The latest medical research on Child And Adolescent Psychiatry

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Premorbid Sociality Moderates Social Adjustment Change during Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Adults with Early Schizophrenia.

Journal of Clinical Oncology

Cognitive remediation approaches for early course schizophrenia are promising interventions for improving social adjustment. Premorbid sociality is a potentially important moderator of social adjustment response to cognitive remediation and may serve to personalize such interventions.

Eighty-eight early course schizophrenia outpatients with premorbid sociality scores were included in this preliminary investigation. Secondary data came from a recent 18-month multi-site confirmatory trial of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) compared to Enriched Supportive Therapy (EST). Intent-to-treat mixed effects models examined the moderating effect of premorbid sociality assessed at baseline on differential social adjustment change between CET and EST assessed at baseline, 9, and 18 months.

Premorbid sociality significantly moderated the differential effect of CET vs. EST on overall social adjustment change at 18 months, such that CET was particularly effective for patients with high premorbid sociality and EST for low premorbid sociality. This significant group x time x premorbid sociality interaction was also observed for 18-month change in interpersonal anguish, self-care, and sexual relations. Again, CET was largely favorable for higher premorbid sociality patients and EST for lower premorbid sociality for these sub-scales.

The results provide initial evidence that premorbid sociality moderates differential social adjustment change during cognitive remediation in early course schizophrenia. In many, but not all cases, better social functioning prior to the development of schizophrenia was associated with a significantly better social adjustment response to CET. Data on social functioning during childhood and adolescence is possibly useful for personalizing treatment planning in the early course of schizophrenia.

Intestinal barrier integrity in anorexia nervosa (a pilot study).

Int J Eat

There is no conclusive evidence for involvement of intestinal barrier alteration in the etiology of anorexia nervosa (AN). The aims of this pilot study were to identify serum markers of intestinal barrier integrity in patients with AN and to determine the relationships between those markers and body mass index (BMI), eating disorder symptoms, gastrointestinal complaints, and liver synthesis function (international normalized ratio [INR]).

Twenty-five outpatients with AN prior to starting treatment and 28 healthy controls (HC) were assessed. BMI and serum markers of intestinal barrier integrity were measured, including zonulin family peptides (ZFP), lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP), and intestinal fatty-acid-binding protein (i-FABP). Eating disorder symptoms and gastrointestinal complaints were evaluated via questionnaires.

The serum ZFP concentration was significantly lower in patients with AN than in HC (44.2 [7.4] vs. 49.2 [5.6] ng/ml, mean [standard deviation], p = .008). LBP and i-FABP did not differ between the two groups. In patients with AN, serum ZFP was significantly predicted by BMI (β = 0.479, p = .009), age (β = 0.411, p = .020), and INR (β = -0.388, p = .028). No such associations were found for either gastrointestinal complaints or eating disorder symptoms.

Abnormal levels of serum ZFP were observed in patients with AN. Further studies with other assessment methods are warranted to examine intestinal barrier function in AN. Identifier: NCT02745067.

Reducing eating disorder risk among male athletes: A randomized controlled trial investigating the male athlete body project.

Int J Eat

No study to date has investigated an intervention program for male athletes that targets eating disorder risk factors. The purpose of this study was to measure the effects of the Male Athlete Body Project (MABP), an adaptation of the Female Athlete Body Project on body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, body-ideal internalization, and muscle dysmorphia.

Participants were 79 male collegiate athletes who were randomized to the MABP (n = 39) or an assessment-only control condition (n = 40). All participants completed psychometrically validated measures at three time points: baseline, post-treatment (3 weeks after baseline for the control condition), and 1-month follow-up.

Hierarchical Linear Modeling assessed differences between conditions across time. Interaction effects revealed that participation in the MABP improved satisfaction with specific body parts and reduced drive for muscularity and body-ideal internalization at post-treatment compared to a control group. Athletes in the MABP also reported increased body areas satisfaction and reductions in drive for muscularity at 1-month follow-up. Reductions in supplement use were observed at 1-month follow-up only.

This study provides preliminary evidence of the efficacy of the MABP in reducing some eating disorder risk factors up to 1 month after the intervention; follow-up study considerations are discussed.

NCT04077177 PUBLIC SIGNIFICANCE: This study highlights the importance of eating disorder and body image intervention efforts for male athletes. Findings suggest that male college athletes who attended a 3-session group intervention based on a well-established program for college women experienced an increase in satisfaction with specific body areas and a reduction in some eating disorder risk factors (e.g., drive for muscularity, supplement use, and body-ideal internalization) compared to a control group.

The association between episodes of night eating and levels of depression in the general population.

Int J Eat

Research has suggested that a correlation may exist between depressive mood and episodes of night eating. This study aimed to examine whether having episodes of night eating was associated with increased levels of depression.

This study used data from the 2019 Korea Community Health Survey and the study population consisted of adults aged ≥19 years. Depression levels were measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. We investigated the patients' general characteristics using t-tests and analysis of variance. The association between depression levels and episodes of night eating was analyzed using a multivariable linear regression analysis. Subgroup analysis was conducted based on daily sleep duration.

