Thomas W Meeks

University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, United States

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Publications (24)93.01 Total impact

  • The American journal of geriatric psychiatry: official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry 04/2014; 22(4):422. · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: With increasing longevity and a growing focus on successful aging, there has been a recent growth of research designed to operationalize and assess wisdom. We aimed to (1) investigate the degree of overlap among empirical definitions of wisdom, (2) identify the most commonly cited wisdom subcomponents, (3) examine the psychometric properties of existing assessment instruments, and (4) investigate whether certain assessment procedures work particularly well in tapping the essence of subcomponents of the various empirical definitions. We searched PsychINFO-indexed articles published through May 2012 and their bibliographies. Studies were included if they were published in a peer-reviewed journal and (1) proposed a definition of wisdom or (2) discussed the development or validation of an instrument designed to assess wisdom. Thirty-one articles met inclusion criteria. Despite variability among the 24 reviewed definitions, there was significant overlap. Commonly cited subcomponents of wisdom included knowledge of life, prosocial values, self-understanding, acknowledgment of uncertainty, emotional homeostasis, tolerance, openness, spirituality, and sense of humor. Published reports describing the psychometric properties of nine instruments varied in comprehensiveness but most measures were examined for selected types of reliability and validity, which were generally acceptable. Given limitations of self-report procedures, an approach integrating multiple indices (e.g., self-report and performance-based measures) may better capture wisdom. Significant progress in the empirical study of wisdom has occurred over the past four decades; however, much needs to be done. Future studies with larger, more diverse samples are needed to determine the generalizability, usefulness, and clinical applicability of these definitions and assessment instruments. Such work will have relevance for the fields of geriatrics, psychiatry, psychology, sociology, education, and public health, among others.
    The American journal of geriatric psychiatry: official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry 04/2013; · 3.35 Impact Factor
  • The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Subsyndromal symptoms of depression (SSD) in patients with schizophrenia are common and clinically important. While treatment of depression in major depressive disorder may partially ameliorate cognitive deficits, the cognitive effects of antidepressant medications in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and SSD are unknown. The goal of this study was to assess the impact of SSD and their treatment on cognition in participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder aged ≥40 years. Participants were randomly assigned to a flexible dose treatment with citalopram or placebo augmentation of their current medication for 12 weeks. An ANCOVA compared improvement in the cognitive composite scores, and a linear model determined the moderation of cognition on treatment effects based on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Calgary Depression Rating Scale scores between treatment groups. There were no differences between the citalopram and placebo groups in changes in cognition. Baseline cognitive status did not moderate antidepressant treatment response. Although there are other cogent reasons why SSD in schizophrenia warrant direct intervention, treatment does not substantially affect the level of cognitive functioning. Given the effects of cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia on functional disability, there remains an ongoing need to identify effective means of directly ameliorating them.
    Neuropsychobiology 03/2012; 65(3):168-72. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    Alana Iglewicz, Thomas W Meeks, Dilip V Jeste
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    ABSTRACT: Psychosis is common in late-life and exacts enormous costs to society, affected individuals, and their caregivers. A multitude of etiologies for late-life psychosis exist, the two most prototypical being schizophrenia and psychosis of Alzheimer disease (AD). As such, this article focuses on the nonaffective, neuropsychiatric causes of chronic psychosis in the elderly, specifically schizophrenia, delusional disorder, and the psychosis of AD and other dementias.
    The Psychiatric clinics of North America 06/2011; 34(2):295-318, vii. · 1.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Attention has been drawn to the potential risks of several medications in the long-term care setting. Most of these medications deemed as inappropriate affect the central nervous system and are indicated only for select populations with specific conditions. Many of these drugs are prescribed without clear indications and continued indefinitely without critical decision-making about the potentially salutary effects of discontinuing medications. This article describes the increasing awareness of potentially inappropriate prescribing in the long-term care setting and reviews the rationale for why various types of medications are deemed inappropriate, with a focus on agents that affect central nervous system functioning.
