Psychiatry - Research Publications

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    Protocol and Rationale: A 24-week Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo Controlled Trial of the Efficacy of Adjunctive Garcinia mangostana Linn. (Mangosteen) Pericarp for Schizophrenia
    Turner, A ; McGrath, JJ ; Dean, OM ; Dodd, S ; Baker, A ; Cotton, SM ; Scott, JG ; Kavanagh, BE ; Ashton, MM ; Walker, AJ ; Brown, E ; Berk, M (KOREAN COLL NEUROPSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, 2019-05-01)
    OBJECTIVE: : Garcinia mangostana Linn., commonly known as mangosteen, is a tropical fruit with a thick pericarp rind containing bioactive compounds that may be beneficial as an adjunctive treatment for schizophrenia. The biological underpinnings of schizophrenia are believed to involve altered neurotransmission, inflammation, redox systems, mitochondrial dysfunction, and neurogenesis. Mangosteen pericarp contains xanthones which may target these biological pathways and improve symptoms; this is supported by preclinical evidence. Here we outline the protocol for a double- blind randomized placebo-controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of adjunctive mangosteen pericarp (1,000 mg/day), compared to placebo, in the treatment of schizophrenia. METHODS: : We aim to recruit 150 participants across two sites (Geelong and Brisbane). Participants diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder will be randomized to receive 24 weeks of either adjunctive 1,000 mg/day of mangosteen pericarp or matched placebo, in addition to their usual treatment. The primary outcome measure is mean change in the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (total score) over the 24 weeks. Secondary outcomes include positive and negative symptoms, general psychopathology, clinical global severity and improvement, depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, functioning, participants reported overall improvement, substance use, cognition, safety and biological data. A 4-week post treatment interview at week 28 will explore post-discontinuations effects. RESULTS: : Ethical and governance approvals were gained and the trial commenced. CONCLUSION: : A positive finding in this study has the potential to provide a new adjunctive treatment option for people with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. It may also lead to a greater understanding of the pathophysiology of the disorder.
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    Efficacy of adjunctive Garcinia mangostana Linn (mangosteen) pericarp for bipolar depression: study protocol for a proof-of-concept trial
    Ashton, MM ; Berk, M ; Ng, CH ; Hopwood, M ; Dodd, S ; Turner, A ; Brown, E ; Jacka, FN ; Cotton, SM ; Khoo, J-P ; Chatterton, ML ; Kavanagh, BE ; Nadjidai, SE ; Lo Monaco, SL ; Harvey, BH ; Sarris, J ; Malhi, GS ; Dowling, NL ; Dean, OM (ASSOC BRASILEIRA PSIQUIATRIA, 2019-05-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Bipolar depression is characterized by neurobiological features including perturbed oxidative biology, reduction in antioxidant levels, and a concomitant rise in oxidative stress markers. Bipolar depression manifests systemic inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and changes in brain growth factors. The depressive phase of the disorder is the most common and responds the least to conventional treatments. Garcinia mangostana Linn, commonly known as mangosteen, is a tropical fruit. The pericarp's properties may reduce oxidative stress and inflammation and improve neurogenesis, making mangosteen pericarp a promising add-on therapy for bipolar depression. METHODS: Participants will receive 24 weeks of either 1,000 mg mangosteen pericarp or placebo per day, in addition to their usual treatment. The primary outcome is change in severity of mood symptoms, measured using the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), over the treatment phase. Secondary outcomes include global psychopathology, quality of life, functioning, substance use, cognition, safety, biological data, and cost-effectiveness. A follow-up interview will be conducted 4 weeks post-treatment. CONCLUSION: The findings of this study may have implications for improving treatment outcomes for those with bipolar disorder and may contribute to our understanding of the pathophysiology of bipolar depression. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry, ACTRN12616000028404.
