Psychiatry - Research Publications

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    Baseline characteristics of patients in the Reduction of Events with Darbepoetin alfa in Heart Failure trial (RED-HF).
    McMurray, JJV ; Anand, IS ; Diaz, R ; Maggioni, AP ; O'Connor, C ; Pfeffer, MA ; Solomon, SD ; Tendera, M ; van Veldhuisen, DJ ; Albizem, M ; Cheng, S ; Scarlata, D ; Swedberg, K ; Young, JB ; RED-HF Committees Investigators, (Wiley, 2013-03)
    AIMS: This report describes the baseline characteristics of patients in the Reduction of Events with Darbepoetin alfa in Heart Failure trial (RED-HF) which is testing the hypothesis that anaemia correction with darbepoetin alfa will reduce the composite endpoint of death from any cause or hospital admission for worsening heart failure, and improve other outcomes. METHODS AND RESULTS: Key demographic, clinical, and laboratory findings, along with baseline treatment, are reported and compared with those of patients in other recent clinical trials in heart failure. Compared with other recent trials, RED-HF enrolled more elderly [mean age 70 (SD 11.4) years], female (41%), and black (9%) patients. RED-HF patients more often had diabetes (46%) and renal impairment (72% had an estimated glomerular filtration rate < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2). Patients in RED-HF had heart failure of longer duration [5.3 (5.4) years], worse NYHA class (35% II, 63% III, and 2% IV), and more signs of congestion. Mean EF was 30% (6.8%). RED-HF patients were well treated at randomization, and pharmacological therapy at baseline was broadly similar to that of other recent trials, taking account of study-specific inclusion/exclusion criteria. Median (interquartile range) haemoglobin at baseline was 112 (106-117) g/L. CONCLUSION: The anaemic patients enrolled in RED-HF were older, moderately to markedly symptomatic, and had extensive co-morbidity.
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    A Low Power Micro Deep Brain Stimulation Device for Murine Preclinical Research
    Kouzani, AZ ; Abulseoud, OA ; Tye, SJ ; Hosain, MK ; Berk, M (IEEE-INST ELECTRICAL ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS INC, 2013-01-01)
    Deep brain stimulation has emerged as an effective medical procedure that has therapeutic efficacy in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders. Preclinical research involving laboratory animals is being conducted to study the principles, mechanisms, and therapeutic effects of deep brain stimulation. A bottleneck is, however, the lack of deep brain stimulation devices that enable long term brain stimulation in freely moving laboratory animals. Most of the existing devices employ complex circuitry, and are thus bulky. These devices are usually connected to the electrode that is implanted into the animal brain using long fixed wires. In long term behavioral trials, however, laboratory animals often need to continuously receive brain stimulation for days without interruption, which is difficult with existing technology. This paper presents a low power and lightweight portable microdeep brain stimulation device for laboratory animals. Three different configurations of the device are presented as follows: 1) single piece head mountable; 2) single piece back mountable; and 3) two piece back mountable. The device can be easily carried by the animal during the course of a clinical trial, and that it can produce non-stop stimulation current pulses of desired characteristics for over 12 days on a single battery. It employs passive charge balancing to minimize undesirable effects on the target tissue. The results of bench, in-vitro, and in-vivo tests to evaluate the performance of the device are presented.
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    Emerging pharmacotherapy for cancer patients with cognitive dysfunction
    Davis, J ; Ahlberg, FM ; Berk, M ; Ashley, DM ; Khasraw, M (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2013-10-24)
    Advances in the diagnosis and multi-modality treatment of cancer have increased survival rates for many cancer types leading to an increasing load of long-term sequelae of therapy, including that of cognitive dysfunction. The cytotoxic nature of chemotherapeutic agents may also reduce neurogenesis, a key component of the physiology of memory and cognition, with ramifications for the patient's mood and other cognition disorders. Similarly radiotherapy employed as a therapeutic or prophylactic tool in the treatment of primary or metastatic disease may significantly affect cognition. A number of emerging pharmacotherapies are under investigation for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction experienced by cancer patients. Recent data from clinical trials is reviewed involving the stimulants modafinil and methylphenidate, mood stabiliser lithium, anti-Alzheimer's drugs memantine and donepezil, as well as other agents which are currently being explored within dementia, animal, and cell culture models to evaluate their use in treating cognitive dysfunction.
