Psychiatry - Research Publications

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    The Relationship Between Grey Matter Volume and Clinical and Functional Outcomes in People at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis.
    Tognin, S ; Richter, A ; Kempton, MJ ; Modinos, G ; Antoniades, M ; Azis, M ; Allen, P ; Bossong, MG ; Perez, J ; Pantelis, C ; Nelson, B ; Amminger, P ; Riecher-Rössler, A ; Barrantes-Vidal, N ; Krebs, M-O ; Glenthøj, B ; Ruhrmann, S ; Sachs, G ; Rutten, BPF ; de Haan, L ; van der Gaag, M ; EU-GEI High Risk Study Group, ; Valmaggia, LR ; McGuire, P (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2022-01)
    Objective: To examine the association between baseline alterations in grey matter volume (GMV) and clinical and functional outcomes in people at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis. Methods: 265 CHR individuals and 92 healthy controls were recruited as part of a prospective multi-center study. After a baseline assessment using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), participants were followed for at least two years to determine clinical and functional outcomes, including transition to psychosis (according to the Comprehensive Assessment of an At Risk Mental State, CAARMS), level of functioning (according to the Global Assessment of Functioning), and symptomatic remission (according to the CAARMS). GMV was measured in selected cortical and subcortical regions of interest (ROI) based on previous studies (ie orbitofrontal gyrus, cingulate gyrus, gyrus rectus, inferior temporal gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, striatum, and hippocampus). Using voxel-based morphometry, we analysed the relationship between GMV and clinical and functional outcomes. Results: Within the CHR sample, a poor functional outcome (GAF < 65) was associated with relatively lower GMV in the right striatum at baseline (P < .047 after Family Wise Error correction). There were no significant associations between baseline GMV and either subsequent remission or transition to psychosis. Conclusions: In CHR individuals, lower striatal GMV was associated with a poor level of overall functioning at follow-up. This finding was not related to effects of antipsychotic or antidepressant medication. The failure to replicate previous associations between GMV and later psychosis onset, despite studying a relatively large sample, is consistent with the findings of recent large-scale multi-center studies.
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    Counting on U training to enhance trusting relationships and mental health literacy among business advisors: protocol for a randomised controlled trial
    Saxon, L ; Bromfield, S ; Leow-Taylor, SH ; Vega, CE ; Berk, M ; LaMontagne, AD ; Martin, AJ ; Mohebbi, M ; Nielsen, K ; Reavley, NJ ; Walker, A ; Conway, A ; de Silva, A ; Memish, K ; Rossetto, A ; Tanewski, G ; Noblet, A (BMC, 2022-06-15)
    BACKGROUND: Financial distress is thought to be a key reason why small-medium enterprise (SME) owners experience higher levels of mental health conditions compared with the broader population. Business advisors who form trusting, high-quality relationships with their SME clients, are therefore well placed to: (1) help prevent/reduce key sources of financial distress, (2) better understand the business and personal needs of their clients and, (3) recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions and encourage help-seeking where appropriate. The aim of this study is to compare the effectiveness of relationship building training (RBT) combined with mental health first aid (MHFA) training for business advisors with MHFA alone, on the financial and mental health of their SME-owner clients. METHODS: This is a single blind, two-arm randomised controlled trial. Participants will be business advisors who provide information, guidance and/or assistance to SME owner clients and are in contact with them at least 3 times a year. The business advisors will invite their SME-owner clients to complete 3 online surveys at baseline, 6- and 12-months. Business advisors will be randomised to one of two conditions, using a 1:1 allocation ratio: (1) MHFA with RBT; or (2) MHFA alone, and complete 3 online surveys at baseline, 2- and 6-months. Primary outcomes will be measured in the business advisors and consist of the quality of the relationship, stigmatizing attitude, confidence to offer mental health first aid, quality of life and provision of mental health first aid. Secondary outcomes will be measured in the SME owners and includes trust in their business advisors, the quality of this relationship, financial wellbeing, financial distress, psychological distress, help-seeking behaviour, and quality of life. To complement the quantitative data, we will include a qualitative process evaluation to examine what contextual factors impacted the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance of the training. DISCUSSION: As there is evidence for the connections between client trust, quality of relationship and financial and mental wellbeing, we hypothesise that the combined RBT and MHFA training will lead to greater improvements in these outcomes in SME owners compared with MHFA alone. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov : NCT04982094 . Retrospectively registered 29/07/2021. The study started in February 2021 and the recruitment is ongoing.
