Hirbod Psychiatry Clinic
Recent publications
Recent meta-analyses reveal a moderate effect of physical activity (PA) in the treatment of adolescent depression. However, not only the underlying neurobiological mechanisms, also the influences of placebo-related motivational factors (beliefs and expectancies in sporting, enjoyment and prior sports experiences), are still unclear. Based on the data of our prior study “Mood Vibes”, we hypothesized that placebo-inherent factors like positive prior sports experiences and motivational factors, (positive beliefs, expectancies, and enjoyment related to PA), would increase the effects of an add-on exercise-therapy in juvenile depression. From 64 included depressed adolescents, 41 underwent an intensive add-on PA-therapy. Motivational factors were assessed using sport-specific scales. The changes in depression scores under treatment were rated by self-rating scale (German “Childhood Depression Inventory”, (DIKJ)). A mixed model for repeated measures (MMRM) was used to analyze the effects of the different motivational variates on DIKJ. While prior sports experiences had no impact, motivational factors showed a significant effect on PA-induced changes in DIKJ scores (p = 0.002). The demotivated participants improved less, whereas it was sufficient to be neutral towards sporting to benefit significantly more. Motivational placebo-related factors (beliefs, expectancies and enjoyment regarding PA) affected the outcomes of an exercise treatment in depressed adolescents. Yet, a neutral mindset was sufficient to profit more from PA. Prior sporting in the sense of positive conditioning and as a protective factor did not play a role. Knowledge about these influences could in a second step help to develop tailored therapies.
Stress plays an important role in the causation and aggravation of psychodermatological conditions such as acne vulgaris. Alpha casein hydrolysate (αs1-casein hydrolysate; Lactium) has been shown to decrease serum cortisol levels, reduce stress-related symptoms, and promote relaxation. “This study aimed to compare the efficacy and safety of Lactium™ plus standard care to those of standard of care alone in reducing stress levels and acne severity in patients with acne vulgaris.” The C.E.R.T.A.I.N trial (Name registered with Clinical Trials Registry-India-No. CTRI/2019/01/017172) is a randomized, controlled, multicenter, open-label, two-arm, investigator-initiated clinical trial. A total of 100 patients with moderate-to-severe acne vulgaris were enrolled and randomly assigned to one of the two groups: Lactium™ plus standard care or standard care alone. Stress levels were assessed using serum cortisol levels, Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA) acne severity scale scores, Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) scores, and the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) scores. The Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) was also used to assess the impact of the skin disease on patients’ quality of life. At 12 weeks, stress levels were significantly lower in group A (Nixiyax plus standard of care) than that in group B(only standard care), as measured by the change in serum cortisol levels (4.75 ± 4.46 vs. −0.24 ± 5.22). Furthermore, the mean change in PSS scores (3.09 ± 2.04 vs. 0.90 ± 2.76) and HAM-A scores (5.11 ± 1.94 vs. 1.25 ± 3.13) was significant. Patients in both arms had a significant decrease in total, inflammatory, and noninflammatory acne lesions, as well as a significant improvement in DLQI and IGA scores. In patients with moderate-to-severe acne vulgaris, Lactium™ was found to be both safe and well-tolerated. Lactium™ plus standard care is more effective than standard care alone in reducing acne severity through stress reduction.
This study followed up ADHD/autistic symptoms and attentional performance in children/adolescents with ASD and typically developing ones (TD) over 5–7 years. The participants were stratified by age at baseline into child (< 12 years) and adolescent (12–19 years) groups. ADHD symptoms, especially hyperactivity, and attentional functions significantly improved during follow-up, more in children than in adolescents, in both ASD and TD. Significantly more omission errors and perseverations were noted in ASD than TD through the follow-up. Children with ASD had more improvement in reaction time while adolescents with ASD had less improvement in commission errors and detectability than TD. No correlation of attentional functions and ADHD symptoms in ASD implied different neural mechanisms of ADHD symptoms between ASD and ADHD.