    Clinics in Geriatric Medicine 05/2011; 27(2):171-91. · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined differences in the frequency of leisure activity participation and relationships to depressive symptom burden and cognition in Latino and Caucasian women. Cross-sectional data were obtained from a demographically matched subsample of Latino and Caucasian (n = 113 each) postmenopausal women (age ≥60 years), interviewed in 2004-2006 for a multiethnic cohort study of successful aging in San Diego County. Frequencies of engagement in 16 leisure activities and associations between objective cognitive performance and depressive symptom burden by ethnicity were identified using bivariate and linear regression, adjusted for physical functioning and demographic covariates. Compared to Caucasian women, Latinas were significantly more likely to be caregivers and used computers less often. Engaging in organized social activity was associated with fewer depressive symptoms in both groups. Listening to the radio was positively correlated with lower depressive symptom burden for Latinas and better cognitive functioning in Caucasians. Cognitive functioning was better in Latinas who read and did puzzles. Housework was negatively associated with Latinas' emotional health and Caucasians' cognitive functioning. Latino and Caucasian women participate in different patterns of leisure activities. Additionally, ethnicity significantly affects the relationship between leisure activities and both emotional and cognitive health.
    Psychology Health and Medicine 02/2011; 16(6):661-74. · 1.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: With emphasis on dimensional aspects of psychopathology in development of the upcoming DSM-V, we systematically review data on epidemiology, illness course, risk factors for, and consequences of late-life depressive syndromes not meeting DSM-IV-TR criteria for major depression or dysthymia. We termed these syndromes subthreshold depression, including minor depression and subsyndromal depression. We searched PubMed (1980-Jan 2010) using the terms: subsyndromal depression, subthreshold depression, and minor depression in combination with elderly, geriatric, older adult, and late-life. Data were extracted from 181 studies of late-life subthreshold depression. In older adults subthreshold depression was generally at least 2-3 times more prevalent (median community point prevalence 9.8%) than major depression. Prevalence of subthreshold depression was lower in community settings versus primary care and highest in long-term care settings. Approximately 8-10% of older persons with subthreshold depression developed major depression per year. The course of late-life subthreshold depression was more favorable than that of late-life major depression, but far from benign, with a median remission rate to non-depressed status of only 27% after ≥1 year. Prominent risk factors included female gender, medical burden, disability, and low social support; consequences included increased disability, greater healthcare utilization, and increased suicidal ideation. Heterogeneity of the data, especially related to definitions of subthreshold depression limit our ability to conduct meta-analysis. The high prevalence and associated adverse health outcomes of late-life subthreshold depression indicate the major public health significance of this condition and suggest a need for further research on its neurobiology and treatment. Such efforts could potentially lead to prevention of considerable morbidity for the growing number of older adults.
    Journal of affective disorders 10/2010; 129(1-3):126-42. · 3.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The authors hypothesized that age would moderate the response of patients with schizophrenia and subsyndromal depression (SSD) treated citalopram with depressive symptoms and other outcomes. Also, older patients would exhibit more side effects with citalopram. Participants of 40 years or older had schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder with SSD. Patients randomly received flexible dosing of citalopram or placebo augmentation of their antipsychotic medication. Linear regression determined whether age had any moderating effect on depressive symptoms, global psychopathology, negative symptoms, mental functioning, and quality of life. Age-related side effects were examined. There were no significant drug group by age interaction in depressive or psychotic symptoms, mental Short Form-12, or quality of life scores. Similarly, there were few age-related side effect differences. Symptoms in younger and older patients with schizophrenia and SSD treated with citalopram seem to respond similarly. Adverse events do not seem to differ with age.
    The American journal of geriatric psychiatry: official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry 09/2010; 18(9):853-7. · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neurologists are increasingly faced with the daunting task of disentangling dementia from primary psychiatric conditions or recognizing their coexistence in older patients. Both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are characterized by substantial intergroup cognitive heterogeneity among older and younger patients. In schizophrenia, deficits in many cognitive domains are common; however, "rapid forgetting," loss of crystallized knowledge, and greater than age-normal declines in cognitive function are rare and warrant careful evaluation for secondary causes. The cognitive deficits associated with bipolar disorder tend be most severe during acute affective episodes, but some deficits tend to persist even during periods of relative euthymia. Lifetime number of affective episodes in bipolar disorder may adversely affect cognitive functions in bipolar disorder, but severe deficits and/or substantive declines over a period of a few years are unusual and warrant careful evaluation for secondary causes.