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    Schizophrenia and Inflammation Research: A Bibliometric Analysis.
    Sun, H-L ; Bai, W ; Li, X-H ; Huang, H ; Cui, X-L ; Cheung, T ; Su, Z-H ; Yuan, Z ; Ng, CH ; Xiang, Y-T (Frontiers Media SA, 2022)
    Background: Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a severe psychiatric disorder that involves inflammatory processes. The aim of this study was to explore the field of inflammation-related research in SCZ from a bibliometric perspective. Methods: Regular and review articles on SCZ- and inflammation-related research were obtained from the Web of Science Core Collection (WOSCC) database from its inception to February 19, 2022. R package "bibliometrix" was used to summarize the main findings, count the occurrences of the top keywords, visualize the collaboration network between countries, and generate a three-field plot. VOSviewer software was applied to conduct both co-authorship and co-occurrence analyses. CiteSpace was used to identify the top references and keywords with the strongest citation burst. Results: A total of 3,596 publications on SCZ and inflammation were included. Publications were mainly from the USA, China, and Germany. The highest number of publications was found in a list of relevant journals. Apart from "schizophrenia" and "inflammatory", the terms "bipolar disorder," "brain," and "meta-analysis" were also the most frequently used keywords. Conclusions: This bibliometric study mapped out a fundamental knowledge structure consisting of countries, institutions, authors, journals, and articles in the research field of SCZ and inflammation over the past 30 years. The results provide a comprehensive perspective about the wider landscape of this research area.
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    Different Frequency of Heschl's Gyrus Duplication Patterns in Neuropsychiatric Disorders: An MRI Study in Bipolar and Major Depressive Disorders
    Takahashi, T ; Sasabayashi, D ; Yucel, M ; Whittle, S ; Lorenzetti, V ; Walterfang, M ; Suzuki, M ; Pantelis, C ; Malhi, GS ; Allen, NB (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2022-06-13)
    An increased prevalence of duplicated Heschl's gyrus (HG) has been repeatedly demonstrated in various stages of schizophrenia as a potential neurodevelopmental marker, but it remains unknown whether other neuropsychiatric disorders also exhibit this macroscopic brain feature. The present magnetic resonance imaging study aimed to examine the disease specificity of the established finding of altered HG patterns in schizophrenia by examining independent cohorts of bipolar disorder (BD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). Twenty-six BD patients had a significantly higher prevalence of HG duplication bilaterally compared to 24 age- and sex-matched controls, while their clinical characteristics (e.g., onset age, number of episodes, and medication) did not relate to HG patterns. No significant difference was found for the HG patterns between 56 MDD patients and 33 age- and sex-matched controls, but the patients with a single HG were characterized by more severe depressive/anxiety symptoms compared to those with a duplicated HG. Thus, in keeping with previous findings, the present study suggests that neurodevelopmental pathology associated with gyral formation of the HG during the late gestation period partly overlaps between schizophrenia and BD, but that HG patterns may make a somewhat distinct contribution to the phenomenology of MDD.
