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Relationship between sunlight and the age of onset of bipolar disorder: an international multisite study

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:17pm

BACKGROUND: The onset of bipolar disorder is influenced by the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. We previously found that a large increase in sunlight in springtime was associated with a lower age of onset. This study extends this analysis with more collection sites at diverse locations, and includes family history and polarity of first episode. METHODS: Data from 4037 patients with bipolar I disorder were collected at 36 collection sites in 23 countries at latitudes spanning 3.2 north (N) to 63.4 N and 38.2 south (S) of the equator. The age of onset of the first episode, onset location, family history of mood disorders, and polarity of first episode were obtained retrospectively, from patient records and/or direct interview. Solar insolation data were obtained for the onset locations. RESULTS: There was a large, significant inverse relationship between maximum monthly increase in solar insolation and age of onset, controlling for the country median age and the birth cohort. The effect was reduced by half if there was no family history. The maximum monthly increase in solar insolation occurred in springtime. The effect was one-third smaller for initial episodes of mania than depression. The largest maximum monthly increase in solar insolation occurred in northern latitudes such as Oslo, Norway, and warm and dry areas such as Los Angeles, California. LIMITATIONS: Recall bias for onset and family history data. CONCLUSIONS: A large springtime increase in sunlight may have an important influence on the onset of bipolar disorder, especially in those with a family history of mood disorders.

Controlling Relations in Stimulus Equivalence Classes of Preschool Children and Individuals with Down Syndrome

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:17pm

We evaluated emergent stimulus-stimulus relations after two different training procedures. Participants were five typically developing preschool children and three individuals with Down Syndrome. Experiment 1 used two-comparison matching to sample (MTS) to establish AB and BC relations. Experiment 2 used two-comparison and blank-comparison MTS, each on 50% of training trials to establish AB and BC relations. In both experiments, tests for emergent relations (AC, CA) were conducted to assess equivalence class formation. In Experiment 2 subsequently, class expansion was assessed after CD training. All participants showed positive equivalence test outcomes. Seven showed class expansion. After class formation tests in both studies, probe tests were conducted for select and reject relations in baseline relations. Initial results were somewhat variable, but became more consistent after class expansion.

Frequency and pattern of childhood symptom onset reported by first episode schizophrenia and clinical high risk youth

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:17pm

BACKGROUND: Psychosis prevention and early intervention efforts in schizophrenia have focused increasingly on sub-threshold psychotic symptoms in adolescents and young adults. Although many youth report symptom onset prior to adolescence, the childhood incidence of prodromal-level symptoms in those with schizophrenia or related psychoses is largely unknown.

METHODS: This study reports on the retrospective recall of prodromal-level symptoms from 40 participants in a first-episode of schizophrenia (FES) and 40 participants at "clinical high risk" (CHR) for psychosis. Onset of positive and non-specific symptoms was captured using the Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes. Frequencies are reported according to onset during childhood (prior to age 13), adolescence (13-17), or adulthood (18+).

RESULTS: Childhood-onset of attenuated psychotic symptoms was not rare. At least 11% of FES and 23% of CHR reported specific recall of childhood-onset of unusual or delusional ideas, suspiciousness, or perceptual abnormalities. Most recalled experiencing non-specific symptoms prior to positive symptoms. CHR and FES did not differ significantly in the timing of positive and non-specific symptom onset. Other than being younger at assessment, those with childhood onset did not differ demographically from those with later onset.

CONCLUSION: Childhood-onset of initial psychotic-like symptoms may be more common than previous research has suggested. Improved characterization of these symptoms and a focus on their predictive value for subsequent schizophrenia and other major psychoses are needed to facilitate screening of children presenting with attenuated psychotic symptoms. Accurate detection of prodromal symptoms in children might facilitate even earlier intervention and the potential to alter pre-illness trajectories.

An exploration of how psychotic-like symptoms are experienced, endorsed, and understood from the National Latino and Asian American Study and National Survey of American Life

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:17pm

Objective. To examine racial-ethnic differences in the endorsement and attribution of psychotic-like symptoms in a nationally representative sample of African-Americans, Asians, Caribbean Blacks, and Latinos living in the USA.

