Psychiatry - Research Publications

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    Anesthetics Rapidly Promote Synaptogenesis during a Critical Period of Brain Development
    De Roo, M ; Klauser, P ; Briner, A ; Nikonenko, I ; Mendez, P ; Dayer, A ; Kiss, JZ ; Muller, D ; Vutskits, L ; Chédotal, A (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2009-09-16)
    Experience-driven activity plays an essential role in the development of brain circuitry during critical periods of early postnatal life, a process that depends upon a dynamic balance between excitatory and inhibitory signals. Since general anesthetics are powerful pharmacological modulators of neuronal activity, an important question is whether and how these drugs can affect the development of synaptic networks. To address this issue, we examined here the impact of anesthetics on synapse growth and dynamics. We show that exposure of young rodents to anesthetics that either enhance GABAergic inhibition or block NMDA receptors rapidly induce a significant increase in dendritic spine density in the somatosensory cortex and hippocampus. This effect is developmentally regulated; it is transient but lasts for several days and is also reproduced by selective antagonists of excitatory receptors. Analyses of spine dynamics in hippocampal slice cultures reveals that this effect is mediated through an increased rate of protrusions formation, a better stabilization of newly formed spines, and leads to the formation of functional synapses. Altogether, these findings point to anesthesia as an important modulator of spine dynamics in the developing brain and suggest the existence of a homeostatic process regulating spine formation as a function of neural activity. Importantly, they also raise concern about the potential impact of these drugs on human practice, when applied during critical periods of development in infants.
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    Genome-wide association for major depressive disorder: a possible role for the presynaptic protein piccolo.
    Sullivan, PF ; de Geus, EJC ; Willemsen, G ; James, MR ; Smit, JH ; Zandbelt, T ; Arolt, V ; Baune, BT ; Blackwood, D ; Cichon, S ; Coventry, WL ; Domschke, K ; Farmer, A ; Fava, M ; Gordon, SD ; He, Q ; Heath, AC ; Heutink, P ; Holsboer, F ; Hoogendijk, WJ ; Hottenga, JJ ; Hu, Y ; Kohli, M ; Lin, D ; Lucae, S ; Macintyre, DJ ; Maier, W ; McGhee, KA ; McGuffin, P ; Montgomery, GW ; Muir, WJ ; Nolen, WA ; Nöthen, MM ; Perlis, RH ; Pirlo, K ; Posthuma, D ; Rietschel, M ; Rizzu, P ; Schosser, A ; Smit, AB ; Smoller, JW ; Tzeng, J-Y ; van Dyck, R ; Verhage, M ; Zitman, FG ; Martin, NG ; Wray, NR ; Boomsma, DI ; Penninx, BWJH (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-04)
    Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common complex trait with enormous public health significance. As part of the Genetic Association Information Network initiative of the US Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, we conducted a genome-wide association study of 435 291 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genotyped in 1738 MDD cases and 1802 controls selected to be at low liability for MDD. Of the top 200, 11 signals localized to a 167 kb region overlapping the gene piccolo (PCLO, whose protein product localizes to the cytomatrix of the presynaptic active zone and is important in monoaminergic neurotransmission in the brain) with P-values of 7.7 x 10(-7) for rs2715148 and 1.2 x 10(-6) for rs2522833. We undertook replication of SNPs in this region in five independent samples (6079 MDD independent cases and 5893 controls) but no SNP exceeded the replication significance threshold when all replication samples were analyzed together. However, there was heterogeneity in the replication samples, and secondary analysis of the original sample with the sample of greatest similarity yielded P=6.4 x 10(-8) for the nonsynonymous SNP rs2522833 that gives rise to a serine to alanine substitution near a C2 calcium-binding domain of the PCLO protein. With the integrated replication effort, we present a specific hypothesis for further studies.
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    Hierarchical modularity in human brain functional networks.
