Journal: BMC psychiatry
Despite evidence that connecting people to relevant wellbeing-related resources brings therapeutic benefit, there is limited understanding, in the context of mental health recovery, of the potential value and contribution of pet ownership to personal support networks for self-management. This study aimed to explore the role of pets in the support and management activities in the personal networks of people with long-term mental health problems.
BACKGROUND: The aim of this review was to systematically review and meta-analyze the effects of yoga on symptoms of schizophrenia, quality of life, function, and hospitalization in patients with schizophrenia. METHODS: MEDLINE/Pubmed, Scopus, the Cochrane Library, PsycInfo, and IndMED were screened through August 2012. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing yoga to usual care or non-pharmacological interventions were analyzed when they assessed symptoms or quality of life in patients with schizophrenia. Cognitive function, social function, hospitalization, and safety were defined as secondary outcomes. Risk of bias was assessed using the risk of bias tool recommended by the Cochrane Back Review Group. Standardized mean differences (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. RESULTS: Five RCTs with a total of 337 patients were included; 2 RCTs had low risk of bias. Two RCTs compared yoga to usual care; 1 RCT compared yoga to exercise; and 2 3-arm RCTs compared yoga to usual care and exercise. No evidence was found for short-term effects of yoga compared to usual care on positive symptoms (SMD = -0.58; 95% CI -1.52 to 0.37; P = 0.23), or negative symptoms (SMD = -0.59; 95% CI -1.87 to 0.69; P = 0.36). Moderate evidence was found for short-term effects on quality of life compared to usual care (SMD = 2.28; 95% CI 0.42 to 4.14; P = 0.02). These effects were only present in studies with high risk of bias. No evidence was found for short-term effects on social function (SMD = 1.20; 95% CI -0.78 to 3.18; P = 0.23). Comparing yoga to exercise, no evidence was found for short-term effects on positive symptoms (SMD = -0.35; 95% CI -0.75 to 0.05; P = 0.09), negative symptoms (SMD = -0.28; 95% CI -1.42 to 0.86; P = 0.63), quality of life (SMD = 0.17; 95% CI -0.27 to 0.61; P = 0.45), or social function (SMD = 0.20; 95% CI -0.27 to 0.67; P = 0.41). Only 1 RCT reported adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: This systematic review found only moderate evidence for short-term effects of yoga on quality of life. As these effects were not clearly distinguishable from bias and safety of the intervention was unclear, no recommendation can be made regarding yoga as a routine intervention for schizophrenia patients.
The evidence on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for major depressive disorder is unclear.
BACKGROUND: Alcohol misuse amongst young people is a serious concern. The need for effective prevention is clear, yet there appear to be few evidenced-based programs that prevent alcohol misuse and none that target both high and low-risk youth. The CAP study addresses this gap by evaluating the efficacy of an integrated approach to alcohol misuse prevention, which combines the effective universal internet-based Climate Schools program with the effective selective personality-targeted Preventure program. This article describes the development and protocol of the CAP study which aims to prevent alcohol misuse and related harms in Australian adolescents. METHODS: A cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) is being conducted with Year 8 students aged 13 to 14-years-old from 27 secondary schools in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia. Blocked randomisation was used to assign schools to one of four groups; Climate Schools only, Preventure only, CAP (Climate Schools and Preventure), or Control (alcohol, drug and health education as usual).The primary outcomes of the trial will be the uptake and harmful use of alcohol and alcohol related harms. Secondary outcomes will include alcohol and cannabis, related knowledge cannabis related harms, intentions to use and uptake of alcohol and other drugs, and mental health symptomatology. All participants will complete assessments on five occasions; baseline; immediately post intervention, and at 12, 24 and 36 months post baseline. DISCUSSION: This study protocol presents the design and current implementation of a cluster RCT to evaluate the efficacy of the CAP study; an integrated universal and selective approach to prevent alcohol use and related harms among adolescents. Compared to students who receive the stand-alone universal Climate Schools program or alcohol and drug education as usual (Controls), we expect the students who receive the CAP intervention to have significantly less uptake of alcohol use, a reduction in average alcohol consumption, a reduction in frequency of binge drinking, and a reduction in alcohol related harms.Trial registrationThis trial is registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials registry, ACTRN12612000026820.