    CONTINUUM Lifelong Learning in Neurology 04/2010; 16(2 Dementia):135-52.
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    ABSTRACT: Wisdom has received increasing attention in empirical research in recent years, especially in gerontology and psychology, but consistent definitions of wisdom remain elusive. We sought to better characterize this concept via an expert consensus panel using a 2-phase Delphi method. A survey questionnaire comprised 53 Likert scale statements related to the concepts of wisdom, intelligence, and spirituality was developed to determine if and how wisdom was viewed as being distinct from the latter 2 concepts. Of the 57 international wisdom experts contacted by e-mail, 30 completed the Phase 1 survey and 27 also completed the Phase 2 survey. In Phase 1, there were significant group differences among the concepts of wisdom, intelligence, and spirituality on 49 of the 53 items rated by the experts. Wisdom differed from intelligence on 46 of these 49 items, whereas wisdom differed from spirituality on 31 items. In Phase 2, we sought to define wisdom further by selecting 12 items based on Phase 1 results. Most experts agreed on many of the suggested characteristics of wisdom-that is, it is uniquely human; a form of advanced cognitive and emotional development that is experience driven; and a personal quality, albeit a rare one, which can be learned, increases with age, can be measured, and is not likely to be enhanced by taking medication. There was considerable agreement among the expert participants on wisdom being a distinct entity and a number of its characteristic qualities. These data should help in designing additional empirical research on wisdom.
    The Gerontologist 03/2010; 50(5):668-80. · 2.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Subthreshold depression (StD) is common in older adults and is associated with poor self-rated health. However, the impact of StD on broader indicators of successful aging, such as positive psychological constructs, cognitive functioning, or quality of well-being, has not been assessed. The authors compared persons with scores above and below a predetermined threshold on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Scale for Depression (CES-D) with nondepressed (ND) persons on measures of multiple domains associated with successful aging. Cross-sectional survey-based psychological assessments. A total of 1,979 community-dwelling older women participating in the Women's Health Initiative study. ND was defined as a CES-D score below 8, StD as a score between 8 and 15, and CES-D Depression (CD) as a score of 16 or above. The study questionnaire consisted of multiple self-reported measures of positive psychological functioning (e.g., optimism and resilience), cognitive functioning and complaints, and quality of well-being. The authors also obtained a history of diagnosis, treatment, and hospitalization related to mental health problems. Overall 20.2% of women met CES-D criteria for StD and 7% for CD. Women with StD had worse self-rated successful aging, worse physical and emotional functioning, lower optimism, more negative attitudes toward aging, lower personal mastery and self-efficacy, and greater anxiety and hostility than ND women but scored better on all these measures than women with CD. Subjects with StD also had higher self-reported rates of previous diagnosis, treatment, and hospitalization for mental health problems than the ND group. Subjects with StD with depressed mood and/or anhedonia were largely similar to those without these symptoms. Mild-moderate levels of depressive symptoms that likely fall under a general category of StD were common and were associated with worse functioning on virtually every component of successful aging that the authors examined. StD represents a clinical entity that may affect the longitudinal course of successful aging for large numbers of persons and is a potential target for clinical intervention.
