[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives To investigate the association between repeated measures of affective symptoms collected over 2 decades and hypertension (clinically ascertained or self-report); to test whether, among people with hypertension, affective symptoms are associated with awareness of hypertension, and to evaluate the longitudinal effects of the label of hypertension on affective symptoms.
Methods Multivariable logistic regression, accounting for confounders and mediators, were used to test the aforementioned associations in 1683 participants from a national British cohort.
Results Weak evidence of a cumulative impact of affective symptoms across adulthood on self-reported hypertension at age 60–64 years was observed (OR 1.40 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.78) and 1.19 (0.79 to 1.80) for symptoms at 1–2 time points and at 3–4 time points vs no symptoms, respectively). Study members with affective symptoms in recent times were more likely to have self-reported hypertension at age 60–64 years than those without symptoms (OR 1.47 (1.10 to 1.96)). Similar results were observed for awareness of hypertension (OR 2.00 (1.30 to 3.06)). Conversely, no associations were found with clinically ascertained hypertension. The act of labelling someone as hypertensive at age 53 years was associated with affective symptoms at age 60–64 years, independently of antihypertensive treatment and affective symptoms at the time of the diagnosis (OR 2.40 (1.32 to 4.36)).
Conclusions Our findings suggest that elevated risk of hypertension in participants with affective symptoms might be explained by awareness of hypertension and by exposure to medical attention, though not by a direct effect of affective symptoms on blood pressure. Conversely, long-term psychological consequences of the label of hypertension are observed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While contemporary models of psychosis have proposed a number of putative psychological mechanisms, how these impact on individuals to increase intensity of psychotic experiences in real life, outside the research laboratory, remains unclear. We aimed to investigate whether elevated stress sensitivity, experiences of aberrant novelty and salience, and enhanced anticipation of threat contribute to the development of psychotic experiences in daily life. We used the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to assess stress, negative affect, aberrant salience, threat anticipation, and psychotic experiences in 51 individuals with First-Episode Psychosis (FEP), 46 individuals with an At-Risk Mental State (ARMS) for psychosis, and 53 controls with no personal or family history of psychosis. Linear mixed models were used to account for the multilevel structure of ESM data. In all three groups, elevated stress sensitivity, aberrant salience, and enhanced threat anticipation were associated with an increased intensity of psychotic experiences. However, elevated sensitivity to minor stressful events (χ2=6.3, p=0.044), activities (χ2=6.7, p=0.036), and areas (χ2=9.4, p=0.009) and enhanced threat anticipation (χ2=9.3, p=0.009) were associated with more intense psychotic experiences in FEP individuals than controls. Sensitivity to outsider status (χ2=5.7, p=0.058) and aberrantly salient experiences (χ2=12.3, p=0.002) were more strongly associated with psychotic experiences in ARMS individuals than controls. Our findings suggest that stress sensitivity, aberrant salience, and threat anticipation are important psychological processes in the development of psychotic experiences in daily life in the early stages of the disorder.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · Schizophrenia Bulletin
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives Somatic symptoms are common in depressive disorder and are similar to sickness behaviors due to inflammatory activation after cytokine administration. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are natural anti-inflammatory agents and may reduce inflammation-induced behavioral changes. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of PUFAs on the development of somatic symptoms and depression in patients of hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) receiving interferon-alpha therapy (IFN-α) in a prospective manner. Methods In this 24-week, prospective cohort study, 43 patients with chronic HCV ongoing IFN-α therapy were assessed with the mini-international neuropsychiatric interview for major depressive episodes and neurotoxicity rating scale (NRS) for somatic symptoms. Results One-third later developed IFN-α-induced depression (depression (DEP) group). As compared to subjects without depression, DEP group had higher NRS scores (P < 0.001), lower eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) levels (P = 0.038) at week 2. Somatic symptoms, regardless of painful/non-painful characteristics, had positive association with arachidonic acid (P < 0.05), and negative association with EPA (P < 0.05). Conclusion This study implies that early intervention with omega-3 PUFAs might be a promising strategy to prevent depression and somatic symptoms in patients receiving cytokine therapy.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Nutritional Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
The use of cannabis with higher ��9-tetrahydrocannabinol content has been associated with greater risk, and earlier onset, of psychosis. However, the effect of cannabis potency on brain morphology has never been explored. Here, we investigated whether cannabis potency and pattern of use are associated with changes in corpus callosum (CC) microstructural organization, in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) and individuals without psychosis, cannabis users and non-users. Method The CC of 56 FEP (37 cannabis users) and 43 individuals without psychosis (22 cannabis users) was virtually dissected and segmented using diffusion tensor imaging tractography. The diffusion index of fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity was calculated for each segment.
