Centre for Youth Mental Health - Research Publications
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ItemEffects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on cognitive functioning in youth at ultra-high risk for psychosis: secondary analysis of the NEURAPRO randomised controlled trialCheng, N ; McLaverty, A ; Nelson, B ; Markulev, C ; Schafer, MR ; Berger, M ; Mossaheb, N ; Schlogelhofer, M ; Smesny, S ; Hicikie, IB ; Berger, GE ; Chen, EYH ; de Haan, L ; Nieman, DH ; Nordentoft, M ; Riecher-Rossler, A ; Verma, S ; Street, R ; Thompson, A ; Yuen, HP ; Hester, R ; Yung, AR ; McGorry, PD ; Allott, K ; Amminger, GP (CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2022-09-08)BACKGROUND: Cognitive impairments are well-established features of psychotic disorders and are present when individuals are at ultra-high risk for psychosis. However, few interventions target cognitive functioning in this population. AIMS: To investigate whether omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) supplementation improves cognitive functioning among individuals at ultra-high risk for psychosis. METHOD: Data (N = 225) from an international, multi-site, randomised controlled trial (NEURAPRO) were analysed. Participants were given omega-3 supplementation (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) or placebo over 6 months. Cognitive functioning was assessed with the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS). Mixed two-way analyses of variance were computed to compare the change in cognitive performance between omega-3 supplementation and placebo over 6 months. An additional biomarker analysis explored whether change in erythrocyte n-3 PUFA levels predicted change in cognitive performance. RESULTS: The placebo group showed a modest greater improvement over time than the omega-3 supplementation group for motor speed (ηp2 = 0.09) and BACS composite score (ηp2 = 0.21). After repeating the analyses without individuals who transitioned, motor speed was no longer significant (ηp2 = 0.02), but the composite score remained significant (ηp2 = 0.02). Change in erythrocyte n-3 PUFA levels did not predict change in cognitive performance over 6 months. CONCLUSIONS: We found no evidence to support the use of omega-3 supplementation to improve cognitive functioning in ultra-high risk individuals. The biomarker analysis suggests that this finding is unlikely to be attributed to poor adherence or consumption of non-trial n-3 PUFAs.
ItemTwelve-Month Cognitive Trajectories in Individuals at Ultra-High Risk for Psychosis: A Latent Class AnalysisAllott, K ; Schmidt, SJ ; Yuen, HP ; Wood, SJ ; Nelson, B ; Markulev, C ; Lavoie, S ; Brewer, WJ ; Schäfer, MR ; Mossaheb, N ; Schlögelhofer, M ; Smesny, S ; Hickie, IB ; Berger, GE ; Chen, EYH ; De Haan, L ; Nieman, DH ; Nordentoft, M ; Riecher-Rössler, A ; Verma, S ; Thompson, A ; Yung, AR ; Amminger, P ; McGorry, PD ; Hartmann, J (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2022-01-01)Abstract Understanding longitudinal cognitive performance in individuals at ultra-high risk for psychosis (UHR) is important for informing theoretical models and treatment. A vital step in this endeavor is to determine whether there are UHR subgroups that have similar patterns of cognitive change over time. The aims were to: i) identify latent class trajectories of cognitive performance over 12-months in UHR individuals, ii) identify baseline demographic and clinical predictors of the resulting classes, and iii) determine whether trajectory classes were associated with transition to psychosis or functional outcomes. Cognition was assessed using the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS) at baseline, 6- and 12-months (N = 288). Using Growth Mixture Modeling, a single unimpaired improving trajectory class was observed for motor function, speed of processing, verbal fluency, and BACS composite. A two-class solution was observed for executive function and working memory, showing one unimpaired and a second impaired class. A three-class solution was found for verbal learning and memory: unimpaired, mildly impaired, and initially extremely impaired, but improved (“caught up”) to the level of the mildly impaired. IQ, omega-3 index, and premorbid adjustment were associated with class membership, whereas clinical variables (symptoms, substance use), including transition to psychosis, were not. Working memory and verbal learning and memory trajectory class membership was associated with functioning outcomes. These findings suggest there is no short-term progressive cognitive decline in help-seeking UHR individuals, including those who transition to psychosis. Screening of cognitive performance may be useful for identifying UHR individuals who may benefit from targeted cognitive interventions.