    The American journal of geriatric psychiatry: official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry 03/2010; 18(3):212-20. · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    Thomas W Meeks, Dilip V Jeste
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    ABSTRACT: Wisdom is a unique psychological trait noted since antiquity, long discussed in humanities disciplines, recently operationalized by psychology and sociology researchers, but largely unexamined in psychiatry or biology. To discuss recent neurobiological studies related to subcomponents of wisdom identified from several published definitions/descriptions of wisdom by clinical investigators in the field, ie, prosocial attitudes/behaviors, social decision making/pragmatic knowledge of life, emotional homeostasis, reflection/self-understanding, value relativism/tolerance, and acknowledgment of and dealing effectively with uncertainty. Literature focusing primarily on neuroimaging/brain localization and secondarily on neurotransmitters, including their genetic determinants. Studies involving functional neuroimaging or neurotransmitter functioning, examining human (rather than animal) subjects, and identified via a PubMed search using keywords from any of the 6 proposed subcomponents of wisdom were included. Studies were reviewed by both of us, and data considered to be potentially relevant to the neurobiology of wisdom were extracted. Functional neuroimaging permits exploration of neural correlates of complex psychological attributes such as those proposed to comprise wisdom. The prefrontal cortex figures prominently in several wisdom subcomponents (eg, emotional regulation, decision making, value relativism), primarily via top-down regulation of limbic and striatal regions. The lateral prefrontal cortex facilitates calculated, reason-based decision making, whereas the medial prefrontal cortex is implicated in emotional valence and prosocial attitudes/behaviors. Reward neurocircuitry (ventral striatum, nucleus accumbens) also appears important for promoting prosocial attitudes/behaviors. Monoaminergic activity (especially dopaminergic and serotonergic), influenced by several genetic polymorphisms, is critical to certain subcomponents of wisdom such as emotional regulation (including impulse control), decision making, and prosocial behaviors. We have proposed a speculative model of the neurobiology of wisdom involving frontostriatal and frontolimbic circuits and monoaminergic pathways. Wisdom may involve optimal balance between functions of phylogenetically more primitive brain regions (limbic system) and newer ones (prefrontal cortex). Limitations of the putative model are stressed. It is hoped that this review will stimulate further research in characterization, assessment, neurobiology, and interventions related to wisdom.
    Archives of general psychiatry 05/2009; 66(4):355-65. · 12.26 Impact Factor
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    Thomas W Meeks, Dilip V Jeste
    Current psychiatry 07/2008; 7(6):50-65.
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    ABSTRACT: We examined whether chronic pain among depressed geriatric inpatients was associated with several clinical variables-comorbid psychiatric and medical diagnoses, length of hospitalization, suicidal ideation, and sleep duration. Medical charts of inpatients admitted to a geriatric psychiatry unit over 2 years were examined retrospectively; 148 patients with a depressive disorder were identified. Admission pain assessments were used to classify whether patients had chronic pain. Other variables of interest were collected from charts. 62% of patients reported chronic pain. In multivariate regression analysis, depressed older adults with chronic pain were more likely to report suicidal ideation, be diagnosed with personality disorder, have higher medical burden, and experience decreased total sleep time compared to depressed older adults without chronic pain. Chronic pain--common in depressed older adults--may influence clinical features of depression and should be assessed as a possible suicide risk factor. Prospective studies should examine causal relationships and determine the effects of adequate pain treatment on depression course and suicide risk in older adults.
    International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 07/2008; 23(6):637-42. · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Depression in older adults is often associated with cognitive abnormalities and may predict later development of a primary cognitive disorder. This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study was designed to assess the safety and efficacy of galantamine augmentation of antidepressant treatment for depressive and cognitive symptoms in older adults with major depression. Thirty-eight, non-demented older adults (age >50) with major depression were randomized to receive galantamine or placebo augmentation of standard antidepressant pharmacotherapy (venlafaxine XR or citalopram). Mood and cognitive status were monitored for 24 weeks using the 24-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status. Both groups showed significant improvements in mood and cognition over 24 weeks, but no significant difference was found in change over time between groups. An exploratory post-hoc analysis suggested that patients randomized to galantamine had lower depression scores compared to patients in the placebo group after 2 weeks of treatment. Dropout was high with more subjects randomized to antidepressant plus galantamine withdrawing early from the study. This pilot study failed to demonstrate a benefit for galantamine augmentation of antidepressant medication in the treatment of depression in older adults. Future studies should explore strategies for reducing dropout in such longitudinal trials and more carefully assess time to response with cholinesterase inhibitor augmentation.