Across the whole sample, users of high-potency cannabis had higher total CC MD and higher total CC AD than both low-potency users and those who never used (p = 0.005 and p = 0.004, respectively). Daily users also had higher total CC MD and higher total CC AD than both occasional users and those who never used (p = 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively). However, there was no effect of group (patient/individuals without psychosis) or group x potency interaction for either potency or frequency of use. The within-group analysis showed in fact that the effects of potency and frequency were similar in FEP users and in users without psychosis.
Frequent use of high-potency cannabis is associated with disturbed callosal microstructural organization in individuals with and without psychosis. Since high-potency preparations are now replacing traditional herbal drugs in many European countries, raising awareness about the risks of high-potency cannabis is crucial.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Psychological Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to disentangle pervasive from situational antisocial behaviors using multiple informants, and to investigate their genetic and environmental etiologies in preadolescence and across time. Antisocial behaviors were assessed in 2,232 twins from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study at ages 5 and 12. Pervasive antisocial behaviors were defined as behaviors that mothers, teachers, interviewers, and twins themselves agreed on. Results from a psychometric model indicated that the variation in children's pervasive antisocial behaviors was mostly accounted for by familial influences that originated in childhood, whereas situational behaviors were explained by newly emerging nonshared environmental and genetic influences. This study shows that children's pervasive and situational antisocial behaviors have distinct etiologies that could guide research and treatment.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Child Development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
To provide a quantitative and qualitative synthesis of the available evidence on the role of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis in the pathophysiology of Bipolar Disorder (BD).
Meta-analysis and meta-regression of case-control studies examining the levels of cortisol, ACTH, CRH levels. Systematic review of stress reactivity, genetic, molecular and neuroimaging studies related to HPA axis activity in BD.
Forty-one studies were included in the meta-analyses. BD was associated with significantly increased levels of cortisol (basal and post-dexamethasone) and ACTH, but not of CRH. In the meta-regression, case-control differences in cortisol levels were positively associated with the manic phase (p=0.005) and participants' age (p=0.08), and negatively with antipsychotics use (p=0.001). Reviewed studies suggest that BD is associated with abnormalities of stress-related molecular pathways in several brain areas. Variants of HPA axis-related genes seem not associated with a direct risk of developing BD, but with different clinical presentations. Also, studies on unaffected relatives suggest that HPA axis dysregulation is not an endophenotype of BD, but seems related to environmental risk factors, such as childhood trauma. Progressive HPA axis dysfunction is a putative mechanism that might underlie the clinical and cognitive deterioration of patients with BD.
BD is associated with dysfunction of HPA axis activity, with important pathophysiological implications. Targeting HPA axis dysfunctions might be a novel strategy to improve the outcomes of BD.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Psychoneuroendocrinology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents multilevel findings on adolescents' victimization exposure from a large longitudinal cohort of twins. Data were obtained from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, an epidemiological study of 2,232 children (1,116 twin pairs) followed to 18 years of age (with 93% retention). To assess adolescent victimization, we combined best practices in survey research on victimization with optimal approaches to measuring life stress and traumatic experiences, and introduce a reliable system for coding severity of victimization. One in three children experienced at least one type of severe victimization during adolescence (crime victimization, peer/sibling victimization, Internet/mobile phone victimization, sexual victimization, family violence, maltreatment, or neglect), and most types of victimization were more prevalent among children from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Exposure to multiple victimization types was common, as was revictimization; over half of those physically maltreated in childhood were also exposed to severe physical violence in adolescence. Biometric twin analyses revealed that environmental factors had the greatest influence on most types of victimization, while severe physical maltreatment from caregivers during adolescence was predominantly influenced by heritable factors. The findings from this study showcase how distinct levels of victimization measurement can be harmonized in large-scale studies of health and development.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Development and Psychopathology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Pregnancy is a time of increased vulnerability for the development of anxiety and depression. This systematic review aims to identify the main risk factors involved in the onset of antenatal anxiety and depression.
