developing TRS in patients with first-episode schizophrenia and to examine its potential utility and acceptability as a clinical decision tool. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will use two well-characterised longitudinal UK-based first-episode psychosis cohorts: Aetiology and Ethnicity in Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses and Genetics and Psychosis for which data have been collected on sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. We will identify candidate predictors for the model based on current literature and stakeholder consultation. Model development will use all data, with the number of candidate predictors restricted according to available sample size and event rate. A model for predicting risk of TRS will be developed based on penalised regression, with missing data handled using multiple imputation. Internal validation will be undertaken via bootstrapping, obtaining optimism-adjusted estimates of the model's performance. The clinical utility of the model in terms of clinically relevant risk thresholds will be evaluated using net benefit and decision curves (comparative to competing strategies). Consultation with patients and clinical stakeholders will determine potential thresholds of risk for treatment decision-making. The acceptability of embedding the model as a clinical tool will be explored using qualitative focus groups with up to 20 clinicians in total from early intervention services. Clinicians will be recruited from services in Stafford and London with the focus groups being held via an online platform. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The development of the prognostic model will be based on anonymised data from existing cohorts, for which ethical approval is in place. Ethical approval has been obtained from Keele University for the qualitative focus groups within early intervention in psychosis services (ref: MH-210174). Suitable processes are in place to obtain informed consent for National Health Service staff taking part in interviews or focus groups. A study information sheet with cover letter and consent form have been prepared and approved by the local Research Ethics Committee. Findings will be shared through peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and social media. A lay summary will be published on collaborator websites
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