    International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 06/2008; 23(6):625-31. · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In elderly persons, antipsychotic drugs are clinically prescribed off-label for a number of disorders outside of their Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved indications (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). The largest number of antipsychotic prescriptions in older adults is for behavioral disturbances associated with dementia. In April 2005, the FDA, based on a meta-analysis of 17 double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trials among elderly people with dementia, determined that atypical antipsychotics were associated with a significantly (1.6-1.7 times) greater mortality risk compared with placebo, and asked that drug manufacturers add a 'black box' warning to prescribing information for these drugs. Most deaths were due to either cardiac or infectious causes, the two most common immediate causes of death in dementia in general. Clinicians, patients, and caregivers are left with unclear choices of treatment for dementia patients with psychosis and/or severe agitation. Not only are psychosis and agitation common in persons with dementia but they also frequently cause considerable caregiver distress and hasten institutionalization of patients. At the same time, there is a paucity of evidence-based treatment alternatives to antipsychotics for this population. Thus, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that psychotropics other than antipsychotics represent an overall effective and safe, let alone better, treatment choice for psychosis or agitation in dementia; currently no such treatment has been approved by the FDA for these symptoms. Similarly, the data on the efficacy of specific psychosocial treatments in patients with dementia are limited and inconclusive. The goal of this White Paper is to review relevant issues and make clinical and research recommendations regarding the treatment of elderly dementia patients with psychosis and/or agitation. The role of shared decision making and caution in using pharmacotherapy for these patients is stressed.
    Neuropsychopharmacology 05/2008; 33(5):957-70. · 8.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Limitations of printed, text-based, consent forms have long been documented and may be particularly problematic for persons at risk for impaired decision-making capacity, such as those with schizophrenia. We conducted a randomized controlled comparison of the effectiveness of a multimedia vs routine consent procedure (augmented with a 10-minute control video presentation) as a means of enhancing comprehension among 128 middle-aged and older persons with schizophrenia and 60 healthy comparison subjects. The primary outcome measure was manifest decisional capacity (understanding, appreciation, reasoning, and expression of choice) for participation in a (hypothetical) clinical drug trial, as measured with the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Clinical Research (MacCAT-CR) and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Brief Assessment for Capacity to Consent (UBACC). The MacCAT-CR and UBACC were administered by research assistants kept blind to consent condition. Additional assessments included standardized measures of psychopathology and cognitive functioning. Relative to patients in the routine consent condition, schizophrenia patients receiving multimedia consent had significantly better scores on the UBACC and on the MacCAT-CR understanding and expression of choice subscales and were significantly more likely to be categorized as being capable to consent than those in the routine consent condition (as categorized with several previously established criteria). Among the healthy subjects, there were few significant effects of consent condition. These findings suggest that multimedia consent procedures may be a valuable consent aid that should be considered for use when enrolling participants at risk for impaired decisional capacity, particularly for complex and/or high-risk research protocols.
    Schizophrenia Bulletin 02/2008; 35(4):719-29. · 8.80 Impact Factor
  • Dilip V Jeste, Thomas Meeks
    Southern Medical Journal 11/2007; 100(10):961-3. · 0.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We reviewed randomized controlled trials of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments for depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance in nondemented older adults. We searched PubMed (1966-September 2006) and PsycINFO (1984-September 2006) databases using combinations of terms including depression, anxiety, and sleep; older adult/elderly; randomized controlled trial; and a list of 56 terms related to CAM. Of the 855 studies identified by database searches, 29 met our inclusion criteria: sample size >or= 30, treatment duration >or= 2 weeks, and publication in English. Four additional articles from manual bibliography searches met inclusion criteria, totaling 33 studies. We reviewed identified articles for methodological quality using a modified Scale for Assessing Scientific Quality of Investigations (SASQI). We categorized a study as positive if the CAM therapy proved significantly more effective than an inactive control (or as effective as active control) on at least 1 primary psychological outcome. Positive and negative studies were compared on the following characteristics: CAM treatment category, symptom(s) assessed, country where the study was conducted, sample size, treatment duration, and mean sample age. 67% of the 33 studies reviewed were positive. Positive studies had lower SASQI scores for methodology than negative studies. Mind-body and body-based therapies had somewhat higher rates of positive results than energy- or biologically-based therapies. Most studies had substantial methodological limitations. A few well-conducted studies suggested therapeutic potential for certain CAM interventions in older adults (e.g., mind-body interventions for sleep disturbances and acupressure for sleep and anxiety). More rigorous research is needed, and suggestions for future research are summarized.
    The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 10/2007; 68(10):1461-71. · 5.81 Impact Factor