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    Carer burden and psychological distress in young-onset dementia: An Australian perspective
    Kang, M ; Farrand, S ; Walterfang, M ; Velakoulis, D ; Loi, SM ; Evans, A (WILEY, 2022-07-01)
    OBJECTIVES: Carer burden in dementia is associated with poor outcomes, including early nursing home placement for people with dementia and psychological distress for their carers. Carers of people with young-onset dementia (YOD) are particularly vulnerable to carer burden. Yet they are often overlooked by clinicians as dementia services are generally designed for older people. We sought to estimate the rate of burden and psychological distress in carers of YOD at a state-wide tertiary service based in Australia. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study examining 71 dyads from a Neuropsychiatry service. We collected patient demographic and clinical data including the Neuropsychiatry Unit Cognitive Assessment tool (NUCOG) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Carer data, such as demographics and psychological distress, were obtained using Depression Anxiety Stress Scale 21 (DASS-21). Carer burden was rated using the Zarit Burden Inventory-short version (ZBI). RESULTS: Higher carer burden, measured using ZBI, was associated with longer duration of dementia and greater severity of overall cognitive impairment. Carers who felt burdened reported higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety measured using DASS-21. Multiple linear regression analysis found carer burden was independently predicted by duration of dementia, total cognition score and carers experiencing psychological stress. DISCUSSION: We found that patient variables of dementia duration and cognitive impairment and carer variable of carer stress to be associated with carer burden. Poor executive function was associated with carer stress. Early identification and management of carer burden and psychological distress is important for outcomes. Ideally, this should be provided by a specialist YOD service.
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    Add-On MEmaNtine to Dopamine Antagonism to Improve Negative Symptoms at First Psychosis- the AMEND Trial Protocol
    Sandstrom, KO ; Baltzersen, OB ; Marsman, A ; Lemvigh, CK ; Boer, VO ; Bojesen, KB ; Nielsen, MO ; Lundell, H ; Sulaiman, DK ; Sorensen, ME ; Fagerlund, B ; Lahti, AC ; Syeda, WT ; Pantelis, C ; Petersen, ET ; Glenthoj, BY ; Siebner, HR ; Ebdrup, BH (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2022-05-20)
    Background: Antipsychotic drugs are primarily efficacious in treating positive symptoms by blocking the dopamine D2 receptor, but they fail to substantially improve negative symptoms and cognitive deficits. The limited efficacy may be attributed to the fact that the pathophysiology of psychosis involves multiple neurotransmitter systems. In patients with chronic schizophrenia, memantine, a non-competitive glutamatergic NMDA receptor antagonist, shows promise for ameliorating negative symptoms and improving cognition. Yet, it is unknown how memantine modulates glutamate levels, and memantine has not been investigated in patients with first-episode psychosis. Aims: This investigator-initiated double-blinded randomized controlled trial is designed to (1) test the clinical effects on negative symptoms of add-on memantine to antipsychotic medication, and (2) neurobiologically characterize the responders to add-on memantine. Materials and Equipment: Antipsychotic-naïve patients with first-episode psychosis will be randomized to 12 weeks treatment with [amisulpride + memantine] or [amisulpride + placebo]. We aim for a minimum of 18 patients in each treatment arm to complete the trial. Brain mapping will be performed before and after 12 weeks focusing on glutamate and neuromelanin in predefined regions. Regional glutamate levels will be probed with proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), while neuromelanin signal will be mapped with neuromelanin-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We will also perform structural and diffusion weighted, whole-brain MRI. MRS and MRI will be performed at an ultra-high field strength (7 Tesla). Alongside, participants undergo clinical and neuropsychological assessments. Twenty matched healthy controls will undergo similar baseline- and 12-week examinations, but without receiving treatment. Outcome Measures: The primary endpoint is negative symptom severity. Secondary outcomes comprise: (i) clinical endpoints related to cognition, psychotic symptoms, side effects, and (ii) neurobiological endpoints related to regional glutamate- and neuromelanin levels, and structural brain changes. Anticipated Results: We hypothesize that add-on memantine to amisulpride will be superior to amisulpride monotherapy in reducing negative symptoms, and that this effect will correlate with thalamic glutamate levels. Moreover, we anticipate that add-on memantine will restore regional white matter integrity and improve cognitive functioning. Perspectives: By combining two licensed, off-patent drugs, AMEND aims to optimize treatment of psychosis while investigating the memantine response. Alongside, AMEND will provide neurobiological insights to effects of dual receptor modulation, which may enable future stratification of patients with first-episode psychosis before initial antipsychotic treatment. Clinical Trial Registration: [ClinicalTrials.gov], identifier [NCT04789915].