Design. Data were drawn from a total of 979 respondents who endorsed psychotic-like symptoms as part of the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) and the National Survey of American Life (NSAL). We use a mixed qualitative and quantitative analytical approach to examine sociodemographic and ethnic variations in the prevalence and attributions of hallucinations and other psychotic-like symptoms in the NLAAS and NSAL. The lifetime presence of psychotic-like symptoms was assessed using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI) psychotic symptom screener. We used logistic regression models to examine the probability of endorsing the four most frequently occurring thematic categories for psychotic-like experiences by race/ethnicity (n > 100). We used qualitative methods to explore common themes from participant responses to open ended questions on their attributions for psychotic-like symptoms.

Results. African-Americans were significantly less likely to endorse visual hallucinations compared to Caribbean Blacks (73.7% and 89.3%, p < .001), but they endorsed auditory hallucinations symptoms more than Caribbean Blacks (43.1% and 25.7, p < .05). Endorsing delusions of reference and thought insertion/withdrawal were more prevalent for Latinos than for African-Americans (11% and 4.7%, p < .05; 6.3% and 2.7%, p < .05, respectively). Attribution themes included: supernatural, ghosts/unidentified beings, death and dying, spirituality or religiosity, premonitions, familial and other. Respondents differed by race/ethnicity in the attributions given to psychotic like symptoms.

Conclusion. Findings suggest that variations exist by race/ethnicity in both psychotic-like symptom endorsement and in self-reported attributions/understandings for these symptoms on a psychosis screening instrument. Ethnic/racial differences could result from culturally sanctioned beliefs and idioms of distress that deserve more attention in conducting culturally informed and responsive screening, assessment and treatment.

Prolactin serum levels correlate with inflammatory status in drug-naive first-episode schizophrenia

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:17pm

Objectives. The present study was to examine the relationship between serum levels of prolactin and the inflammatory status in drug-naive, first-episode schizophrenia patients with normal weight.

Methods. Patients with normal weight, drug-naive, first-episode schizophrenia and healthy controls were enrolled in the study. Serum levels of prolactin (PRL) were measured using electrical chemiluminescence immunoassay. Serum levels of interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) were examined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Results. Sixty patients with normal weight, drug-naive, first-episode schizophrenia and 60 healthy controls were enrolled. The schizophrenia group had higher serum levels of PRL, IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha compared with the control group. There was a gender difference of hyperprolactinemia in schizophrenia group. There were positive relationships between serum levels of PRL and serum levels of IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha within the schizophrenia group. Within the schizophrenia group, TNF-alpha was the strongest predictor among the three cytokines for serum levels of prolactin after controlling for gender, age, education, smoking status and disease duration.

Conclusions. Patients with normal weight, drug-naive, first-episode schizophrenia present elevated serum levels of PRL, which might be related to the up-regulated inflammatory status in this patient population.

Differential impact of anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders on treatment outcome for psychotic depression in the STOP-PD study

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:17pm

BACKGROUND: There are conflicting results on the impact of anxiety on depression outcomes. The impact of anxiety has not been studied in major depression with psychotic features ("psychotic depression").

AIMS: We assessed the impact of specific anxiety symptoms and disorders on the outcomes of psychotic depression.

METHODS: We analyzed data from the Study of Pharmacotherapy for Psychotic Depression that randomized 259 younger and older participants to either olanzapine plus placebo or olanzapine plus sertraline. We assessed the impact of specific anxiety symptoms from the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale ("tension", "anxiety" and "somatic concerns" and a composite anxiety score) and diagnoses (panic disorder and GAD) on psychotic depression outcomes using linear or logistic regression. Age, gender, education and benzodiazepine use (at baseline and end) were included as covariates.

