Centre for Youth Mental Health - Research Publications
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Multimodal prognosis of negative symptom severity in individuals at increased risk of developing psychosis
Negative symptoms occur frequently in individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis and contribute to functional impairments. The aim of this study was to predict negative symptom severity in CHR after 9 months. Predictive models either included baseline negative symptoms measured with the Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndromes (SIPS-N), whole-brain gyrification, or both to forecast negative symptoms of at least moderate severity in 94 CHR. We also conducted sequential risk stratification to stratify CHR into different risk groups based on the SIPS-N and gyrification model. Additionally, we assessed the models' ability to predict functional outcomes in CHR and their transdiagnostic generalizability to predict negative symptoms in 96 patients with recent-onset psychosis (ROP) and 97 patients with recent-onset depression (ROD). Baseline SIPS-N and gyrification predicted moderate/severe negative symptoms with significant balanced accuracies of 68 and 62%, while the combined model achieved 73% accuracy. Sequential risk stratification stratified CHR into a high (83%), medium (40-64%), and low (19%) risk group regarding their risk of having moderate/severe negative symptoms at 9 months follow-up. The baseline SIPS-N model was also able to predict social (61%), but not role functioning (59%) at above-chance accuracies, whereas the gyrification model achieved significant accuracies in predicting both social (76%) and role (74%) functioning in CHR. Finally, only the baseline SIPS-N model showed transdiagnostic generalization to ROP (63%). This study delivers a multimodal prognostic model to identify those CHR with a clinically relevant negative symptom severity and functional impairments, potentially requiring further therapeutic consideration.
Impact of smoking Behavior on cognitive functioning in persons at risk for psychosis and healthy controls: A longitudinal study
(CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2021-09-21)
BACKGROUND: The high prevalence of smoking in individuals who are at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis is well known and moderate cognitive deficits have also been found in UHR. However, the association between smoking and cognition in UHR is unknown and longitudinal studies are lacking. METHOD: A cohort study with 330 UHR individuals and 66 controls was conducted, as part of the European network of national schizophrenia networks studying gene-environment interactions (EU-GEI). At baseline and after 6, 12, and 24 months, smoking behavior was assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and cognitive functioning with a comprehensive test battery. Linear mixed-effects analyses were used to examine the multicross-sectional and prospective associations between (change in) smoking behavior and cognitive functioning, accounting for confounding variables. RESULTS: At baseline, 53% of UHR and 27% of controls smoked tobacco. Smoking UHR and controls did not significantly differ from nonsmoking counterparts on the tested cognitive domains (speed of processing, attention/vigilance, working memory, verbal learning, or reasoning/problem solving) across different assessment times. Neither smoking cessation nor initiation was associated with a significant change in cognitive functioning in UHR. CONCLUSIONS: No associations were found between smoking and cognitive impairment in UHR nor in controls. However, the fact that one in every two UHR individuals report daily use of tobacco is alarming. Our data suggest that UHR have fewer cognitive impairments and higher smoking cessation rates compared to patients with first-episode psychosis found in literature. Implications to promote smoking cessation in the UHR stage need further investigation.
Characterization and prediction of clinical pathways of vulnerability to psychosis through graph signal processing
(eLIFE SCIENCES PUBL LTD, 2021-09-27)
Causal interactions between specific psychiatric symptoms could contribute to the heterogenous clinical trajectories observed in early psychopathology. Current diagnostic approaches merge clinical manifestations that co-occur across subjects and could significantly hinder our understanding of clinical pathways connecting individual symptoms. Network analysis techniques have emerged as alternative approaches that could help shed light on the complex dynamics of early psychopathology. The present study attempts to address the two main limitations that have in our opinion hindered the application of network approaches in the clinical setting. Firstly, we show that a multi-layer network analysis approach, can move beyond a static view of psychopathology, by providing an intuitive characterization of the role of specific symptoms in contributing to clinical trajectories over time. Secondly, we show that a Graph-Signal-Processing approach, can exploit knowledge of longitudinal interactions between symptoms, to predict clinical trajectories at the level of the individual. We test our approaches in two independent samples of individuals with genetic and clinical vulnerability for developing psychosis. Novel network approaches can allow to embrace the dynamic complexity of early psychopathology and help pave the way towards a more a personalized approach to clinical care.