We analyzed 34,358 individuals and found higher average depression scores (β: 4.99, p < .001) in those with episodes of night eating than those without. Large effect sizes were found for differences in depression scores between participants with and without episodes of night eating. The magnitude of this increase was particularly pronounced in individuals who reported 9 or more hours of sleep per day.

An association was found between levels of depression and episodes of night eating as individuals with episodes of night eating were more likely to have higher depression scores. Our findings suggest the potential need to consider night eating when addressing the mental health of the general population.

Fat-rich versus carbohydrate-rich nutrition in ALS: a randomised controlled study.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

There is growing evidence that the course of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be influenced beneficially by applying high-caloric food supplements (HCSs). However, it is unknown which composition of nutrients offers optimal tolerability and weight gain.

We conducted a randomised controlled study (Safety and Tolerability of Ultra-high-caloric Food Supplements in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); TOLCAL-ALS study) in 64 patients with possible, probable or definite ALS according to El Escorial criteria. Patients were randomised into four groups: a high-caloric fatty supplement (HCFS; 405 kcal/day, 100% fat), an ultra-high-caloric fatty supplement (UHCFS; 810 kcal/day, 100% fat), an ultra-high-caloric, carbohydrate-rich supplement (UHCCS; 900 kcal/day, 49% carbohydrates) and an open control (OC) group without any supplement. The primary endpoint was tolerability. Patients were followed up over 4 weeks.

Gastrointestinal side effects were most frequent in the UHCFS group (75.0%), while loss of appetite was most frequent in the UHCCS group (35.3%). During intervention, patients gained +0.9 kg/month of body weight (IQR -0.9 to 1.5; p=0.03) in the HCFS group and +0.9 kg/month (IQR -0.8 to 2.0; p=0.05) in the UHCFS group. A non-significant trend for weight gain (+0.6 kg/month (IQR -0.3 to 1.9; p=0.08)) was observed in the UHCCS group. Patients in OC group continued to lose body weight (-0.5 kg/month, IQR -1.4 to 1.3; p=0.42).

The findings suggest that HCSs frequently cause mild to moderate tolerability issues in patients with ALS, most notably gastrointestinal symptoms in high-fat supplements, and loss of appetite in high-carbohydrate supplements. All three HCSs tested are suited to increase body weight.

Development of novel clinical examination scales for the measurement of disease severity in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

To use a robust statistical methodology to develop and validate clinical rating scales quantifying longitudinal motor and cognitive dysfunction in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) at the bedside.

Rasch analysis was used to iteratively construct interval scales measuring composite cognitive and motor dysfunction from pooled bedside neurocognitive examinations collected as part of the prospective National Prion Monitoring Cohort study, October 2008-December 2016.A longitudinal clinical examination dataset constructed from 528 patients with sCJD, comprising 1030 Motor Scale and 757 Cognitive Scale scores over 130 patient-years of study, was used to demonstrate scale utility.

The Rasch-derived Motor Scale consists of 8 items, including assessments reliant on pyramidal, extrapyramidal and cerebellar systems. The Cognitive Scale comprises 6 items, and includes measures of executive function, language, visual perception and memory. Both scales are unidimensional, perform independently of age or gender and have excellent inter-rater reliability. They can be completed in minutes at the bedside, as part of a normal neurocognitive examination. A composite Examination Scale can be derived by averaging both scores. Several scale uses, in measuring longitudinal change, prognosis and phenotypic heterogeneity are illustrated.

These two novel sCJD Motor and Cognitive Scales and the composite Examination Scale should prove useful to objectively measure phenotypic and clinical change in future clinical trials and for patient stratification. This statistical approach can help to overcome obstacles to assessing clinical change in rapidly progressive, multisystem conditions with limited longitudinal follow-up.

Eating disorders in the U.S. Medicare population.

Int J Eat

The social and economic burden of eating disorders is significant and often financially devastating. Medicare is the largest public insurer in the United States and provides coverage for older adults and some disabled individuals. This study explores prevalence, sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, and health care spending for Medicare enrollees with eating disorders.

A cross-sectional study was conducted with the nationally representative 20% sample of 2016 Medicare inpatient, outpatient, carrier, and home health fee-for-service claims and Medicare Advantage encounter records. Sociodemographic characteristics and comorbid somatic conditions were compared between individuals with versus without an eating disorder diagnosis. Mean spending was compared overall and separately for inpatient, outpatient, home health, and pharmacy claims.

The sample included 11,962,287 Medicare enrollees of whom 0.15% had an eating disorder diagnosis. Compared to those without a 2016 eating disorder diagnosis, a greater proportion of individuals with an eating disorder were female (73.8% vs. 54.3%), under age 65 (41.6% vs. 15.5%), and dually eligible for Medicaid due to disability or low-income qualification (48.0% vs. 19.6%). Individuals with eating disorders had higher rates of comorbid conditions, with the greatest differences in cardiac arrythmias (35.3% vs. 19.9%), arthritis (40.1% vs. 26.6%), and thyroid conditions (32.2% vs. 19.4%). Spending was higher for enrollees with eating disorders compared to those without overall ($29,456 vs. $7,418) and across settings.