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    A randomised controlled trial of a mitochondrial therapeutic target for bipolar depression: mitochondrial agents, N-acetylcysteine, and placebo
    Berk, M ; Turner, A ; Malhi, GS ; Ng, C ; Cotton, SM ; Dodd, S ; Samuni, Y ; Tanious, M ; McAulay, C ; Dowling, N ; Sarris, J ; Owen, L ; Waterdrinker, A ; Smith, D ; Dean, OM (BMC, 2019-01-25)
    BACKGROUND: A phasic dysregulation of mitochondrial bioenergetics may operate in bipolar disorder, increased in mania and decreased in depression. We aimed to examine efficacy of two add-on treatments in bipolar depression: N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and NAC with a combination of nutraceutical agents that may increase mitochondrial biogenesis. METHODS: A three-arm 16-week, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial, adjunctive to usual treatment, was conducted. Participants (n = 181) with bipolar disorder and current depressive symptoms were randomised to 2000 mg/day NAC (n = 59), 2000 mg/day NAC with the combination nutraceutical treatment (CT, n = 61), or placebo (n = 61). The primary outcome was change in Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score from baseline to week 16. Young Mania Rating Scale, Clinical Global Impression (CGI)-Improvement and CGI-Severity scales, Patient Global Impression scale, Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS), Longitudinal Interval Follow-Up Evaluation - Range of Impaired Functioning Tool (LIFE-RIFT), and Quality of Life Enjoyment, and Satisfaction Questionnaire Short Form (Q-LES-Q-SF) were secondary outcomes. RESULTS: One hundred forty-eight participants had post-randomisation data and were analysed (NAC = 52, CT = 47, Placebo = 49). No between-group differences were found for the rate of change between baseline and 16 weeks on any of the clinical and functioning variables. Improvements in MADRS, BDRS, SOFAS, and LIFE-RIFT scores from baseline to the week 20 post-discontinuation visit were significantly greater in the CT group compared to those in the placebo. At week 20, the CGI-I was significantly lower in the CT group versus placebo. Gastrointestinal symptoms were significantly greater in the NAC than in the placebo group. CONCLUSIONS: These overall negative results, with no significant differences between groups detected at the primary outcome but some positive secondary signals, suggest either delayed benefit of the combination or an improvement of symptoms on withdrawal which warrants further exploration regarding the composition, mechanisms, and application of mitochondrial agents in illnesses characterised by mitochondrial dysfunction. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ANZCTR ( ACTRN12612000830897 ).
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    Youth Depression Alleviation with Anti-inflammatory Agents (YoDA-A): a randomised clinical trial of rosuvastatin and aspirin
    Berk, M ; Mohebbi, M ; Dean, OM ; Cotton, SM ; Chanen, AM ; Dodd, S ; Ratheesh, A ; Amminger, GP ; Phelan, M ; Weller, A ; Mackinnon, A ; Giorlando, F ; Baird, S ; Incerti, L ; Brodie, RE ; Ferguson, NO ; Rice, S ; Schafer, MR ; Mullen, E ; Hetrick, S ; Kerr, M ; Harrigan, SM ; Quinn, AL ; Mazza, C ; McGorry, P ; Davey, CG (BMC, 2020-01-17)
    BACKGROUND: Inflammation contributes to the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD), and anti-inflammatory strategies might therefore have therapeutic potential. This trial aimed to determine whether adjunctive aspirin or rosuvastatin, compared with placebo, reduced depressive symptoms in young people (15-25 years). METHODS: YoDA-A, Youth Depression Alleviation with Anti-inflammatory Agents, was a 12-week triple-blind, randomised, controlled trial. Participants were young people (aged 15-25 years) with moderate to severe MDD (MADRS mean at baseline 32.5 ± 6.0; N = 130; age 20.2 ± 2.6; 60% female), recruited between June 2013 and June 2017 across six sites in Victoria, Australia. In addition to treatment as usual, participants were randomised to receive aspirin (n = 40), rosuvastatin (n = 48), or placebo (n = 42), with assessments at baseline and weeks 4, 8, 12, and 26. The primary outcome was change in the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) from baseline to week 12. RESULTS: At the a priori primary endpoint of MADRS differential change from baseline at week 12, there was no significant difference between aspirin and placebo (1.9, 95% CI (- 2.8, 6.6), p = 0.433), or rosuvastatin and placebo (- 4.2, 95% CI (- 9.1, 0.6), p = 0.089). For rosuvastatin, secondary outcomes on self-rated depression and global impression, quality of life, functioning, and mania were not significantly different from placebo. Aspirin was inferior to placebo on the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES-Q-SF) at week 12. Statins were superior to aspirin on the MADRS, the Clinical Global Impressions Severity Scale (CGI-S), and the Negative Problem Orientation Questionnaire scale (NPOQ) at week 12. CONCLUSIONS: The addition of either aspirin or rosuvastatin did not to confer any beneficial effect over and above routine treatment for depression in young people. Exploratory comparisons of secondary outcomes provide limited support for a potential therapeutic role for adjunctive rosuvastatin, but not for aspirin, in youth depression. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12613000112763. Registered on 30/01/2013.