A systematic literature analysis was conducted, using PubMed, PsychINFO, and the Cochrane Library. Original papers were included if they were written in English and published between 1st January 2003 and 31st August 2015, while literature reviews and meta-analyses were consulted regardless of publication date. A final number of 97 papers were selected.
The most relevant factors associated with antenatal depression or anxiety were: lack of partner or of social support; history of abuse or of domestic violence; personal history of mental illness; unplanned or unwanted pregnancy; adverse events in life and high perceived stress; present/past pregnancy complications; and pregnancy loss.
The review does not include a meta-analysis, which may have added additional information about the differential impact of each risk factor. Moreover, it does not specifically examine factors that may influence different types of anxiety disorders, or the recurrence or persistence of depression or anxiety from pregnancy to the postpartum period.
The results show the complex aetiology of antenatal depression and anxiety. The administration of a screening tool to identify women at risk of anxiety and depression during pregnancy should be universal practice in order to promote the long-term wellbeing of mothers and babies, and the knowledge of specific risk factors may help creating such screening tool targeting women at higher risk.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Affective Disorders
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
The relationship between ethnic density and psychiatric disorder in postnatal women in the UK is unclear.AimsTo examine the effect of own and overall ethnic density on postnatal depression (PND) and personality dysfunction.Method
Multilevel analysis of ethnically mixed community-level data gathered from a sample of 2262 mothers screened at 6 weeks postpartum for PND and personality dysfunction.ResultsLiving in areas of higher own ethnic density was protective against screening positive for PND in White women (z = -3.18, P = 0.001), even after adjusting for area level deprivation, maternal age, relationship status, screening positive for personality dysfunction, parity and geographical clustering (odds ratio (OR) 0.98 (95% CI 0.96-0.99); P = 0.002), whereas the effect on personality dysfunction (z = -2.42, P = 0.016) was no longer present once the effect of PND was taken into account (OR = 0.99 (95% CI 0.90-1.0); P = 0.13). No overall ethnic density effect was found for women screening positive for PND or personality dysfunction.Conclusions
In White women, living in areas of higher own ethnic density was protective against developing PND.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · The British journal of psychiatry: the journal of mental science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
The endocannabinoid (eCB) system, an endogenous lipid signaling system, appears to be dysregulated in depression. The role of endocannabinoids (eCBs) as potent immunomodulators, together with the accumulating support for a chronic low-grade inflammatory profile in depression, suggests a compelling hypothesis for a fundamental impairment in their intercommunication, in depression.
We aim to review previous literature on individual associations between the immune and eCB systems and depression. It will focus on peripheral and central mechanisms of crosstalk between the eCB and immune systems. A potential dysregulation in this crosstalk will be discussed in the context of depression.
Investigations largely report a hypoactivity of the eCB system and increased inflammatory markers in individuals with depression. Findings depict a multifaceted communication whereby immunocompetent and eCB-related cells can both influence the suppression and enhancement of the other's activity in both the periphery and central nervous system. A dysregulation of the eCB system, as seen in depression, appears to be associated with central and peripheral concentrations of inflammatory agents implicated in the pathophysiology of this illness.