This study aimed to analyze treatment guidelines of 12 SEE countries to identify non-pharmacological interventions recommended for schizophrenia, explore the evidence base supporting recommendations, and assess the implementation of recommended interventions. Desk and content analysis were employed to analyze the guidelines. Experts were surveyed across the 12 countries to assess availability of non-pharmacological treatments in leading mental health institutions, staff training, and inclusion in the official service price list. Most SEE countries have published treatment guidelines for schizophrenia focused on pharmacotherapy. Nine countries—Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia—included non-pharmacological interventions. The remaining three countries—Kosovo (UN Resolution), Romania, and Slovenia—have not published such treatment guidelines, however they are on offer in leading institutions. The median number of recommended interventions was seven (range 5–11). Family therapy and psychoeducation were recommended in most treatment guidelines. The majority of recommended interventions have a negative or mixed randomized controlled trial evidence base. A small proportion of leading mental health institutions includes these interventions in their official service price list. The interventions recommended in the treatment guidelines seem to be rarely implemented within mental health services in the SEE countries.
Background Nicotine dependence (ND) is characterized by regular smoking, anxiety, irritation, difficulty concentrating, impatience, restlessness, tremor, dizziness, hunger, nicotine demand, and the individual’s reluctance to quit despite knowing the health risks of smoking. Recently, it has been reported that the Neuregulin 3 (NRG3)/Erb-B2 receptor tyrosine kinase 4 (ERBB4) signaling pathway plays a role in ND. NRG3, which is activated after nicotine intake, binds to ERBB4 and causes GABA release. GABA reduces anxiety and tension, which are one of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Therefore we aimed to investigate the relationship between NRG3 and ERBB4 gene polymorphisms and ND. Materials and methods The study population was comprised of patients with ND (n = 200) and healthy non-smoker control subjects (n = 200) who were matched for age, sex, and compared for comorbidity factors such as alcohol, smoking, duration, and education (age range 18–60). Genotypes were detected by Real-Time PCR using TaqMan technology. The Fagerström Nicotine Dependence Test (FTND) score was 5 and above for the patient group and 0 for the control group. DNA was obtained from whole peripheral blood and six polymorphisms of Neuregulin 3 (NRG3) (rs1836724, rs7562566, and rs10048757) and Erb-B2 Receptor Tyrosine Kinase 4 (ERBB4) (rs1764072, rs6584400, and rs10883934) genes were analyzed by real-time PCR method. Results Our findings show that the six selected SNPs are not significantly associated with ND in the Turkish population and no correlation with dependence levels (p > 0.05). Conclusion Although our findings do not show a relationship between ND and these polymorphisms, it is the first study to investigate these single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for the first time in ND and to find some genotypes in the Turkish population when compared to other populations. Also, our findings are important in terms of their contribution to the literature and forensic genetics.
Background Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and feeding and eating disorders (FEDs) such as anorexia nervosa (AN) are strongly linked as evidenced by frequent comorbidity and overlapping traits. However, eating and social behaviors are shaped by culture, so it is critical to examine these associations in different populations. Moreover, FEDs are heterogeneous, and there has been no examination of autistic traits in avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). Methods Therefore, we investigated the prevalence of ASD and autistic traits among Japanese children with AN ( n = 92) or ARFID ( n = 32) from a prospective multicenter cohort study using the Autism Spectrum Quotient Children’s version (AQC) and Children’s Eating Attitudes Test (ChEAT26). Results ASD prevalence was high in both AN and ARFID (16.3 and 12.5%, respectively). The AN group exhibited significantly higher scores on all AQC subscales than an age-matched healthy control (HC) group, but there were no significant correlations between AQC scores and ChEAT26 scores. In the AFRID group, AQC scores did not differ from HCs, but significant correlations were found between total AQC and ChEAT26 scores and between several AQC and ChEAT26 subscales. Conclusions Both the AN and ARFID groups had high prevalence rates of ASD. The AN group showed a significantly higher degree of autistic traits than the HC group; however, no difference was found between the ARFID and HC groups. Clinicians need to be aware of these rates when working with children with ED.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system with higher prevalence in elderly people. Despite numerous research studies, the etiopathogenesis of AD remains unclear. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are endopeptidases involved in the cleavage of extracellular matrix proteins and basement membrane compounds. In the brain, the pathological role of MMPs includes the disruption of the blood-brain barrier leading to the induction of neuroinflammation. Among various MMPs, MMP-2 and MMP-3 belong to candidate molecules related to AD pathology. In our study, we aimed to evaluate the association of MMP2 rs243865 and MMP3 rs3025058 polymorphisms with AD susceptibility and their influence on age at onset and MoCA score in patients from Slovakia. Both MMP gene promoter polymorphisms were genotyped in 171 AD patients and 308 controls by the PCR-RFLP method. No statistically significant differences in the distribution of MMP2 rs243865 (-1306 C>T) and MMP3 rs3025058 (-1171 5A>6A) alleles/genotypes were found between AD patients and the control group. However, correlation with clinical findings revealed later age at disease onset in MMP2 rs243865 CC carriers in the dominant model as compared to T allele carriers (CC vs. CT+TT: 78.44±6.28 vs. 76.36±6.39, p=0.036). The results of MMP3 rs3025058 analysis revealed that 5A/6A carriers in the overdominant model tended to have earlier age at disease onset as compared to other MMP3 genotype carriers (5A/6A vs. 5A/5A+6A/6A: 76.61±5.88 vs. 78.57±6.79, p=0.045). In conclusion, our results suggest that MMP2 rs243865 and MMP3 rs3025058 promoter polymorphisms may have influence on age at onset in AD patients.