    Meunier, D ; Lambiotte, R ; Fornito, A ; Ersche, KD ; Bullmore, ET (Frontiers Media SA, 2009)
    The idea that complex systems have a hierarchical modular organization originated in the early 1960s and has recently attracted fresh support from quantitative studies of large scale, real-life networks. Here we investigate the hierarchical modular (or "modules-within-modules") decomposition of human brain functional networks, measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging in 18 healthy volunteers under no-task or resting conditions. We used a customized template to extract networks with more than 1800 regional nodes, and we applied a fast algorithm to identify nested modular structure at several hierarchical levels. We used mutual information, 0 < I < 1, to estimate the similarity of community structure of networks in different subjects, and to identify the individual network that is most representative of the group. Results show that human brain functional networks have a hierarchical modular organization with a fair degree of similarity between subjects, I = 0.63. The largest five modules at the highest level of the hierarchy were medial occipital, lateral occipital, central, parieto-frontal and fronto-temporal systems; occipital modules demonstrated less sub-modular organization than modules comprising regions of multimodal association cortex. Connector nodes and hubs, with a key role in inter-modular connectivity, were also concentrated in association cortical areas. We conclude that methods are available for hierarchical modular decomposition of large numbers of high resolution brain functional networks using computationally expedient algorithms. This could enable future investigations of Simon's original hypothesis that hierarchy or near-decomposability of physical symbol systems is a critical design feature for their fast adaptivity to changing environmental conditions.
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    Early life stress as an influence on limbic epilepsy: an hypothesis whose time has come?
    Koe, AS ; Jones, NC ; Salzberg, MR (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2009-01-01)
    The pathogenesis of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE), the most prevalent form of refractory focal epilepsy in adults, is thought to begin in early life, even though seizures may not commence until adolescence or adulthood. Amongst the range of early life factors implicated in MTLE causation (febrile seizures, traumatic brain injury, etc.), stress may be one important contributor. Early life stress is an a priori agent deserving study because of the large amount of neuroscientific data showing enduring effects on structure and function in hippocampus and amygdala, the key structures involved in MTLE. An emerging body of evidence directly tests hypotheses concerning early life stress and limbic epilepsy: early life stressors, such as maternal separation, have been shown to aggravate epileptogenesis in both status epilepticus and kindling models of limbic epilepsy. In addition to elucidating its influence on limbic epileptogenesis itself, the study of early life stress has the potential to shed light on the psychiatric disorder that accompanies MTLE. For many years, psychiatric comorbidity was viewed as an effect of epilepsy, mediated psychologically and/or neurobiologically. An alternative - or complementary - perspective is that of shared causation. Early life stress, implicated in the pathogenesis of several psychiatric disorders, may be one such causal factor. This paper aims to critically review the body of experimental evidence linking early life stress and epilepsy; to discuss the direct studies examining early life stress effects in current models of limbic seizures/epilepsy; and to suggest priorities for future research.
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    Molecular Pathology of Neuro-AIDS (CNS-HIV)
    Crews, L ; Patrick, C ; Achim, CL ; Everall, IP ; Masliah, E (MDPI, 2009-03-01)
    The cognitive deficits in patients with HIV profoundly affect the quality of life of people living with this disease and have often been linked to the neuro-inflammatory condition known as HIV encephalitis (HIVE). With the advent of more effective anti-retroviral therapies, HIVE has shifted from a sub-acute to a chronic condition. The neurodegenerative process in patients with HIVE is characterized by synaptic and dendritic damage to pyramidal neurons, loss of calbindin-immunoreactive interneurons and myelin loss. The mechanisms leading to neurodegeneration in HIVE might involve a variety of pathways, and several lines of investigation have found that interference with signaling factors mediating neuroprotection might play an important role. These signaling pathways include, among others, the GSK3beta, CDK5, ERK, Pyk2, p38 and JNK cascades. Of these, GSK3beta has been a primary focus of many previous studies showing that in infected patients, HIV proteins and neurotoxins secreted by immune-activated cells in the brain abnormally activate this pathway, which is otherwise regulated by growth factors such as FGF. Interestingly, modulation of the GSK3beta signaling pathway by FGF1 or GSK3beta inhibitors (lithium, valproic acid) is protective against HIV neurotoxicity, and several pilot clinical trials have demonstrated cognitive improvements in HIV patients treated with GSK3beta inhibitors. In addition to the GSK3beta pathway, the CDK5 pathway has recently been implicated as a mediator of neurotoxicity in HIV, and HIV proteins might activate this pathway and subsequently disrupt the diverse processes that CDK5 regulates, including synapse formation and plasticity and neurogenesis. Taken together, the GSK3beta and CDK5 signaling pathways are important regulators of neurotoxicity in HIV, and modulation of these factors might have therapeutic potential in the treatment of patients suffering from HIVE. In this context, the subsequent sections will focus on reviewing the involvement of the GSK3beta and CDK5 pathways in neurodegeneration in HIV.