The eCB and immune systems have been individually associated with and implicated in pathogenic mechanisms of depression. Both systems tightly regulate the other's activity. As such, a dysregulation in this crosstalk has potential to influence the onset and maintenance of this neuropsychiatric illness. However, few studies have investigated both systems and depression conjointly. This review highlights the demand to consider joint eCB-immune interactions in the pathoetiology of depression.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Psychopharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Childhood psychotic symptoms are associated with increased rates of schizophrenia, other psychiatric disorders, and suicide attempts in adulthood; thus, elucidating early risk indicators is crucial to target prevention efforts. There is considerable discordance for psychotic symptoms between monozygotic twins, indicating that child-specific non-genetic factors must be involved. Epigenetic processes may constitute one of these factors and have not yet been investigated in relation to childhood psychotic symptoms. Therefore, this study explored whether differences in DNA methylation at age 10 were associated with monozygotic twin discordance for psychotic symptoms at age 12. The Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study cohort of 2,232 children (1,116 twin pairs) was assessed for age-12 psychotic symptoms and 24 monozygotic twin pairs discordant for symptoms were identified for methylomic comparison. Children provided buccal samples at ages 5 and 10. DNA was bisulfite modified and DNA methylation was quantified using the Infinium HumanMethylation450 array. Differentially methylated positions (DMPs) associated with psychotic symptoms were subsequently tested in post-mortem prefrontal cortex tissue from adult schizophrenia patients and age-matched controls. Site-specific DNA methylation differences were observed at age 10 between monozygotic twins discordant for age-12 psychotic symptoms. Similar DMPs were not found at age 5. The top-ranked psychosis-associated DMP (cg23933044), located in the promoter of the C5ORF42 gene, was also hypomethylated in post-mortem prefrontal cortex brain tissue from schizophrenia patients compared to unaffected controls. These data tentatively suggest that epigenetic variation in peripheral tissue is associated with childhood psychotic symptoms and may indicate susceptibility to schizophrenia and other mental health problems.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 2015 Named Series on "Psychological Risk Factors and Immune System Involvement in Cardiovascular Disease" was conceived with the idea of drawing attention to the interdisciplinary work aimed at investigating the relationships between the heart, metabolic system, brain, and mental health. In this commentary, we provide a brief overview of the manuscripts included in this Named Series and highlight how a better understanding of immune regulation will help us to move forward from the current "dualistic" perspective of the heart as separate from the mind to a more comprehensive understanding of the physiological links between cardiovascular and mental disorders. The manuscripts included in this Named Series range across a wide spectrum of topics, from understanding biological mechanisms explaining comorbidity between cardiovascular disease and psychiatric disorders to new insights into the dysregulation of inflammation associated with cardiovascular risk factors. Clearly, inflammation emerges as a cross-cutting theme across all studies. Data presented in this Series contribute to putting an end to an era in which the heart and the mind were considered to be separate entities in which the responses of one system did not affect the other.
No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Brain Behavior and Immunity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
The relationship between childhood adversity (CA) and psychotic disorder is well documented. As the adequacy of the current categorical diagnosis of psychosis is being increasingly questioned, we explored independent associations between different types of CA and specific psychotic symptom dimensions in a well-characterized sample of first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients.
This study involved 236 FEP cases aged 18-65 years who presented for the first time to psychiatric services in South London, UK. Psychopathology was assessed with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and confirmatory factor analysis was used to evaluate the statistical fit of the Wallwork/Fortgang five-factor model of psychosis. CA prior to 17 years of age (physical abuse, sexual abuse, parental separation, parental death, and being taken into care) was retrospectively assessed using the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse Questionnaire.
Childhood sexual abuse [β = 0.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.40-1.52], childhood physical abuse (β = 0.48, 95% CI 0.03-0.93) and parental separation (β = 0.60, 95% CI 0.10-1.11) showed significant associations with the positive dimension; while being taken into care was associated with the excited dimension (β = 0.36, 95% CI 0.08-0.65), independent of the other types of CA. No significant associations were found between parental death and any of the symptom dimensions.
A degree of specificity was found in the relationships between different types of CA and psychosis symptom dimensions in adulthood, suggesting that distinct pathways may be involved in the CA-psychosis association. These potentially different routes to developing psychosis merit further empirical and theoretical exploration.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Psychological Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Studies have shown that maternal depression during pregnancy predicts offspring depression in adolescence. Child maltreatment is also a risk factor for depression.
Aims: To investigate (a) whether there is an association between offspring exposure to maternal depression in pregnancy and depression in early adulthood, and (b) whether offspring child maltreatment mediates this association.
Method: Prospectively collected data on maternal clinical depression in pregnancy, offspring child maltreatment and offspring adulthood (18–25 years) DSM-IV depression were analysed in 103 mother–offspring dyads of the South London Child Development Study.
Results: Adult offspring exposed to maternal depression in pregnancy were 3.4 times more likely to have a DSM-IV depressive disorder, and 2.4 times more likely to have experienced child maltreatment, compared with non-exposed offspring. Path analysis revealed that offspring experience of child maltreatment mediated the association between exposure to maternal depression in pregnancy and depression in adulthood.
Conclusions: Maternal depression in pregnancy is a key vulnerability factor for offspring depression in early adulthood.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · The British Journal of Psychiatry