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    The SMILES trial: an important first step
    Jacka, FN ; O'Neil, A ; Itsiopoulos, C ; Opie, R ; Cotton, S ; Mohebbi, M ; Castle, D ; Dash, S ; Mihalopoulos, C ; Chatterton, ML ; Brazionis, L ; Dean, OM ; Hodge, A ; Berk, M (BMC, 2018-12-28)
    The SMILES trial was the first intervention study to test dietary improvement as a treatment strategy for depression. Molendijk et al. propose that expectation bias and difficulties with blinding might account for the large effect size. While we acknowledge the issue of expectation bias in lifestyle intervention trials and indeed discuss this as a key limitation in our paper, we observed a strong correlation between dietary change and change in depression scores, which we argue is consistent with a causal effect and we believe unlikely to be an artefact of inadequate blinding. Since its publication, our results have been largely replicated and our recent economic evaluation of SMILES suggests that the benefits of our approach extend beyond depression. We argue that the SMILES trial should be considered an important, albeit preliminary, first step in the field of nutritional psychiatry research.
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    The addition of fluoxetine to cognitive behavioural therapy for youth depression (YoDA-C): study protocol for a randomised control trial
    Davey, CG ; Chanen, AM ; Cotton, SM ; Hetrick, SE ; Kerr, MJ ; Berk, M ; Dean, OM ; Yuen, K ; Phelan, M ; Ratheesh, A ; Schaefer, MR ; Amminger, GP ; Parker, AG ; Piskulic, D ; Harrigan, S ; Mackinnon, AJ ; Harrison, BJ ; McGorry, PD (BMC, 2014-11-04)
    BACKGROUND: The aim of the Youth Depression Alleviation-Combined Treatment (YoDA-C) study is to determine whether antidepressant medication should be started as a first-line treatment for youth depression delivered concurrently with psychotherapy. Doubts about the use of medication have been raised by meta-analyses in which the efficacy and safety of antidepressants in young people have been questioned, and subsequent treatment guidelines for youth depression have provided only qualified support. METHODS/DESIGN: YoDA-C is a double-blind, randomised controlled trial funded by the Australian government's National Health and Medical Research Council. Participants between the ages of 15 and 25 years with moderate to severe major depressive disorder will be randomised to receive either (1) cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and fluoxetine or (2) CBT and placebo. The treatment duration will be 12 weeks, and follow-up will be conducted at 26 weeks. The primary outcome measure is change in the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) after 12 weeks of treatment. The MADRS will be administered at baseline and at weeks 4, 8, 12 and 26. Secondary outcome measures will address additional clinical outcomes, functioning, quality of life and safety. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ID: ACTRN12612001281886 (registered on 11 December 2012).
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    Deserves a hearing? A case report of remitting tinnitus with N-acetyl cysteine
    Dean, OM ; Jeavons, S ; Malhi, GS ; Cotton, SM ; Tanious, M ; Kohlmann, K ; Hewitt, K ; Moss, K ; Allwang, C ; Schapkaitz, I ; Robbins, J ; Dodd, S ; Bush, A ; Berk, M (IN HOUSE PUBLICATIONS, 2013-07-01)
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    Youth Depression Alleviation-Augmentation with an anti-inflammatory agent (YoDA-A): protocol and rationale for a placebo-controlled randomized trial of rosuvastatin and aspirin
    Quinn, AL ; Dean, OM ; Davey, CG ; Kerr, M ; Harrigan, SM ; Cotton, SM ; Chanen, AM ; Dodd, S ; Ratheesh, A ; Amminger, GP ; Phelan, M ; Williams, A ; Mackinnon, A ; Giorlando, F ; Baird, S ; Rice, S ; O'Shea, M ; Schaefer, MR ; Mullen, E ; Hetrick, S ; McGorry, P ; Berk, M (WILEY, 2018-02-01)
    AIM: There is growing support for the role of inflammation and oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). This has led to the development of novel strategies targeting inflammation in the treatment of depression. Rosuvastatin and aspirin have well-documented, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The aim of the Youth Depression Alleviation: Augmentation with an anti-inflammatory agent (YoDA-A) study is to determine whether individuals receiving adjunctive anti-inflammatory agents, aspirin and rosuvastatin experience a reduction in the severity of MDD compared with individuals receiving placebo. METHODS: YoDA-A is a 12-week triple-blind, randomized controlled trial funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia. Participants aged 15-25, with moderate-to-severe MDD, are allocated to receive either 10 mg/day rosuvastatin, 100 mg/day aspirin, or placebo, in addition to treatment as usual. Participants are assessed at baseline and at weeks 4, 8, 12 and 26. The primary outcome is change in the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) from baseline to week 12. RESULTS: The study is planned to be completed in 2017. At date of publication, 85 participants have been recruited. CONCLUSION: Timely and targeted intervention for youth MDD is crucial. Given the paucity of new agents to treat youth MDD, adjunctive trials are not only pragmatic and 'real-world', but additionally aim to target shortfalls in conventional medications. This study has the potential to first provide two new adjunctive treatment options for youth MDD; aspirin and rosuvastatin. Second, this study will serve as proof of principle of the role of inflammation in MDD.