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    Mapping Brain Response to Pain in Fibromyalgia Patients Using Temporal Analysis of fMRI
    Pujol, J ; Lopez-Sola, M ; Ortiz, H ; Carles Vilanova, J ; Harrison, BJ ; Yucel, M ; Soriano-Mas, C ; Cardoner, N ; Deus, J ; García, AV (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2009-04-21)
    BACKGROUND: Nociceptive stimuli may evoke brain responses longer than the stimulus duration often partially detected by conventional neuroimaging. Fibromyalgia patients typically complain of severe pain from gentle stimuli. We aimed to characterize brain response to painful pressure in fibromyalgia patients by generating activation maps adjusted for the duration of brain responses. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Twenty-seven women (mean age: 47.8 years) were assessed with fMRI. The sample included nine fibromyalgia patients and nine healthy subjects who received 4 kg/cm(2) of pressure on the thumb. Nine additional control subjects received 6.8 kg/cm(2) to match the patients for the severity of perceived pain. Independent Component Analysis characterized the temporal dynamics of the actual brain response to pressure. Statistical parametric maps were estimated using the obtained time courses. Brain response to pressure (18 seconds) consistently exceeded the stimulus application (9 seconds) in somatosensory regions in all groups. fMRI maps following such temporal dynamics showed a complete pain network response (sensory-motor cortices, operculo-insula, cingulate cortex, and basal ganglia) to 4 kg/cm(2) of pressure in fibromyalgia patients. In healthy subjects, response to this low intensity pressure involved mainly somatosensory cortices. When matched for perceived pain (6.8 kg/cm(2)), control subjects showed also comprehensive activation of pain-related regions, but fibromyalgia patients showed significantly larger activation in the anterior insula-basal ganglia complex and the cingulate cortex. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The results suggest that data-driven fMRI assessments may complement conventional neuroimaging for characterizing pain responses and that enhancement of brain activation in fibromyalgia patients may be particularly relevant in emotion-related regions.
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    In the psychiatrists chair: how neurologists understand conversion disorder
    Kanaan, R ; Armstrong, D ; Barnes, P ; Wessely, S (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2009-10-01)
    Conversion disorder ('hysteria') was largely considered to be a neurological problem in the 19th century, but without a neuropathological explanation it was commonly assimilated with malingering. The theories of Janet and Freud transformed hysteria into a psychiatric condition, but as such models decline in popularity and a neurobiology of conversion has yet to be found, today's neurologists once again face a disorder without an accepted model. This article explores how today's neurologists understand conversion through in-depth interviews with 22 neurology consultants. The neurologists endorsed psychological models but did not understand their patients in such terms. Rather, they distinguished conversion from other unexplained conditions clinically by its severity and inconsistency. While many did not see this as clearly distinct from feigning, they did not feel that this was their problem to resolve. They saw themselves as 'agnostic' regarding non-neuropathological explanations. However, since neurologists are in some ways more expert in conversion than psychiatrists, their continuing support for the deception model is important, and begs an explanation. One reason for the model's persistence may be that it is employed as a diagnostic device, used to differentiate between those unexplained symptoms that could, in principle, have a medical explanation and those that could not.