This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of two different cognitive-behavioural therapy programs in patients with schizophrenia and clarify which techniques are more effective on psychotic symptoms. With this purpose, 39 schizophrenia outpatients—assessed by independent assessors using Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms, Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms and by researchers using Psychotic Symptoms Rating Scales-were randomly assigned to routine care (RC), RC plus COPE-CBT or RC plus CBT groups. The repeated measures ANOVA results show that there was a significant reduction in the severity and frequency of hallucinations in CBT group and delusions in COPE-CBT group. Both CBT programs were found to be superior to RC group on some measures at post-treatment, as well as 3 months follow-up.
Severe health anxiety (SHA)/hypochondriasis (HY) is often associated with personality pathology; however, studies report inconsistent results. In general populations, 12% have a personality disorder (PD). We assessed physician-referred psychiatric outpatients with SHA enrolled for a treatment study (n = 84) with the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) axis II (SCID-II), Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5), Whiteley Index 7, and Short Health Anxiety Inventory, and the healthy controls (n = 84) with PID-5 only. There were 71.4% of the patients who met criteria for PDs: avoidant (22.6%), obsessive-compulsive (16.7%), depressive (16.7%), dependent (7.1%), paranoid (3.6%), borderline (2.4%), and not otherwise specified (32.1%). Severity of personality pathology was associated with severity of health anxiety. In group comparisons, PID-5 trait domains of negative affectivity, detachment, low antagonism, and low disinhibition, and facets of anxiousness, separation insecurity, and low attention seeking emerged as unique predictors of SHA. Personality pathology is common among individuals with SHA/HY. Further research is needed to understand the nature of the relationship between health anxiety and personality pathology and to determine whether treatments that target both SHA/HY and personality pathology will improve short- and long-term outcomes.
The present paper looks at the influence of culture on Turkish cancer patients’ use of meaning-making coping, paying particular attention to religious, spiritual, and existential coping methods. Data were collected using an interview study (n = 25, 18 women, age range 20–71). Individuals were recruited at an oncology center and a psychiatry clinic in Istanbul. The main focus of the study has been on existential meaning-making coping, which is characterized by finding power inside oneself, altruism, family love, a search for meaning by contemplating philosophical issues, and having a positive life perspective (shukran—thankfulness). In contrast to findings from similar studies conducted in other countries (studies included in the same project), in Turkey religious belief directly determines the coping methods used, including the non-religious methods.
Schizophrenia is a heritable complex phenotype associated with a background risk involving multiple common genetic variants of small effect and a multitude of environmental exposures. Early twin and family studies using proxy‐genetic liability measures suggest gene‐environment interaction in the etiology of schizophrenia spectrum disorders, but the molecular evidence is scarce. Here, by analyzing the main and joint associations of polygenic risk score for schizophrenia (PRS‐SCZ) and environmental exposures in 1,699 patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia spectrum disorders and 1,542 unrelated controls with no lifetime history of a diagnosis of those disorders, we provide further evidence for gene‐environment interaction in schizophrenia. Evidence was found for additive interaction of molecular genetic risk state for schizophrenia (binary mode of PRS‐SCZ above 75% of the control distribution) with the presence of lifetime regular cannabis use and exposure to early‐life adversities (sexual abuse, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, and bullying), but not with the presence of hearing impairment, season of birth (winter birth), and exposure to physical abuse or physical neglect in childhood. The sensitivity analyses replacing the a priori PRS‐SCZ at 75% with alternative cut‐points (50% and 25%) confirmed the additive interaction. Our results suggest that the etiopathogenesis of schizophrenia involves genetic underpinnings that act by making individuals more sensitive to the effects of some environmental exposures.