BACKGROUND: There is a significant treatment gap for patients with depression. A third of sufferers never seek help, and the vast majority of those who do only do so after considerable delay. Little is understood regarding poor help-seeking rates amongst people with depression, with existing research mainly focussed on the impact of barriers to treatment. The current study explored psychological factors affecting help-seeking behaviour in clinically depressed individuals. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 current or previously clinically depressed participants who either had or had not sought professional help. Thematic analysis was used to analyse results. RESULTS: The onset of depressive symptoms created conflict with participants' identity and personal goals. Delays in seeking help were primarily attributed to the desire to protect identity and goals from the threat of depressive symptoms. Participants used avoidance strategies to reduce the perceived threat of depressive symptoms on identity. These strategies interfered with help-seeking. Help-seeking was only undertaken once participants reached a point of acceptance and began to make concessions in their identity and goals, at which time they reduced their use of avoidance. CONCLUSIONS: Difficulties resolving conflict between identity and depressive symptoms may account for significant delays in seeking help for depression. The results have implications for predicting health behaviour and improving treatment uptake for depression, and may inform existing help-seeking models.
BACKGROUND: Cognitive impairments are seen in first psychotic episode (FEP) patients. The neurobiological underpinnings that might underlie these changes remain unknown. The aim of this study is to investigate whether Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) levels are associated with cognitive impairment in FEP patients compared with healthy controls. METHODS: 45 FEP patients and 45 healthy controls matched by age, gender and educational level were selected from the Basque Country area of Spain. Plasma BDNF levels were assessed in healthy controls and in patients. A battery of cognitive tests was applied to both groups, with the patients being assessed at 6 months after the acute episode and only in those with a clinical response to treatment. RESULTS: Plasma BDNF levels were altered in patients compared with the control group. In FEP patients, we observed a positive association between BDNF levels at six months and five cognitive domains (learning ability, immediate and delayed memory, abstract thinking and processing speed) which persisted after controlling for medications prescribed, drug use, intelligence quotient (IQ) and negative symptoms. In the healthy control group, BDNF levels were not associated with cognitive test scores. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that BDNF is associated with the cognitive impairment seen after a FEP. Further investigations of the role of this neurotrophin in the symptoms associated with psychosis onset are warranted.
BACKGROUND: Polydipsia frequently occurs in schizophrenia patients. The excessive water loading in polydipsia occasionally induces a hyponatremic state and leads to water intoxication. Whether polydipsia in schizophrenic patients correlates with neuropsychological impairments or structural brain changes is not clear and remains controversial. METHODS: Eight polydipsic schizophrenia patients, eight nonpolydipsic schizophrenia patients, and eight healthy controls were recruited. All subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological testing. Structural abnormalities were analyzed using a voxel-based morphometry (VBM) approach, and patients' neuropsychological function was assessed using the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia, Japanese version (BACS-J). RESULTS: No significant differences were found between the two patient groups with respect to the clinical characteristics. Compared with healthy controls, polydipsic patients showed widespread brain volume reduction and neuropsychological impairment. Furthermore, the left insula was significantly reduced in polydipsic patients compared with nonpolydipsic patients. These nonpolydipsic patients performed intermediate to the other two groups in the neuropsychological function test. CONCLUSIONS: It is possible that polydipsia or the secondary hyponatremia might induce left insula volume reduction. Furthermore, this structural brain change may indirectly induce more severe neuropsychological impairments in polydipsic patients. Thus, we suggest that insula abnormalities might contribute to the pathophysiology of polydipsic patients.