RESULTS: Anxiety symptoms at baseline and anxiety disorder diagnoses differentially impacted outcomes. On adjusted linear regression there was an association between improvement in depressive symptoms and both baseline "tension" (coefficient=0.784; 95% CI: 0.169-1.400; p=0.013) and the composite anxiety score (regression coefficient = 0.348; 95% CI: 0.064-0.632; p=0.017). There was an interaction between "tension" and treatment group, with better responses in those randomized to combination treatment if they had high baseline anxiety scores (coefficient=1.309; 95% CI: 0.105-2.514; p=0.033). In contrast, panic disorder was associated with worse clinical outcomes (coefficient=-3.858; 95% CI: -7.281 to -0.434; p=0.027) regardless of treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that analysis of the impact of anxiety on depression outcome needs to differentiate psychic and somatic symptoms.

Reducing Recidivism and Symptoms in Emerging Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions and Justice System Involvement

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:17pm

The peak years of offending in the general population and among those with serious mental health conditions (SMHC) are during emerging adulthood. There currently are no evidence-based interventions for reducing offending behavior among 18-21 year olds, with or without SMHC. This open trial examined outcomes from an adaptation of Multisystemic Therapy (MST), an effective juvenile recidivism reduction intervention, modified for use with emerging adults with SMHC and recent justice system involvement. MST for emerging adults (MST-EA) targets MH symptoms, recidivism, problem substance use, and young adult functional capacities. All study participants (n = 41) were aged 17-20 and had a MH diagnosis and recent arrest or incarceration. Implementation outcomes indicated that MST-EA was delivered with strong fidelity, client satisfaction was high, and the majority of participants successfully completed the intervention. Research retention rates also were high. Pre-post-analyses revealed significant reductions in participants' MH symptoms, justice system involvement, and associations with antisocial peers.

Effect of diet on brain metabolites and behavior in spontaneously hypertensive rats

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:17pm

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a heterogeneous psychiatric disorder affecting 5-10% of children. One of the suggested mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of ADHD is insufficient energy supply to neurons. Here, we investigated the role of omega 3 fatty acids in altering neural energy metabolism and behavior of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR), which is an animal model of ADHD. To this end, we employed Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy ((1)H MRS) to evaluate changes in brain neurochemistry in the SHR following consumption of one of three experimental diets (starting PND 21): fish oil enriched (FOE), regular (RD) and animal fat enriched (AFE) diet. Behavioral tests were performed to evaluate differences in locomotor activity and risk-taking behavior (starting PND 44). Comparison of frontal lobe metabolites showed that increased amounts of omega 3 fatty acids decreased total Creatine levels (tCr), but did not change Glutamate (Glu), total N-Acetylaspartate (tNAA), Lactate (Lac), Choline (Cho) or Inositol (Ino) levels. Although behavior was not significantly affected by different diets, significant correlations were observed between brain metabolites and behavior in the open field and elevated plus maze. SHR with higher levels of brain tCr and Glu exhibited greater hyperactivity in a familiar environment. On the other hand, risk-taking exploration of the elevated plus maze's open arms correlated negatively with forebrain tNAA and Lac levels. These findings support the possible alteration in energy metabolites in ADHD, correlating with hyperactivity in the animal model. The data also suggest that omega 3 fatty acids alter brain energy and phospholipid metabolism.

Planning Data Management Education Initiatives: Process, Feedback, and Future Directions

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:16am

Educating researchers in sound data management skills is a hot topic in today’s data intensive research world. Librarians across the country and the world are taking the lead in offering this training to their campus research communities. In Fall, 2013, the Data Curation Librarian at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, held a one-day “Data Management Basics” Workshop geared towards graduate students in engineering and science disciplines based on the New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum. Students were asked to complete a pre-workshop survey and a series of seven post-module surveys throughout the day. This article discusses the results of the survey feedback, the planning process, and elaborates on important variables in planning data management training initiatives, such as disciplinary adjustments and time constraints. The article concludes with a discussion of the author’s future plans for providing training initiatives based on the feedback he received.

Guidelines for the use of growth hormone in children with short stature.