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    Adapting Peer Researcher Facilitated Strategies to Recruit People Receiving Mental Health Services to a Tobacco Treatment Trial
    Baker, AL ; McCarter, K ; Brophy, L ; Castle, D ; Kelly, PJ ; Cocks, N ; McKinlay, ML ; Brasier, C ; Borland, R ; Bonevski, B ; Segan, C ; Baird, DE ; Turner, A ; Williams, JM ; Forbes, E ; Hayes, L ; Attia, J ; Lambkin, D ; Barker, D ; Sweeney, R (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2022-05-26)
    Introduction: One of the most challenging aspects of conducting intervention trials among people who experience severe mental illness (SMI) and who smoke tobacco, is recruitment. In our parent "QuitLink" randomized controlled trial (RCT), slower than expected peer researcher facilitated recruitment, along with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, necessitated an adaptive recruitment response. The objectives of the present study were to: (i) describe adaptive peer researcher facilitated recruitment strategies; (ii) explore the effectiveness of these strategies; (iii) investigate whether recruitment strategies reached different subgroups of participants; and (iv) examine the costs and resources required for implementing these strategies. Finally, we offer experience-based lessons in a Peer Researcher Commentary. Methods: People were included in the RCT if they smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day and were accessing mental health support from the project's two partnering mental health organizations in Victoria, Australia. The majority of people accessing these services will have been diagnosed with SMI. Recruitment occurred over 2 years. We began with peer facilitated recruitment strategies delivered face-to-face, then replaced this with direct mail postcards followed by telephone contact. In the final 4 months of the study, we began online recruitment, broadening it to people who smoked and were accessing support or treatment (including from general practitioners) for mental health and/or alcohol or other drug problems, anywhere in the state of Victoria. Differences between recruitment strategies on key participant variables were assessed. We calculated the average cost per enrolee of the different recruitment approaches. Results: Only 109 people were recruited from a target of 382: 29 via face-to-face (March 2019 to April 2020), 66 from postcards (May 2020 to November 2020), and 14 from online (November to December 2020 and January to March 2021) strategies. Reflecting our initial focus on recruiting from supported independent living accommodation facilities, participants recruited face-to-face were significantly more likely to be living in partially or fully supported independent living (n = 29, <0.001), but the samples were otherwise similar. After the initial investment in training and equipping peer researchers, the average cost of recruitment was AU$1,182 per participant-~US$850. Face-to-face recruitment was the most expensive approach and postcard recruitment the least (AU$1,648 and AU$928 per participant). Discussion: Peer researcher facilitated recruitment into a tobacco treatment trial was difficult and expensive. Widely dispersed services and COVID-19 restrictions necessitated non-face-to-face recruitment strategies, such as direct mail postcards, which improved recruitment and may be worthy of further research. Clinical Trial Registration: The trial is registered with ANZCTR (www.anzctr.org.au): ACTRN12619000244101 prior to the accrual of the first participant and updated regularly as per registry guidelines. The trial sponsor was the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
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    An examination of children's eating behaviours as mediators of the relationship between parents' feeding practices and early childhood body mass index z-scores
    Boswell, N ; Byrne, R ; Davies, PSW (WILEY, 2019-04-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Parent's use of restrictive feeding practices is associated with child weight. Similarly, the literature shows that children's eating behaviours are also associated with child weight. Given this interrelationship between children's eating behaviours, restrictive feeding practices and child weight, examination of possible mediator relationships is warranted. This study aimed to examine the relationships between overt restriction and covert restriction with child body mass index z-scores (BMIz) and determine if children's eating behaviours (satiety responsiveness and food responsiveness) act as mediators. METHOD: Parents of Australian children (n = 977) 2.0-5.0 years of age (49.4% male) provided data in an online survey on child eating behaviours, parent's restrictive feeding practices and child anthropometrics (modified z-scores were created to screen for biologically implausible values). Correlation analysis was used to determine variables to include in mediation models. Hayes' PROCESS macros in spss was used to examine mediation, controlling for covariates of child BMIz. RESULTS: Overt restriction was the only parent feeding practice related to child BMIz (B = 0.132, P = 0.04). Mediation analysis showed that the indirect effect of overt restriction on child BMIz (controlling for child age, gender, parent BMI and income) became non-significant when controlling for food responsiveness, thus suggesting full mediation, explaining 5.75% of the relation. CONCLUSION: Overt restriction and covert restriction have distinctly different relationships with children's eating behaviours. Food responsiveness appears an important intermediary in the relationship between overt restriction and child BMIz.