BACKGROUND: Patients with schizophrenia and their families have suffered greatly from stigmatizing effects. Although many efforts have been made to eradicate both prejudice and stigma, they still prevail even among medical professionals, and little is known about how contact with schizophrenia patients affects their attitudes towards schizophrenia. METHODS: We assessed the impact of the renaming of the Japanese term for schizophrenia on clinical residents and also evaluated the influence of contact with schizophrenia patients on attitudes toward schizophrenia by comparing the attitudes toward schizophrenia before and after a one-month clinical training period in psychiatry. Fifty-one clinical residents participated. Their attitudes toward schizophrenia were assessed twice, before and one month after clinical training in psychiatry using the Implicit Association Test (IAT) as well as Link’s devaluation-discrimination scale. RESULTS: The old term for schizophrenia, “Seishin-Bunretsu-Byo”, was more congruent with criminal than the new term for schizophrenia, “Togo-Shitcho-Sho”, before clinical training. However, quite opposite to our expectation, after clinical training the new term had become even more congruent with criminal than the old term. There was no significant correlation between Link’s scale and IAT effect. CONCLUSIONS: Renaming the Japanese term for schizophrenia still reduced the negative images of schizophrenia among clinical residents. However, contact with schizophrenia patients unexpectedly changed clinical residents' attitudes towards schizophrenia negatively. Our results might contribute to an understanding of the formation of negative attitudes about schizophrenia and assist in developing appropriate clinical training in psychiatry that could reduce prejudice and stigma concerning schizophrenia.
BACKGROUND: Methylphenidate (MPH), a psycho-stimulant, is the most widely administered drug for the pharmacological management of patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study attempts to determine whether sustainable improvements occur in neurocognitive function among ADHD patients following 12-month treatment with MPH, at drug-free status. Whether age groups, gender or ADHD subtypes differ in neurocognitive performance during MPH treatment is also examined. METHODS: Study participants consisted of 103 ADHD patients (mean age: 9.1 +/- 1.9 years old) who were drug naive or drug free for at least 6 months. The patients were prescribed oral short-acting MPH at each dose range of 0.3–1.0 mg/kg daily. During 12 months of the study, the patients underwent the test of variables of attention (TOVA) at the baseline, month 6 and month12. Patients were instructed to not intake MPH for one week before the second and the third TOVA. RESULTS: Seventy five patients completed the study. Results of this study indicated that although commission errors and response sensitivity (d') significantly improved during MPH treatment for 12 months, omission errors, response time, response time variability and ADHD score did not. While younger ADHD patients (<9y/o) performed better in response time, response time variability, d' and ADHD score than older ones (>=9y/o), the latter more significantly improved in response time than the former during 12 months of treatment. Additionally, boys improved more than girls in omission error and d'. Moreover, although ADHD subtypes significantly differed in ADHD score during the treatment, MPH treatment and ADHD subtypes did not interact with each other for all TOVA indices. CONCLUSIONS: ADHD patients significantly improved in impulsivity and perceptual sensitivity, determined as TOVA, during MPH treatment for 12 months. Age and gender, yet not ADHD subtypes, appear to influence the MPH treatment effects in some indices of TOVA. A future study containing a comparison group is suggested to confirm whether the neurocognitive improvements are attributed to long-term effects of MPH or natural maturation of patients.
BACKGROUND: Negative affect and difficulties in its regulation have been connected to several adverse psychological consequences. While several questionnaires exist, it would be important to have a theory-based measure that includes clinically relevant items and shows good psychometric properties in healthy and patient samples. This study aims at developing such a questionnaire, combining the two Gross  scales Reappraisal and Suppression with an additional response-focused scale called Externalizing Behavioral Strategies covering clinically relevant items. METHODS: The samples consisted of 684 students (mean age = 23.3, SD = 3.5; 53.6% female) and 369 persons with mixed mental disorders (mean age = 36.0 SD = 14.6; 71.2% female). Items for the questionnaire were derived from existing questionnaires and additional items were formulated based on suggestions by clinical experts. All items start with “When I don’t feel well, in order to feel better…”. Participants rated how frequently they used each strategy on a 5-point Likert scale. Confirmatory Factor Analyses were conducted to verify the factor structure in two separate student samples and a clinical sample. Group comparisons and correlations with other questionnaires were calculated to ensure validity. RESULTS: After modification, the CFA showed good model fit in all three samples. Reliability scores (Cronbach’s alpha) for the three NARQ scales ranged between .71 and .80. Comparisons between students and persons with mental disorders showed the postulated relationships, as did comparisons between male and female students and persons with or without Borderline Personality Disorder. Correlations with other questionnaires suggest the NARQ’s construct validity. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that the NARQ is a psychometrically sound and reliable measure with practical use for therapy planning and tracking of treatment outcome across time. We advocate the integration of the new response-focused strategy in the Gross’s model of emotion regulation.