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 2:51pm

On the basis of the information currently available, the only conditions in which GH therapy appears to be safe and effective in increasing adult height are GH deficiency and, likely, Turner syndrome. Therapy with GH also increases the growth velocity of children with CRI and may increase adult height, but no long-term data are available. Encouraging short-term results have been reported in patients with a few other conditions, such as patients with glucocorticoid-induced growth failure, renal transplantation, and Prader-Willi syndrome, but the data are limited and no long-term studies have been reported; in many other conditions the data are either inconclusive or discouraging. For children in these latter groups, GH therapy should be considered investigational and undertaken only as part of ethically sound, controlled clinical trials. Knowledge concerning the conditions in which GH is safe and effective is a prerequisite to making rational decisions concerning its use. However, in deciding whether therapy is warranted in an individual child, one must consider other important factors. The age and emotional maturity of the child, the family structure and dynamics, and even financial considerations may, in some cases, outweigh the presence of a GH-responsive condition. Likewise, the child's and the family's views about "short" stature and the likely benefits of therapy must be considered. Ultimately, a decision concerning the appropriateness of GH therapy must be individualized and based on a realistic assessment of its impact on the quality of life of the child and future adult.

Male pubertal development: are endocrine-disrupting compounds shifting the norms

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 2:51pm

Endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) are synthetic or natural compounds that interfere with endogenous endocrine action. The frequent use of chemicals with endocrine active properties in household products and contamination of soil, water, and food sources by persistent chemical pollutants result in ubiquitous exposures. Wildlife observations and animal toxicological studies reveal adverse effects of EDCs on reproductive health. In humans, a growing number of epidemiological studies report an association with altered pubertal timing and progression. While these data are primarily reported in females, this review will focus on the small number of studies performed in males that report an association of polychlorinated biphenyls with earlier sexual maturity rating and confirm subtle effects of lead, dioxins, and endosulfan on delaying pubertal onset and progression in boys. Recent studies have also demonstrated that EDC exposure may affect pubertal testosterone production without having a noticeable effect on sexual maturity rating. A limitation to understand the effects of EDCs in humans is the potential for confounding due to the long temporal lag from early-life exposures to adult outcomes. The complex interplay of multiple environmental exposures over time also complicates the interpretation of human studies. These studies have identified critical windows of vulnerability during development when exposures to EDCs alter critical pathways and affect postnatal reproductive health. Contemporaneous exposures can also disrupt the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. This paper will review the normal process of puberty in males and summarize human data that suggest potential perturbations in pubertal onset and tempo with early-life exposures to EDCs.

Mullerian inhibiting substance: a gonadal hormone with multiple functions

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 2:51pm

Mullerian inhibiting substance (MIS) is the gonadal hormone that causes regression of the Mullerian ducts, the anlagen of the female internal reproductive structures, during male embryogenesis. MIS is a member of the large transforming growth factor-beta (TGF beta) multigene family of glycoproteins that are involved in the regulation of growth and differentiation. The proteins in this gene family are all produced as dimeric precursors and undergo posttranslational processing for activation, requiring cleavage and dissociation to release bioactive C-terminal fragments. Similarly, the 140 kilodalton (kDa) disulfide-linked homodimer of MIS is proteolytically cleaved to generate its active C-terminal fragments. The sexually dimorphic expression of MIS in Sertoli cells of the testis and granulosa cells of the ovary is critical for normal differentiation of the internal reproductive tract structures. A number of extra-Mullerian functions such as control of germ cell maturation and gonadal morphogenesis, induction of the abdominal phase of testicular descent, suppression of lung maturation, and growth inhibition of transformed cells have also been proposed for this growth-inhibitory hormone and will be discussed. This article will summarize the current understanding of the biology and multiple functions of MIS including its activation, regulation, and mechanism of action and discuss areas of interest in ongoing research.

Predictors of serum chlorinated pesticide concentrations among prepubertal Russian boys

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 2:51pm

BACKGROUND: Few studies have evaluated predictors of childhood exposure to organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), a class of lipophilic persistent chemicals.

OBJECTIVES: Our goal was to identify predictors of serum OCP concentrations-hexachlorobenzene (HCB), beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta-HCH), and p,p-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p -DDE)-among boys in Chapaevsk, Russia.