Background The lowering of the age of onset and chronicity have been key problems related to eating disorders (EDs). As the proportion of teens in the estimated onset ages has increased, it has become important to detect students with EDs and to clarify how they can be supported. Though epidemiological surveys of Yogo teachers (school nurse/health science teachers) have been conducted to inquire about the number of such students, none of these were done according to ED type based on DSM-5. Thus, we conducted a wide area survey in Japan with the goal of proposing a better framework of support for Yogo teachers in their efforts to care for students with EDs. Methods A questionnaire survey organized by ED type (based on DSM-5) was administered to Yogo teachers working at elementary/junior high/senior high/special needs schools in four prefectures of Japan in 2015, and 1,886 responses were obtained. Based on the results, the encounter rates (the proportion of Yogo teachers who had encountered a student with an ED) were calculated, and factors that could affect the rates were examined by logistic regression analysis. Results The order of the encounter rates of the ED types was as follows: Anorexia Nervosa (AN) > Bulimia Nervosa (BN) > Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) > Binge Eating Disorder (BED) > Others. The factors significantly affecting the rates were “location, school type, number of students, experience years, and AN knowledge” for AN, “school type, experience years, and BN knowledge” for BN, “school type, experience years, and BED knowledge” for BED, “location, experience years, and ARFID knowledge” for ARFID, and “school type, experience years, and Others knowledge” for Others. Conclusions Because the encounter rate of AN was the highest, providing support for AN would be the most effective. Moreover, one factor that affected the encounter rate of all ED types was ED knowledge. In addition to this, senior high schools had the highest encounter rates for AN, BN and BED, and special needs schools had the highest rates for Others. These findings imply that, in order to detect and support ED students at an early stage, it is necessary to offer knowledge of the most prevalent ED types to Yogo teachers at the corresponding school type.
Current studies show that individuals who were in foster or institutional care experience higher rates of physical and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. Children in foster care have a higher probability of having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and deficits in executive functioning, anxiety as well other developmental problems. These children experience higher degrees of incarceration, poverty, homelessness, and suicide. Recent studies show alarming occurrence of trauma and high stress load in children in institutional but as well as foster care.We have conducted an extensive study (n = 360) monitoring occurrence of trauma in history of children in foster care (n = 120), in institutional care (n = 120) and in functional biological families (n = 120). We have also evaluated levels of social emotional development and occurrence of child psychopathology.The results of the presented study showed that children in institutional and foster care show substantially higher occurrence of trauma in their history, higher incidence of reactive psychopathology (i.e. depression) and their level of social emotional development is substantially lower comparing to children from functional biological families (p < 0.01).The study proposes that children in foster and institutional care require substantiv psychosocial support and attention. Supported by the Research Grant GK MPSV-01-202.
Clinical observations stemming from widespread employment of restorative L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) therapy for management of dyskinesia in Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients implicate a regulatory role for endogenous morphine in central nervous system dopamine neurotransmission. Reciprocally, it appears that restorative L-DOPA administration has provided us with a compelling in vivo pharmacological model for targeting peripheral sites involved in endogenous morphine expression in human subjects. The biological activities underlying endogenous morphine expression and its interaction with its major precursor dopamine strongly suggest that endogenous morphine systems are reciprocally dysregulated in PD. These critical issues are examined from historical and current perspectives within our short review.
Major thematic threads linking extensive preclinical and clinical efforts have established a working mechanistic scheme whereby atypical antipsychotic drugs ameliorate negative DSM IV diagnostic criteria by effecting relatively potent blockade of serotonin (5-HT)(2A) receptors coupled with weaker antagonism of dopamine D(2) receptors in frontal cortical areas. These contentions are more or less supported by in vitro binding experiments employing cloned receptors on cultured cells, although significant functional involvement of 5-HT(2C) receptors has also been proposed. It is interesting that a key statistical analysis indicates a major shift in usage back to typical antipsychotic agents for management of schizophrenia from 1995-2008, whereas off-label usage of atypical antipsychotic agents was markedly increased or expanded for bipolar affective disorder. Importantly, meta-analyses generally did not support efficacy differences between the other atypical antipsychotics compared with the older typical agents. A critical examination of putative functional linkages of morphine and its type-selective mu opioid receptor to higher order cortical regulation of cognitive processes may provide novel insights into human behavioral processes that are severely impaired in schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
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Head of institution
Dr. Arash Hirbod