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    ABSTRACT: Background:Obese individuals are known to be more impulsive than their normal weight counterparts. Impulsivity has been postulated to be a predictor of weight loss.Design:A pre-post study was designed to determine for first time whether impulsivity changed with weight loss during a lifestyle and physical activity intervention lasting 2-8 weeks.Subjects:53 obese adolescents with a BMI of 33.75±7.9 attending a residential camp were tested and compared at baseline with 50 non-obese group of adolescents with mean BMI of 20.6±2.3Measurements:Inhibitory control was measured with the CANTAB (Cambridge,UK;Cambridge Cognition) Stop Signal Task. MATLAB (Natwick, Massachusetts, The Mathswork Inc) was used to measure the temporal discounting constant.Results:The obese group were more impulsive than the normal weight adolescents. BMI reduced significantly from 33.76 kg/m(2) to 30.93 kg/m(2) after completing camp. The SSRT decreased from 225.38±94.22 to 173.76±107.05 ms (N=47, P=0.0001). A reduction in inhibitory control during camp was predictive of those who showed the greatest reduction in BMI (Wilks' Lambda=0.9, F(1,50)=4.85, P=0.034). The number of weeks in camp (Wilks' Lambda= 0.83, F(1,50)=9.826, P=0.003) and the age of the adolescents (Wilks' Lambda= 0.87, F(1,50)=5.98, P=0.02) were significantly associated with the reduction in inhibitory control as measured by the SSRT. A longer stay in camp was associated with a greater reduction in SSRT (B=25.45, t=2.02, P=0.05). Increasing age played a significant moderating role in the reduction of inhibitory control (B=-0.3, t=-0.034, P=0.05). Temporal discounting for monetary reward also fell significantly during camp.Conclusion:This study highlights the potential to identify those who are obese by use of easy to measure psychometric test. Furthermore it is the first study to report a reduction in impulsivity and an improvement in wellbeing as part of a government approved residential camp for obese adolescents. The potential mechanisms for the change in impulsivity with weight are discussed.International Journal of Obesity accepted article preview online, 29 October 2013; doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.198.
    International journal of obesity (2005) 10/2013; 38(4). DOI:10.1038/ijo.2013.198
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    ABSTRACT: Health anxiety has been treated by therapists expert in cognitive behaviour therapy with some specific benefit in some patients referred to psychological services. Those in hospital care have been less often investigated. Following a pilot trial suggesting efficacy we carried out a randomised study in hospital medical clinics. We undertook a multicentre, randomised trial on health anxious patients attending cardiac, endocrine, gastroenterological, neurological, and respiratory medicine clinics in secondary care. We included those aged 16-75 years, who satisfied the criteria for excessive health anxiety, and were resident in the area covered by the hospital, were not under investigation for new pathology or too medically unwell to take part. We used a computer-generated random scheme to allocate eligible medical patients to an active treatment group of five-to-ten sessions of adapted cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT-HA group) delivered by hospital-based therapists or to standard care in the clinics. The primary outcome was change in health anxiety symptoms measured by the Health Anxiety Inventory at 1 year and the main secondary hypothesis was equivalence of total health and social care costs over 2 years, with an equivalence margin of £150. Analysis was by intention to treat. The study is registered with controlled-trials.com, ISRCTN14565822. Of 28 991 patients screened, 444 were randomly assigned to receive either adapted cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT-HA group, 219 participants) or standard care (standard care group, 225), with 205 participants in the CBT-HA group and 212 in the standard care group included in the analyses of the primary endpoints. At 1 year, improvement in health anxiety in the patients in the CBT-HA group was 2·98 points greater than in those in the standard care group (95% CI 1·64-4·33, p<0·0001), and twice as many patients receiving cognitive behaviour therapy achieved normal levels of health anxiety compared with those in the control group (13·9% vs 7·3%; odds ratio 2·15, 95% CI 1·09-4·23, p=0·0273). Similar differences were observed at 6 months and 2 years, and there were concomitant reductions in generalised anxiety and, to a lesser extent, depression. Of nine deaths, six were in the control group; all were due to pre-existing illness. Social functioning or health-related quality of life did not differ significantly between groups. Equivalence in total 2-year costs was not achieved, but the difference was not significant (adjusted mean difference £156, 95% CI -1446 to 1758, p=0·848). This form of adapted cognitive behaviour therapy for health anxiety led to sustained symptomatic benefit over 2 years, with no significant effect on total costs. It deserves wider application in medical care. National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme.
    The Lancet 10/2013; 383(9913). DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61905-4
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    ABSTRACT: Both the classification of personality disorder in intellectual disability (ID) and its identification in practice are deemed to be difficult. A simpler approach to classification and its relationship to challenging behaviours were tested in an adult Jamaican population with ID. The study was carried out in Kingston, Jamaica, as part of a programme of field trials to determine the utility of the proposed revision of personality disorders in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), in a population of adults with ID living with their families or in supported care homes. Thirty-eight people with borderline (n = 5), mild (n = 16), moderate (n = 14) and severe (n = 3) ID were assessed at face-to-face interview and with relatives or staff using the provisional criteria for severity of personality disorder and its associated domain traits, and challenging behaviour was assessed using the Problem Behaviour Check List (PBCL) (a 5-point, 7-item scale). Using the severity scale 18 patients (47%) had no personality disorder, 7 (18%) had personality difficulty, 9 (24%) had mild personality disorder, and 4 (11%) had moderate personality disorder. None of the sample had severe personality disorder in which there is high risk of harm to self or others. Of the four major trait domains, provisionally named anankastic, detached, emotional and dissocial, three were evenly distributed in those with personality disturbance with the antagonistic (antisocial) trait less commonly shown (6 only). Scores on the PBCL were higher in those with increasing severity of personality disorder (P = 0.03) and those in the antagonistic personality trait domain had the highest PCL scores. Despite previous difficulties in assessing personality disorder in intellectual difficulties the ICD-11 classification was easy to administer in practice in this population, and the higher problem behaviour scores in those with greater severity of personality disturbance support its construct validity.
    Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 10/2013; 58(11). DOI:10.1111/jir.12095
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    ABSTRACT: The study was designed to test an audit-based quality improvement programme (QIP) addressing lithium prescribing and monitoring in UK mental health services. A baseline clinical audit was conducted against the following standards: (i) measurement of renal and thyroid function before initiating treatment with lithium and (ii) recommended monitoring of serum lithium and renal and thyroid function during maintenance treatment. A re-audit was conducted at 18 months and a supplementary audit at three years. Data were submitted for patients at baseline (n = 3,373), re-audit (n = 3,647), and supplementary audit (n = 5,683), 57% of whom had bipolar disorder. The baseline findings prompted a patient safety alert issued by the National Patient Safety Agency. By supplementary audit, the proportion of patients having four serum lithium tests over the previous year had increased from 30% at baseline to 48%, and the respective proportions that had two tests of renal function from 55% to 70% and thyroid function from 49% to 66%. Elderly patients and those prescribed a drug known to interact with lithium were not more likely to be monitored in line with the audit standards. Between baseline and supplementary audit, the proportion of patients with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder prescribed an antidepressant increased from 36% to 41%. Improvements in biochemical monitoring of lithium treatment were achieved over time with participation in a QIP that included benchmarking of performance against clinical standards and customized change interventions. Nevertheless, gaps remain between the standard and current practice. Antidepressants are frequently prescribed in patients with bipolar disorder despite a paucity of evidence supporting their efficacy.
    Bipolar Disorders 10/2013; 15(8). DOI:10.1111/bdi.12128

  • Health Economics Policy and Law 08/2013; 8(4):1-3. DOI:10.1017/S1744133113000315
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    ABSTRACT: There has been an explosion of interest in the concept of 'universal health coverage', fuelled by publication of the World Health Report 2010. This paper argues that the system of user charges for health services is a fundamental determinant of levels of coverage. A charge can lead to a loss of utility in two ways. Citizens who are deterred from using services by the charge will suffer an adverse health impact. And citizens who use the service will suffer a loss of wealth. The role of social health insurance is threefold: to reduce households' financial risk associated with sickness; to promote enhanced access to needed health services; and to contribute to societal equity objectives, through an implicit financial transfer from rich to poor and healthy to sick. In principle, an optimal user charge policy can ensure that the social health insurance funds are used to best effect in pursuit of these objectives. This paper calls for a fundamental rethink of attitudes and policy towards user charges.
    Health Economics Policy and Law 08/2013; 8(4):1-7. DOI:10.1017/S1744133113000285
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose. To investigate the reasons behind difficulties in recruiting patients to randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in psychiatry and to examine a database of RCTs for differences between studies in mental health and other specialities. Methods. A discussion of recent changes in research governance in the UK and Europe followed by an examination of the database of all trials supported by the Health Technology Assessment programme of the National Institute of Health Research in the UK between 1993 and 2007 to determine if three different measures, (i) time between grant approval and study start date, (ii) percentage of additional time given to extend recruitment and (iii) percentage of planned recruitment achieved, changed over the time period studied and differed between mental health, cancer and other medical disciplines. Findings. Despite attempts in the UK to accelerate the process of clinical trials in recent years, there was a significant increase in the extension time for trials to be completed (p = 0.038) and the percentage of planned recruitment to mental health studies (71%) was significantly less than for cancer (90.3%) and other studies (86.1%) (p = 0.032). Summary. These results suggest that, despite the priority afforded to the advancement of RCTs in healthcare, such studies are encountering increasing difficulty in recruiting to time and target. We suggest that this difficulty can be attributed, at least in part, to the excessively byzantine regulation and governance processes for health research in the UK, and unnecessary bureaucracy in the current National Health Service system. Mental health studies appear particularly vulnerable to delay and better systems to facilitate recruitment are required urgently for the evidence base to be improved and facilitate new cost-effective interventions.
    Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences 05/2013; 22(4):1-8. DOI:10.1017/S2045796013000255
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    International Psychogeriatrics 04/2013; 25(4):511-5. DOI:10.1017/S1041610212002414
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    ABSTRACT: Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness associated with high levels of somatic morbidity, comorbidity and mortality. Treatment guidelines for bipolar mania generally recommend initiating first-line therapy with a second-generation antipsychotic or mood stabiliser, either alone or in combination. Asenapine is a second-generation antipsychotic with a unique receptor binding profile, licensed for the treatment of manic episodes in adults with bipolar I disorder. 'Real-world' data are needed to complement evidence from clinical trials, in order to provide clinicians with pragmatic information regarding the likely risks and benefits of using a new agent in clinical practice. Evidence from real-world case reports demonstrates that - as in clinical trials - asenapine is effective in treating mania and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder, whether used as monotherapy or in combination with a mood stabiliser. It has a rapid onset of antimanic effect and an early improvement is associated with treatment outcome. Asenapine also shows promise in controlling depressive symptoms and clinically challenging mixed states. Asenapine has a favourable tolerability profile, compared with other first-line agents, having a minimal impact on weight and metabolic parameters. Asenapine should be considered a first-line treatment option for adults with bipolar I disorder.
    Journal of Psychopharmacology 03/2013; 27(S4). DOI:10.1177/1359786813482534

  • Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 03/2013; 47(8). DOI:10.1177/0004867413483883
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