METHODS: Between 2003 and 2005, 499 boys 8-9 years of age were recruited in a prospective cohort. The initial study visit included a physical examination; blood collection; health, lifestyle, and food-frequency questionnaires; and determination of residential distance from a local factory complex that produced HCB and beta-HCH. Fasting serum samples were analyzed for OCPs at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. General linear regression models were used to identify predictors of the boys' serum HCB, beta-HCH, and p,p -DDE concentrations.

RESULTS: Among 355 boys with OCP measurements, median serum HCB, beta-HCH, and p,p -DDE concentrations were 158, 167, and 284 ng/g lipid, respectively. Lower body mass index, longer breastfeeding duration, and local dairy consumption were associated with higher concentrations of OCPs. Boys who lived < 2 km from the factory complex had 64% (95% CI: 37, 96) and 57% (95% CI: 32, 87) higher mean HCB and beta-HCH concentrations, respectively, than boys who lived >/= 5 km away. Living > 3 years in Chapaevsk predicted higher beta-HCH concentrations, and having parents who lacked a high school education predicted higher p,p -DDE concentrations.

CONCLUSIONS: Among this cohort of prepubertal Russian boys, predictors of serum OCPs included consumption of local dairy products, longer local residence, and residential proximity to the local factory complex.

Parental mastery of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion skills and glycemic control in youth with type 1 diabetes

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 2:51pm

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to determine whether parental knowledge of the continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) device affects glycemic control as measured by hemoglobin A1c (A1C) level.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Parents of children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) using CSII completed a 14-item questionnaire. Questions 1-10 were knowledge-based questions that required the parent to extract specific information from their child's CSII device. Questions 11-14 asked parents to provide a self-assessment of their CSII knowledge.

RESULTS: Twenty-two parents of youth with T1DM participated in the study. Ten of the youth were in the Low-A1C group (A1C/=8%). Parents of youth in the Low-A1C group scored statistically better on the 10-item performance survey than parents of youth in the High-A1C group. Most of the parents of children in the Low-A1C group responded that they knew their child's insulin pump "very well" and that their pump knowledge had "increased" since their child started on the insulin pump.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings reveal that youth with T1DM whose parents are more knowledgeable about pump functions have optimal glycemic control as evidenced by A1C. These findings underscore the importance of ongoing pump training for both pediatric patients and their parents.

Blood lead levels and serum insulin-like growth factor 1 concentrations in peripubertal boys

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 2:51pm

BACKGROUND: Childhood lead exposure has been associated with growth delay. However, the association between blood lead levels (BLLs) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) has not been characterized in a large cohort with low-level lead exposure.

METHODS: We recruited 394 boys 8-9 years of age from an industrial Russian town in 2003-2005 and followed them annually thereafter. We used linear regression models to estimate the association of baseline BLLs with serum IGF-1 concentration at two follow-up visits (ages 10-11 and 12-13 years), adjusting for demographic and socioeconomic covariates.

RESULTS: At study entry, median BLL was 3 mug/dL (range, < 0.5-31 mug/dL), most boys (86%) were prepubertal, and mean +/- SD height and BMI z-scores were 0.14 +/- 1.0 and -0.2 +/- 1.3, respectively. After adjustment for covariates, the mean follow-up IGF-1 concentration was 29.2 ng/mL lower (95% CI: -43.8, -14.5) for boys with high versus low BLL (>/= 5 mug/dL or < 5 mug/dL); this difference persisted after further adjustment for pubertal status. The association of BLL with IGF-1 was stronger for mid-pubertal than prepubertal boys (p = 0.04). Relative to boys with BLLs < 2 mug/dL, adjusted mean IGF-1 concentrations decreased by 12.8 ng/mL (95% CI: -29.9, 4.4) for boys with BLLs of 3-4 mug/dL; 34.5 ng/mL (95% CI: -53.1, -16.0) for BLLs 5-9 mug/dL; and 60.4 ng/mL (95% CI: -90.9, -29.9) for BLLs >/= 10 mug/dL.

CONCLUSIONS: In peripubertal boys with low-level lead exposure, higher BLLs were associated with lower serum IGF-1. Inhibition of the hypothalamic-pituitary-growth axis may be one possible pathway by which lead exposure leads to growth delay.