"Eventually, I Admitted, 'I Cannot Do This Alone'": Exploring Experiences of Suicidality and Help-Seeking Drivers Among Australian Men
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-10-01)
While research has explored the intersection between masculinities and men's experiences of suicidality, comparatively little attention has been paid to the stories surrounding suicidal men's decision to seek help. The ways in which men experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviors embody masculinities alongside their enlistment of mental health services remains largely unknown. The present study explored 262 Australian men's stories surrounding the impetus for help-seeking for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The sample comprised men ranging in age from 17 to 74 years (M = 40.99; SD = 15.92 years), with most participants residing in a metropolitan area (55.3%), employed full time (43.1%), non-indigenous (95.4%) and heterosexual (73.7%). Participants elaborated on their reasons for help-seeking via an open-text qualitative survey, delivered as part of a larger study exploring help-seeking experiences of Australian men. Thematic analysis of responses generated four themes highlighting the diversity of experience across men, with some highlighting impacts of emasculating early trauma(s) on their suicidality, while others reflected an impulsiveness tied to situational stressors that fractured their masculine identity (e.g., relationship breakdown; job loss). Many men had epiphanies as they reached the limits of their self-reliance and came to terms with their need for help. As their suicidality was witnessed by-and began to impact-those around them, the sight of their previously masked pain by others often facilitated their help-seeking journey. The present findings underscore the complex and multifactorial role of masculinities in men's suicidality and their paths to help-seeking. Important inroads for future public mental health promotion efforts are discussed, in terms of leveraging self-reliant and caring masculinities in helping men to develop healthy coping in the context of suicidality.
Single Session and Short-Term Exercise for Mental Health Promotion in Tertiary Students: A Scoping Review
Exercise can improve mental health; however many tertiary students do not reach recommended levels of weekly engagement. Short-term exercise may be more achievable for tertiary students to engage in to promote mental health, particularly during times of high stress. The current scoping review aimed to provide an overview of controlled trials testing the effect of short-term (single bout and up to 3 weeks) exercise across mental health domains, both at rest and in response to an experimentally manipulated laboratory stress task, in tertiary students. The search was conducted using 'Evidence Finder,' a database of published and systematic reviews and controlled trials of interventions in the youth mental health field. A total of 14 trials meet inclusion criteria, six measured mental health symptoms in response to an experimentally manipulated laboratory stress task and the remaining eight measured mental health symptoms. We found that short-term exercise interventions appeared to reduce anxiety like symptoms and anxiety sensitivity and buffered against a drop in mood following an experimentally manipulated laboratory stress task. There was limited available evidence testing the impacts of exercise on depression like symptoms and other mental health mental health domains, suggesting further work is required. Universities should consider implementing methods to increase student knowledge about the relationship between physical exercise and mental health and student access to exercise facilities.
The Youth Aware of Mental Health program in Australian Secondary Schools: 3- and 6-month outcomes.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-10-21)
OBJECTIVE: The evidence base for suicide prevention programs in Australian schools is limited. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of a universal, mental health promotion and suicide prevention program-Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM)-on suicidal ideation, mental health, and help-seeking in Australian secondary school students from baseline to post-intervention and 6-month follow up. METHODS: Using a single-arm design, the YAM program was delivered to Year 9 students (13-16 years) in secondary schools located within four regions across New South Wales, Australia. A structured self-report questionnaire using validated scales was administered at each time point. Linear mixed-effects modelling was used to examine differences in suicidal ideation scores across time, while accounting for random effects of individual schools. RESULTS: Suicidal ideation reduced significantly from baseline to post, and from baseline to follow-up (p < 0.001). Depression severity declined (p < 0.001) and help-seeking intentions increased (p < 0.001) at post-intervention and 6- months following the intervention period. No suicide deaths were reported for any study participants. CONCLUSION: The current findings provide preliminary evidence that the YAM program is a promising preventive intervention for Australian schools, particularly for reducing suicidal ideation, depression and increasing help-seeking intentions in young people. The implementation of YAM in a large number of schools across New South Wales demonstrates the feasibility, and acceptability by schools, of implementing this program at scale. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ANZCTR, ACTRN12619000338167. Registered 5 March 2019-Retrospectively registered, http://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=376989&isReview=true .