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    Determinants of participation restriction among community dwelling stroke survivors: A path analysis
    Chau, JPC ; Thompson, DR ; Twinn, S ; Chang, AM ; Woo, J (BMC, 2009-09-07)
    BACKGROUND: Apart from promoting physical recovery and assisting in activities of daily living, a major challenge in stroke rehabilitation is to minimize psychosocial morbidity and to promote the reintegration of stroke survivors into their family and community. The identification of key factors influencing long-term outcome are essential in developing more effective rehabilitation measures for reducing stroke-related morbidity. The aim of this study was to test a theoretical model of predictors of participation restriction which included the direct and indirect effects between psychosocial outcomes, physical outcome, and socio-demographic variables at 12 months after stroke. METHODS: Data were collected from 188 stroke survivors at 12 months following their discharge from one of the two rehabilitation hospitals in Hong Kong. The settings included patients' homes and residential care facilities. Path analysis was used to test a hypothesized model of participation restriction at 12 months. RESULTS: The path coefficients show functional ability having the largest direct effect on participation restriction (beta = 0.51). The results also show that more depressive symptoms (beta = -0.27), low state self-esteem (beta = 0.20), female gender (beta = 0.13), older age (beta = -0.11) and living in a residential care facility (beta = -0.12) have a direct effect on participation restriction. The explanatory variables accounted for 71% of the variance in explaining participation restriction at 12 months. CONCLUSION: Identification of stroke survivors at risk of high levels of participation restriction, depressive symptoms and low self-esteem will assist health professionals to devise appropriate rehabilitation interventions that target improving both physical and psychosocial functioning.
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    Prolonged grief disorder: Psychometric validation of criteria proposed for DSM-V and ICD-11.
    Prigerson, HG ; Horowitz, MJ ; Jacobs, SC ; Parkes, CM ; Aslan, M ; Goodkin, K ; Raphael, B ; Marwit, SJ ; Wortman, C ; Neimeyer, RA ; Bonanno, GA ; Block, SD ; Kissane, D ; Boelen, P ; Maercker, A ; Litz, BT ; Johnson, JG ; First, MB ; Maciejewski, PK ; Brayne, C (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2009-08)
    BACKGROUND: Bereavement is a universal experience, and its association with excess morbidity and mortality is well established. Nevertheless, grief becomes a serious health concern for a relative few. For such individuals, intense grief persists, is distressing and disabling, and may meet criteria as a distinct mental disorder. At present, grief is not recognized as a mental disorder in the DSM-IV or ICD-10. The goal of this study was to determine the psychometric validity of criteria for prolonged grief disorder (PGD) to enhance the detection and potential treatment of bereaved individuals at heightened risk of persistent distress and dysfunction. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A total of 291 bereaved respondents were interviewed three times, grouped as 0-6, 6-12, and 12-24 mo post-loss. Item response theory (IRT) analyses derived the most informative, unbiased PGD symptoms. Combinatoric analyses identified the most sensitive and specific PGD algorithm that was then tested to evaluate its psychometric validity. Criteria require reactions to a significant loss that involve the experience of yearning (e.g., physical or emotional suffering as a result of the desired, but unfulfilled, reunion with the deceased) and at least five of the following nine symptoms experienced at least daily or to a disabling degree: feeling emotionally numb, stunned, or that life is meaningless; experiencing mistrust; bitterness over the loss; difficulty accepting the loss; identity confusion; avoidance of the reality of the loss; or difficulty moving on with life. Symptoms must be present at sufficiently high levels at least six mo from the death and be associated with functional impairment. CONCLUSIONS: The criteria set for PGD appear able to identify bereaved persons at heightened risk for enduring distress and dysfunction. The results support the psychometric validity of the criteria for PGD that we propose for inclusion in DSM-V and ICD-11. Please see later in the article for Editors' Summary.
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    Conceptual challenges of a tentative model of stress-induced depression.
    Baune, B ; Binfield, P (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2009)