ItemNo Preview AvailableCharacterization and Prediction of Clinical Pathways of Vulnerability to Psychosis through Graph Signal ProcessingSandini, C ; Zöller, D ; Schneider, M ; Tarun, A ; Armando, M ; Nelson, B ; Nelson, B ; Mallawaarachchi, SR ; Amminger, P ; Farhall, J ; Bolt, L ; Yuen, HP ; Markulev, C ; Schäfer, M ; Mossaheb, N ; Schlögelhofer, M ; Smesny, S ; Hickie, I ; Berger, GE ; Chen, EYH ; de Haan, L ; Nieman, D ; Nordentoft, M ; Riecher-Rössler, A ; Verma, S ; Thompson, A ; Yung, AR ; Allott, K ; McGorry, P ; Van De Ville, D ; Eliez, S ( 2020)There is a growing recognition that psychiatric symptoms have the potential to causally interact with one another. Particularly in the earliest stages of psychopathology dynamic interactions between symptoms could contribute heterogeneous and cross-diagnostic clinical evolutions. Current clinical approaches attempt to merge clinical manifestations that co-occur across subjects and could therefore significantly hinder our understanding of clinical pathways connecting individual symptoms. Network approaches have the potential to shed light on the complex dynamics of early psychopathology. In the present manuscript we attempt to address 2 main limitations that have in our opinion hindered the application of network approaches in the clinical setting. The first limitation is that network analyses have mostly been applied to cross-sectional data, yielding results that often lack the intuitive interpretability of simpler categorical or dimensional approaches. Here we propose an approach based on multi-layer network analysis that offers an intuitive low-dimensional characterization of longitudinal pathways involved in the evolution of psychopathology, while conserving high-dimensional information on the role of specific symptoms. The second limitation is that network analyses typically characterize symptom connectivity at the level of a population, whereas clinical practice deals with symptom severity at the level of the individual. Here we propose an approach based on graph signal processing that exploits knowledge of network interactions between symptoms to predict longitudinal clinical evolution at the level of the individual. We test our approaches in two independent samples of individuals with genetic and clinical vulnerability for developing psychosis.
ItemOmega-3 fatty acids and neurocognitive ability in young people at ultra-high risk for psychosisMcLaverty, A ; Allott, KA ; Berger, M ; Hester, R ; McGorry, PD ; Nelson, B ; Markulev, C ; Yuen, HP ; Schaefer, MR ; Mossaheb, N ; Schloegelhofer, M ; Smesny, S ; Hickie, IB ; Berger, GE ; Chen, EYH ; de Haan, L ; Nieman, DH ; Nordentoft, M ; Riecher-Roessler, A ; Verma, S ; Thompson, A ; Yung, AR ; Amminger, GP (WILEY, 2020-09-06)BACKGROUND: Neurocognitive impairments are core early features of psychosis and are observed in those at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis. The aim of the present study was to explore whether neurocognition is associated with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), as has been observed in other clinical populations. METHOD: Erythrocyte levels of total omega-3-and omega-6 PUFAs the omega-3/omega-6 ratio, were measured in 265 UHR individuals. Six domains of neurocognition as well a Composite Score, were assessed using the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia. Pearson's correlations were used to assess the relationship between PUFAs and neurocognition. All analyses were controlled for tobacco smoking. RESULTS: Verbal Fluency correlated positively with eicosapentaenoic acid (P = .024) and alpha-linolenic acid (P = .01), and negatively with docosahexanoic acid (P = .007) and Working Memory positively correlated with omega-3/omega-6 ratio (P = .007). CONCLUSIONS: The current results provide support for a relationship between Verbal Fluency and omega-3 PUFAs in UHR. Further investigation is required to elucidate whether these biomarkers are useful as risk markers or in understanding the biological underpinning of neurocognitive impairment in this population.
ItemNo Preview AvailableHarmonised collection of data in youth mental health: Towards large datasetsLavoie, S ; Allott, K ; Amminger, P ; Bartholomeusz, C ; Berger, M ; Breakspear, M ; Henders, AK ; Lee, R ; Lin, A ; McGorry, P ; Rice, S ; Schmaal, L ; Wood, SJ (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2020-01-01)OBJECTIVE: The current international trend is to create large datasets with existing data and/or deposit newly collected data into repositories accessible to the scientific community. These practices lead to more efficient data sharing, better detection of small effects, modelling of confounders, establishment of sample generalizability and identification of differences between any given disorders. In Australia, to facilitate such data-sharing and collaborative opportunities, the Neurobiology in Youth Mental Health Partnership was created. This initiative brings together specialised researchers from around Australia to work towards a better understanding of the cross-diagnostic neurobiology of youth mental health and the translation of this knowledge into clinical practice. One of the mandates of the partnership was to develop a protocol for harmonised prospective collection of data across research centres in the field of youth mental health in order to create large datasets. METHODS: Four key research modalities were identified: clinical assessments, brain imaging, neurocognitive assessment and collection of blood samples. This paper presents the consensus set of assessments/data collection that has been selected by experts in each domain. CONCLUSION: The use of this core set of data will facilitate the pooling of psychopathological and neurobiological data into large datasets allowing researchers to tackle important questions requiring very large numbers. The aspiration of this transdiagnostic approach is a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying mental illnesses.