Correction: Socio-economic position as a moderator of cardiometabolic outcomes in patients receiving psychotropic treatment associated with weight gain: results from a prospective 12-month inception cohort study and a large population-based cohort.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-10-07)
Age of Onset and Its Related Factors in Cocaine or Methamphetamine Use in Adults from the United States: Results from NHANES 2005-2018
Cocaine and methamphetamine are widely used illicit psychostimulants worldwide, with steadily increasing global markets that may impact on the frequency of use. Importantly, their use typically begins in youth. This is a particular concern because there is a link between the early age of first substance use and severity of substance use disorder later in life. The aim of the present study was therefore to investigate trends in prevalence, frequency, and age of onset of cocaine or methamphetamine use between 2005 and 2018 in the United States, using the nationally representative NHANES datasets. Factors associated with the ages of cocaine or methamphetamine use onset were also identified. From 2005 to 2018, prevalence and frequencies of cocaine or methamphetamine use increased, while age of onset remained relatively stable (~20 years of age). Annual household income, use of other substances, and intravenous drug use were identified as factors associated with early onset cocaine or methamphetamine use. These factors have important implications toward developing new prevention programs to reduce psychostimulant use.
Impacts of High Concentration, Medium Duration Coal Mine Fire Related PM2.5 on Cancer Incidence: 5-Year Follow-Up of the Hazelwood Health Study
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2021-11-01)
No studies have investigated the cancer outcomes from high level medium duration coal mine fire fine particulate matter ⩽2.5 µm in diameter (PM2.5) exposure. We included 2208 Morwell residents (exposed) and 646 Sale residents (unexposed) who participated in the Hazelwood Health Study Adult Survey. Competing risk regression models were used to evaluate relationships between coal mine fire exposure and cancer incidence, adjusting for known confounders. There were 137 cancers in the exposed and 27 in the unexposed over 14 849 person-years of follow-up. A higher risk of cancer incidence was observed for Morwell participants (HR = 1.67 [95% CI 1.05-2.67]), but no evidence to suggest associations between PM2.5 exposure and incidence of all cancers (HR = 1.02 [95% CI 0.91-1.13]), or site-specific cancers. There is no strong evidence that exposure to high concentrations of mine fire-related PM2.5 over a prolonged period could explain the higher risk in exposed population in this study.
Examining Sex Differences in Conditioned Place Preference or Aversion to Methamphetamine in Adolescent and Adult Mice.
(Frontiers Media SA, 2021)
Adolescence marks a particularly vulnerable period to developing substance use disorders. Human and rodent studies suggest that hypersensitivity to reward may contribute towards such vulnerability when adolescents are exposed to casual drug use. Methamphetamine is a popular illicit substance used by male and female youths. However, age- and sex-specific research in methamphetamine is scarce. The present study therefore aimed to examine potential sex differences in methamphetamine-conditioned place preference in adolescent and adult mice. Mice (n = 16-24/group) were conditioned to methamphetamine (0.1 mg/kg). We observed that regardless of age, females were more hyperactive compared to males. Individually normalized score against baseline preference indicated that on average, adolescents formed stronger preference compared to adults in both sexes. This suggests that adolescents are more sensitive to the rewarding effects of methamphetamine compared to adults. Surprisingly, individual data showed that some mice formed a conditioned place aversion instead of preference, with females less likely to form an aversion compared to males. These results suggest that adolescents may be hypersensitive to methamphetamine's rewarding effects. In addition, female resistance to the aversive effects of methamphetamine may relate to the sex-specific findings in humans, including quicker transition to regular methamphetamine use observed in females compared to males.
Cognitive strengths in first episode psychosis: a thematic analysis of clinicians' perspectives
BACKGROUND: Cognitive deficits are associated with poor functional outcomes in individuals recovering from a first episode of psychosis (FEP). Existing treatments that target cognitive deficits in FEP may enhance cognitive function, but improvements to real-world functioning are less consistent. Furthermore, these treatments may not adequately address the personal recovery goals of young people attending FEP services. A novel cognitive strengths-based approach may overcome these shortcomings. METHODS: This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews to explore clinicians' (N = 12) perspectives toward the potential development of a cognitive strengths-based assessment or treatment in FEP. The interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Five higher-order themes emerged: (1) pro-strengths attitude despite unfamiliarity and minimal use, (2) default to a cognitive deficit lens, (3) potential benefits of a cognitive strengths approach, (4) potential risks and barriers, and (5) considerations for successful implementation. While clinicians acknowledged their current deficit approach, they supported implementing a cognitive strengths assessment or treatment and highlighted their potential benefits for the personal recovery needs of young people with FEP. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that a deficit-focused approach to cognitive function amongst clinicians may be common practice in FEP services. Nevertheless, a cognitive strengths approach was viewed favourably by clinicians and may represent a novel method of supporting personal recovery. Thus, the design and implementation of a cognitive strengths approach may be worthwhile. Future exploration of other stakeholder perspectives, such as young people with FEP, is essential.