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    Gastro oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)-related symptoms and its association with mood and anxiety disorders and psychological symptomology: a population-based study in women
    Sanna, L ; Stuart, AL ; Berk, M ; Pasco, JA ; Girardi, P ; Williams, LJ (BMC, 2013-07-24)
    BACKGROUND: Psychopathology seems to play a role in reflux pathogenesis and vice versa, yet few population-based studies have systematically investigated the association between gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and psychopathology. We thus aimed to investigate the relationship between GORD-related symptoms and psychological symptomatology, as well as clinically diagnosed mood and anxiety disorders in a randomly selected, population-based sample of adult women. METHODS: This study examined data collected from 1084 women aged 20-93 yr participating in the Geelong Osteoporosis Study. Mood and anxiety disorders were identified using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR Research Version, Non-patient edition (SCID-I/NP), and psychological symptomatology was assessed using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). GORD-related symptoms were self-reported and confirmed by medication use where possible and lifestyle factors were documented. RESULTS: Current psychological symptomatology and mood disorder were associated with increased odds of concurrent GORD-related symptoms (adjusted OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.3-3.5, and OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.7-5.6, respectively). Current anxiety disorder also tended to be associated with increased odds of current GORD-related symptoms (p = 0.1). Lifetime mood disorder was associated with a 1.6-fold increased odds of lifetime GORD-related symptoms (adjusted OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1-2.4) and lifetime anxiety disorder was associated with a 4-fold increased odds of lifetime GORD-related symptoms in obese but not non-obese participants (obese, age-adjusted OR 4.0, 95% CI 1.8-9.0). CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that psychological symptomatology, mood and anxiety disorders are positively associated with GORD-related symptoms. Acknowledging this common comorbidity may facilitate recognition and treatment, and opens new questions as to the pathways and mechanisms of the association.
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    Tobacco smoking predicts depression and poorer quality of life in heart disease
    Stafford, L ; Berk, M ; Jackson, HJ (BMC, 2013-05-24)
    BACKGROUND: We report on the prospective association between smoking and depression and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). METHODS: Prospective study of 193 patients with assessment of depression occurring 3-, 6- and 9- months (T1, 2, and 3, respectively) following discharge from hospital for a cardiac event. HRQOL was assessed at T3. T1 depression was assessed by clinical interview; T2 and T3 depression was assessed by self-report. Smoking at time of cardiac event was assessed by self-report. Multivariate analyses controlled for known demographic, psychosocial and clinical correlates of depression. RESULTS: Smoking at the time of index cardiac event increased the likelihood of being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) at T1 by 4.30 [95% CI, 1.12-16.46; p < .05]. The likelihood of receiving a diagnosis of minor depression, dysthymia or MDD as a combined group was increased by 8.03 [95% CI, 2.35-27.46; p < .01]. Smoking did not reliably predict depression at T2 or T3 and did not reliably predict persistent depression. Smoking increased the likelihood of being classified as depressed according to study criteria at least once during the study period by 5.19 [95% CI, 1.51-17.82; p < .01]. Smoking independently predicted worse mental HRQOL. CONCLUSIONS: The findings support a role for smoking as an independent predictor of depression in CAD patients, particularly in the first 3 months post-cardiac event. The well-established imperative to encourage smoking cessation in these patients is augmented and the findings may add to the evidence for smoking cessation campaigns in the primary prevention of depression.
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    Molecular hydrogen: an overview of its neurobiological effects and therapeutic potential for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia
    Ghanizadeh, A ; Berk, M (MEDKNOW PUBLICATIONS & MEDIA PVT LTD, 2013-01-01)
    Hydrogen gas is a bioactive molecule that has a diversity of effects, including anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties; these overlap with the process of neuroprogression in major psychiatric disorders. Specifically, both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are associated with increased oxidative and inflammatory stress. Moreover, lithium which is commonly administered for treating bipolar disorder has effects on oxidative stress and apoptotic pathways, as do valproate and some atypical antipsychotics for treating schizophrenia. Molecular hydrogen has been studied pre-clinically in animal models for the treatment of some medical conditions including hypoxia and neurodegenerative disorders, and there are intriguing clinical findings in neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease. Therefore, it is hypothesized that administration of hydrogen molecule may have potential as a novel therapy for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other concurrent disorders characterized by oxidative, inflammatory and apoptotic dysregulation.
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    How cigarette smoking may increase the risk of anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders: a critical review of biological pathways
    Moylan, S ; Jacka, FN ; Pasco, JA ; Berk, M (WILEY, 2013-05-01)
    Multiple studies have demonstrated an association between cigarette smoking and increased anxiety symptoms or disorders, with early life exposures potentially predisposing to enhanced anxiety responses in later life. Explanatory models support a potential role for neurotransmitter systems, inflammation, oxidative and nitrosative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, neurotrophins and neurogenesis, and epigenetic effects, in anxiety pathogenesis. All of these pathways are affected by exposure to cigarette smoke components, including nicotine and free radicals. This review critically examines and summarizes the literature exploring the role of these systems in increased anxiety and how exposure to cigarette smoke may contribute to this pathology at a biological level. Further, this review explores the effects of cigarette smoke on normal neurodevelopment and anxiety control, suggesting how exposure in early life (prenatal, infancy, and adolescence) may predispose to higher anxiety in later life. A large heterogenous literature was reviewed that detailed the association between cigarette smoking and anxiety symptoms and disorders with structural brain changes, inflammation, and cell-mediated immune markers, markers of oxidative and nitrosative stress, mitochondrial function, neurotransmitter systems, neurotrophins and neurogenesis. Some preliminary data were found for potential epigenetic effects. The literature provides some support for a potential interaction between cigarette smoking, anxiety symptoms and disorders, and the above pathways; however, limitations exist particularly in delineating causative effects. The literature also provides insight into potential effects of cigarette smoke, in particular nicotine, on neurodevelopment. The potential treatment implications of these findings are discussed in regards to future therapeutic targets for anxiety. The aforementioned pathways may help mediate increased anxiety seen in people who smoke. Further research into the specific actions of nicotine and other cigarette components on these pathways, and how these pathways interact, may provide insights that lead to new treatment for anxiety and a greater understanding of anxiety pathogenesis.