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    The Efficacy of Adjunctive N-Acetylcysteine in Major Depressive Disorder: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
    Berk, M ; Dean, OM ; Cotton, SM ; Jeavons, S ; Tanious, M ; Kohlmann, K ; Hewitt, K ; Moss, K ; Allwang, C ; Schapkaitz, I ; Robbins, J ; Cobb, H ; Ng, F ; Dodd, S ; Bush, AI ; Malhi, GS (PHYSICIANS POSTGRADUATE PRESS, 2014-06-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, conferring considerable individual, family, and community burden. To date, treatments for MDD have been derived from the monoamine hypothesis, and there is a paucity of emerging antidepressants, especially with novel mechanisms of action and treatment targets. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a redox-active glutathione precursor that decreases inflammatory cytokines, modulates glutamate, promotes neurogenesis, and decreases apoptosis, all of which contribute to the neurobiology of depression. METHOD: Participants with a current episode of MDD diagnosed according to DSM-IV-TR criteria (N = 252) were treated with NAC or placebo in addition to treatment as usual for 12 weeks and were followed to 16 weeks. Data were collected between 2007 and 2011. RESULTS: The omnibus interaction between group and visit for the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), the primary outcome measure, was not significant (F₁,₅₂₀.₉ = 1.98, P = .067), and the groups did not separate at week 12 (t₃₆₀.₃ = -1.12, P = .265). However, at week 12, the scores on the Longitudinal Interval Follow-Up Evaluation-Range of Impaired Functioning Tool (LIFE-RIFT) differed from placebo (P = .03). Among participants with a MADRS score ≥ 25, NAC separated from placebo at weeks 6, 8, 12, and 16 (P < .05). Additionally, the rate of change between baseline and week 16 was significant (t₂₂₁.₀₃ = -2.11, P = .036). NAC treatment was superior to placebo at week 16 for secondary readouts of function and clinical impression. Remission and response were greater in the NAC group at week 16, but not at week 12. The NAC group had a greater rate of gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: Being negative at the week 12 end point, and with some positive secondary signals, the study provides only limited support for the role of NAC as a novel adjunctive therapy for MDD. These data implicate the pathways influenced by NAC in depression pathogenesis, principally oxidative and inflammatory stress and glutamate, although definitive confirmation remains necessary. TRIAL REGISTRATION: www.anzctr.org.au Identifier: ACTRN12607000134426.
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    Maintenance N-acetyl cysteine treatment for bipolar disorder: A double-blind randomized placebo controlled trial
    Berk, M ; Dean, OM ; Cotton, SM ; Gama, CS ; Kapczinski, F ; Fernandes, B ; Kohlmann, K ; Jeavons, S ; Hewitt, K ; Moss, K ; Allwang, C ; Schapkaitz, I ; Cobb, H ; Bush, AI ; Dodd, S ; Malhi, GS (BMC, 2012-08-14)
    BACKGROUND: N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a glutathione precursor that has been shown to have antidepressant efficacy in a placebo-controlled trial. The current study aimed to investigate the maintenance effects of NAC following eight weeks of open-label treatment for bipolar disorder. METHOD: The efficacy of a double blind randomized placebo controlled trial of 2 g/day NAC as adjunct maintenance treatment for bipolar disorder was examined. Participants (n = 149) had a Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Score of ≥12 at trial entry and, after eight weeks of open-label NAC treatment, were randomized to adjunctive NAC or placebo, in addition to treatment as usual. Participants (primarily outpatients) were recruited through public and private services and through newspaper advertisements. Time to intervention for a mood episode was the primary endpoint of the study, and changes in mood symptoms, functionality and quality of life measures were secondary outcomes. RESULTS: There was a substantial decrease in symptoms during the eight-week open-label NAC treatment phase. During the subsequent double-blind phase, there was minimal further change in outcome measures with scores remaining low. Consequently, from this low plateau, between-group differences did not emerge on recurrence, clinical functioning or quality of life measures. CONCLUSIONS: There were no significant between-group differences in recurrence or symptomatic outcomes during the maintenance phase of the trial; however, these findings may be confounded by limitations. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12607000074493).