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    Complementary Feeding Methods-A Review of the Benefits and Risks
    Boswell, N (MDPI, 2021-07-01)
    Complementary feeding methods have the potential to not only ensure a diet of nutritional adequacy but also promote optimal food-related behaviours and skills. While the complementary feeding practice known as baby-led weaning (BLW) has gained popularity, evidence supporting the potential benefits and/or risks for infant growth, development, and health warrants consideration. A review of 29 studies was conducted with findings indicating that parents who implement BLW typically have higher levels of education, breastfeed for longer, and differ in other personality traits. Fear of choking was an important factor in parents' decision not to implement BLW; however, this fear was not supported by the literature. Benefits of BLW included lower food fussiness, higher food enjoyment, lower food responsiveness, and higher satiety responsiveness. While this profile of eating behaviours confers a reduced obesity risk, few studies have examined the relationship between BLW and infant growth robustly. BLW does not seem to increase the risk of inadequate zinc or iron intake; however, emphasis needs to be given to ensuring adequate intake of these micronutrients among all infants. A better understanding of the impacts of BLW is needed to inform evidence-based recommendations to support and guide parents in complementary feeding methods.
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    Family food environment factors associated with obesity outcomes in early childhood.
    Boswell, N ; Byrne, R ; Davies, PSW (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019)
    BACKGROUND: In attempting to gain understanding of the family food environment (FFE), as a central context for the development of obesity and obesogenic eating behaviours during early childhood, attention has largely focused on the relationships of individual variables. This fails to capture the complex combinations of variables children are exposed to. To more authentically reflect the impact of the FFE on the development of obesity and obesogenic eating behaviours during early childhood, this study aims to derive composites of FFE variables using factor analysis. METHODS: FFE and eating behaviour data were available from 757 Australian children (2.0-5.0 years) via a parent-completed online survey. Children were categorised as normal weight, overweight or obese, based on parent-reported anthropometry (underweight children were excluded). RESULTS: Eight FFE factors were derived. Scores for factors 'Negative Feeding Strategies' and 'Negative Nutrition Related Beliefs' increased with child BMI category, while 'Use of TV and devices' and 'Parent's Nutrition Knowledge' decreased. The FFE factor 'Negative Feeding Strategies' was positively associated with food fussiness, food responsiveness and slowness in eating, and negatively associated with parent body mass index (BMI) score. The FFE factor 'Negative Nutrition Related Beliefs' was positively associated with food responsiveness, as well as positively with parent BMI, male children, breastfeeding less than 6 months, and low-income status. The FFE factor 'Television (TV) and devices' was only positively associated with residing in a capital city. The FFE factor 'Parent's Nutrition Knowledge' was negatively associated with slowness in eating, breastfeeding less than 6 months and low-income status, and positively with parent stress and residing in a capital city. CONCLUSION: Consideration of the composite effect of FFE on child's eating behaviours and obesity outcomes is important in guiding future research and obesity prevention initiatives by providing a more authentic picture of the FFE children are exposed to. Examining factors of FFE variables in conjunction with psycho-social variables, further articulates the reciprocal influence of these variables on environmental constructs thus assisting in understanding of inequitable distribution of obesity risk. *KEYWORDS: childhood obesity, eating behaviours, early childhood, Family Food Environment, Factor Analysis.