ItemCognitive functioning in ultra -high risk for psychosis individuals with and without depression: Secondary analysis of findings from the NEURAPRO randomized clinical trialMallawaarachchi, SR ; Amminger, GP ; Farhall, J ; Bolt, LK ; Nelson, B ; Yuen, HP ; McGorry, PD ; Markulev, C ; Schaefer, MR ; Mossaheb, N ; Schloegelhofer, M ; Smesny, S ; Hickie, IB ; Berger, GE ; Chen, EYH ; de Haan, L ; Nieman, DH ; Nordentoft, M ; Riecher-Roessler, A ; Verma, S ; Thompson, A ; Yung, AR ; Allott, KA (ELSEVIER, 2020-04)Neurocognitive impairments are well established in both ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis and major depressive disorder (MDD). Despite this understanding, investigation of neurocognitive deficits in UHR individuals with MDD and its association with MDD within this population, has been scarce. Hence, this study aimed to examine any differences in neurocognition at baseline between those with MDD at baseline and those with no history of MDD, as well as determine whether neurocognitive variables are significantly associated with meeting criteria for MDD at follow-up, while controlling for relevant clinical variables, within a UHR cohort. Data analysis was conducted on 207 participants whose baseline neurocognition was assessed using Brief Assessment of Cognition for Schizophrenia, as part of a trial of omega-3 fatty acids (NEURAPRO) for UHR individuals. While baseline MDD was the strongest predictor, poorer verbal memory and higher verbal fluency were significantly associated with MDD at 12 months (p = .04 and 0.026, respectively). Further, higher processing speed was significantly associated with MDD at medium-term follow-up (p = .047). These findings outline that neurocognitive skills were independently associated with meeting criteria for MDD at follow-up within UHR individuals, with novel findings of better verbal fluency and processing speed being linked to MDD outcomes. Hence, neurocognitive performance should be considered as a marker of risk for MDD outcomes and a target for management of MDD in UHR.
ItemENACT: a protocol for a randomised placebo-controlled trial investigating the efficacy and mechanisms of action of adjunctive N-acetylcysteine for first-episode psychosisCotton, SM ; Berk, M ; Watson, A ; Wood, S ; Allott, K ; Bartholomeusz, CF ; Bortolasci, CC ; Walder, K ; O'Donoghue, B ; Dean, OM ; Chanen, A ; Amminger, GP ; McGorry, PD ; Burnside, A ; Uren, J ; Ratheesh, A ; Dodd, S (BMC, 2019-11-28)BACKGROUND: First-episode psychosis (FEP) may lead to a progressive, potentially disabling and lifelong chronic illness; however, evidence suggests that the illness course can be improved if appropriate treatments are given at the early stages. Nonetheless, the efficacy of antipsychotic medications is suboptimal, particularly for negative and cognitive symptoms, and more efficacious and benign treatments are needed. Previous studies have shown that the antioxidant amino acid N-acetylcysteine (NAC) reduces negative symptoms and improves functioning in chronic schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Research is scarce as to whether NAC is beneficial earlier in the course of illness. The primary aim of this study is to determine the efficacy of treatment with adjunctive NAC (2 g/day for 26 weeks) compared with placebo to improve psychiatric symptoms in young people experiencing FEP. Secondary aims are to explore the neurobiological mechanisms underpinning NAC and how they relate to various clinical and functional outcomes at 26- and 52-week follow-ups. METHODS/DESIGN: ENACT is a 26-week, randomised controlled trial of adjunctive NAC versus placebo, with a 26-week non-treatment follow-up period, for FEP. We will be recruiting 162 young people aged 15-25 years who have recently presented to, and are being treated at, the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre, Melbourne, Australia. The primary outcome is the Total Score on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale which will be administered at baseline, and weeks 4, 8, 12, 26 (primary endpoint), and 52 (end of study). Secondary outcomes include: symptomatology, functioning, quality of life, neurocognition, blood-derived measures of: inflammation, oxidative and nitrosative stress, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy measures of glutathione concentration. DISCUSSION: Targeted drug development for FEP to date has generally not involved the exploration of neuroprotective agents. This study has the potential to offer a new, safe, and efficacious treatment for people with FEP, leading to better treatment outcomes. Additionally, the neuroprotective dimension of this study may lead to a better long-term prognosis for people with FEP. It has the potential to uncover a novel treatment that targets the neurobiological mechanisms of FEP and, if successful, will be a major advance for psychiatry. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ID: ACTRN12618000413224. Registered on 21 March 2018.