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    A narrative review on the similarities and dissimilarities between myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and sickness behavior
    Morris, G ; Anderson, G ; Galecki, P ; Berk, M ; Maes, M (BMC, 2013-03-08)
    It is of importance whether myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a variant of sickness behavior. The latter is induced by acute infections/injury being principally mediated through proinflammatory cytokines. Sickness is a beneficial behavioral response that serves to enhance recovery, conserves energy and plays a role in the resolution of inflammation. There are behavioral/symptomatic similarities (for example, fatigue, malaise, hyperalgesia) and dissimilarities (gastrointestinal symptoms, anorexia and weight loss) between sickness and ME/CFS. While sickness is an adaptive response induced by proinflammatory cytokines, ME/CFS is a chronic, disabling disorder, where the pathophysiology is related to activation of immunoinflammatory and oxidative pathways and autoimmune responses. While sickness behavior is a state of energy conservation, which plays a role in combating pathogens, ME/CFS is a chronic disease underpinned by a state of energy depletion. While sickness is an acute response to infection/injury, the trigger factors in ME/CFS are less well defined and encompass acute and chronic infections, as well as inflammatory or autoimmune diseases. It is concluded that sickness behavior and ME/CFS are two different conditions.
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    The effects of apoptosis vulnerability markers on the myocardium in depression after myocardial infarction
    Wang, Y ; Liu, X ; Zhang, D ; Chen, J ; Liu, S ; Berk, M (BMC, 2013-02-08)
    BACKGROUND: There is an increased incidence of major depressive disorder (MDD) in individuals after myocardial infarction (MI), but the pathophysiological processes mediating this association are unclear. Our previous study demonstrated an increase in pro-apoptotic pathways in the myocardium and hippocampus in MDD, which was reversed by venlafaxine. This study aimed to attempt to confirm the effects of apoptosis vulnerability markers on the myocardium in a model of depression after myocardial infarction. METHODS: Rats were divided into four groups: sham (N = 8), depression (N = 8, chronic mild unpredictable stress and separation were used in the depression group), MI (N = 13) and post-MI depression (N = 7). The rats in all four groups underwent the same open field and sucrose preference behavioral tests. Evan Blue staining was used to determine the area at risk of myocardial infarction in the left ventricle, and 2,3,5-triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (1.5% TTC) dye was used to detect the size of the myocardial infarction. The expression of bax and bcl-2 protein in the myocardium was investigated by immunohistochemistry, and the mRNA expression of bax, bcl-2 and caspase-3 in the myocardium was investigated by real time RT-PCR. Apoptosis was estimated in the myocardium by measuring the Bax:Bcl-2 ratio. RESULTS: In the depression and post-MI depression rats, there were significantly decreased movements and total sucrose consumption, modeling behavioral deficits and an anhedonic-like state. In terms of myocardial infarction size, no difference was seen between the MI and post-MI depression groups. There was an up-regulated Bax:Bcl-2 ratio in the depression, MI and post-MI depression groups. Furthermore, in the latter group, there was a greater up-regulated Bax:Bcl-2 ratio. However, caspase-3 did not differ among the four groups. CONCLUSIONS: These results of this animal model suggest that active pro-apoptotic pathways may be involved in the nexus between myocardial infarction and depression. This mechanism may be germane to understanding this relationship in humans.
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    Gender differences in first episode psychotic mania
    Cotton, SM ; Lambert, M ; Berk, M ; Schimmelmann, BG ; Butselaar, FJ ; McGorry, PD ; Conus, P (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2013-03-13)
    BACKGROUND: The aim of this paper was to delineate the impact of gender on premorbid history, onset, and 18 month outcomes of first episode psychotic mania (FEPM) patients. METHODS: Medical file audit assessment of 118 (male = 71; female = 47) patients with FEPM aged 15 to 29 years was undertaken on clinical and functional measures. RESULTS: Males with FEPM had increased likelihood of substance use (OR = 13.41, p <.001) and forensic issues (OR = 4.71, p = .008), whereas females were more likely to have history of sexual abuse trauma (OR = 7.12, p = .001). At service entry, males were more likely to be using substances, especially cannabis (OR = 2.15, p = .047), had more severe illness (OR = 1.72, p = .037), and poorer functioning (OR = 0.96, p = .045). During treatment males were more likely to decrease substance use (OR = 5.34, p = .008) and were more likely to be living with family (OR = 4.30, p = .009). There were no gender differences in age of onset, psychopathology or functioning at discharge. CONCLUSIONS: Clinically meaningful gender differences in FEPM were driven by risk factors possibly associated with poor outcome. For males, substance use might be associated with poorer clinical presentation and functioning. In females with FEPM, the impact of sexual trauma on illness course warrants further consideration.