ItemNo Preview AvailableCan antipsychotic dose reduction lead to better functional recovery in first-episode psychosis? A randomized controlled-trial of antipsychotic dose reduction. The reduce trial: Study protocolWeller, A ; Gleeson, J ; Alvarez-Jimenez, M ; McGorry, P ; Nelson, B ; Allott, K ; Bendall, S ; Bartholomeusz, C ; Koval, P ; Harrigan, S ; O'Donoghue, B ; Fornito, A ; Pantelis, C ; Amminger, GP ; Ratheesh, A ; Polari, A ; Wood, SJ ; van der El, K ; Ellinghaus, C ; Gates, J ; O'Connell, J ; Mueller, M ; Wunderink, L ; Killackey, E (WILEY, 2019-12-01)UNLABELLED: Antipsychotic medication has been the mainstay of treatment for psychotic illnesses for over 60 years. This has been associated with improvements in positive psychotic symptoms and a reduction in relapse rates. However, there has been little improvement in functional outcomes for people with psychosis. At the same time there is increasing evidence that medications contribute to life shortening metabolic and cardiovascular illnesses. There is also uncertainty as to the role played by antipsychotic medication in brain volume changes. AIM: The primary aim of the study is, in a population of young people with first-episode psychosis, to compare functional outcomes between an antipsychotic dose reduction strategy with evidence-based intensive recovery treatment (EBIRT) group (DRS+) and an antipsychotic maintenance treatment with EBIRT group (AMTx+) at 24-months follow-up. METHODS: Our single-blind randomized controlled trial, within a specialist early psychosis treatment setting, will test the whether the DRS+ group leads to better vocational and social recovery than, the AMTx+ group over a 2-year period in 180 remitted first-episode psychosis patients. Additionally, we will examine the effect of DRS+ vs AMTx+ on physical health, brain volume and cognitive functioning. This study will also determine whether the group receiving DRS+ will be no worse off in terms of psychotic relapses over 2 years follow-up. RESULTS: This paper presents the protocol, rationale and hypotheses for this study which commenced recruitment in July 2017. CONCLUSION: This study will provide evidence as to whether an antipsychotic dose-reduction recovery treatment leads to improved functioning and safer outcomes in first-episode psychosis patients. In addition, it will be the first-controlled experiment of the effect of exposure to antipsychotic maintenance treatment on brain volume changes in this population.
ItemBiomarkers and clinical staging in psychiatryMcGorry, P ; Keshavan, M ; Goldstone, S ; Amminger, P ; Allott, K ; Berk, M ; Lavoie, S ; Pantelis, C ; Yung, A ; Wood, S ; Hickie, I (WILEY, 2014-10-01)Personalized medicine is rapidly becoming a reality in today's physical medicine. However, as yet this is largely an aspirational goal in psychiatry, despite significant advances in our understanding of the biochemical, genetic and neurobiological processes underlying major mental disorders. Preventive medicine relies on the availability of predictive tools; in psychiatry we still largely lack these. Furthermore, our current diagnostic systems, with their focus on well-established, largely chronic illness, do not support a pre-emptive, let alone a preventive, approach, since it is during the early stages of a disorder that interventions have the potential to offer the greatest benefit. Here, we present a clinical staging model for severe mental disorders and discuss examples of biological markers that have already undergone some systematic evaluation and that could be integrated into such a framework. The advantage of this model is that it explicitly considers the evolution of psychopathology during the development of a mental illness and emphasizes that progression of illness is by no means inevitable, but can be altered by providing appropriate interventions that target individual modifiable risk and protective factors. The specific goals of therapeutic intervention are therefore broadened to include the prevention of illness onset or progression, and to minimize the risk of harm associated with more complex treatment regimens. The staging model also facilitates the integration of new data on the biological, social and environmental factors that influence mental illness into our clinical and diagnostic infrastructure, which will provide a major step forward in the development of a truly pre-emptive psychiatry.