The findings establish that eating disorders occur in the Medicare population, and that enrollees with these illnesses have risk factors associated with significant healthcare spending and adverse health outcomes.

Associations between Sex, Rumination, and Depressive Symptoms in Late Adolescence: A Four-Year Longitudinal Investigation.

Journal of Clinical Oncology

The literature on the association between sex, rumination, and depression indicates significant variability from childhood to adulthood. Although this variability indicates the need for a developmental lens, a surprising lack of research has been conducted on the association between these variables from middle to late adolescence.

The present study seeks to bridge this gap using structured equation modeling (SEM) to evaluate the reciprocal associations between sex, brooding rumination, reflective rumination, and depressive symptoms in a sample of students measured at 8th grade, 9th grade, and 12th grade time points.

In line with findings across the lifespan, female participants indicated significantly higher average levels of both subtypes of rumination and depressive symptoms versus males. Novel results of this study include the findings that for male participants in this age range, brooding rumination predicted later depressive symptoms, while for female participants, early depressive symptoms predicted later brooding. For female participants, early reflective rumination predicted later depressive symptoms.

This is the first investigation of its kind to demonstrate deleterious longitudinal effects of self-reflective rumination. Findings are interpreted through an ecological framework and mark the transition to high school as a potential risk for interrupted problem-solving of circumstances related to adolescents' distress.

Friend matters: sex differences in social language during autism diagnostic interviews.

Molecular Autism

Autistic individuals frequently experience social communication challenges. Girls are diagnosed with autism less often than boys even when their symptoms are equally severe, which may be due to insufficient understanding of the way autism manifests in girls. Differences in the behavioral presentation of autism, including how people talk about social topics, could contribute to these persistent problems with identification. Despite a growing body of research suggesting that autistic girls and boys present distinct symptom profiles in a variety of domains, including social attention, friendships, social motivation, and language, differences in the way that autistic boys and girls communicate verbally are not yet well understood. Closely analyzing boys' and girls' socially-focused language during semi-structured clinical assessments could shed light on potential sex differences in the behavioral presentation of autistic individuals that may prove useful for identifying and effectively supporting autistic girls. Here, we compare social word use in verbally fluent autistic girls and boys during the interview sections of the ADOS-2 Module 3 and measure associations with clinical phenotype.

School-aged girls and boys with autism (N = 101, 25 females; aged 6-15) were matched on age, IQ, and parent/clinician ratings of autism symptom severity. Our primary analysis compared the number of social words produced by autistic boys and girls (normalized to account for differences in total word production). Social words are words that make reference to other people, including friends and family.

There was a significant main effect of sex on social word production, such that autistic girls used more social words than autistic boys. To identify the specific types of words driving this effect, additional subcategories of friend and family words were analyzed. There was a significant effect of sex on friend words, with girls using significantly more friend words than boys. However, there was no significant main effect of sex on family words, suggesting that sex differences in social word production may be driven by girls talking more about friends compared to boys, not family. To assess relationships between word use and clinical phenotype, we modeled ADOS-2 Social Affect (SA) scores as a function of social word production. In the overall sample, social word use correlated significantly with ADOS-2 SA scores, indicating that participants who used more social words were rated as less socially impaired by clinicians. However, when examined in each sex separately, this result only held for boys.

Autistic girls used significantly more social words than boys during a diagnostic assessment-despite being matched on age, IQ, and both parent- and clinician-rated autism symptom severity. Sex differences in linguistic markers of social phenotype in autism are especially important in light of the late or missed diagnoses that disproportionately affect autistic girls. Specifically, heightened talk about social topics could complicate autism referral and diagnosis when non-clinician observers expect a male-typical pattern of reduced social focus, which autistic girls may not always exhibit.

Eating disorder related research using Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk): Friend or foe?: Commentary on Burnette et al. (2021).

Int J Eat

Burnette et al. reported a study that they sought to undertake to validate common eating disorder questionnaires in sexual and gender minorities. T...

New principles and new paths needed for online research in mental health: Commentary on Burnette et al. (2021).

Int J Eat

Online methods have become a powerful research tool, allowing us to conduct well-powered studies, to explore and replicate effects, and to recruit ...

Food insecurity is associated with eating disorders independent of depression and anxiety: Findings from the 2020-2021 Healthy Minds Study.

Int J Eat

To examine the association between food insecurity and eating disorder (ED) risk independent of co-occurring anxiety/depression.

Data were provided by 121,627 undergraduate/graduate students who participated in the 2020-2021 Healthy Minds Study (HMS). Participants responded to questionnaire measures of food insecurity and risk for EDs, depression, and anxiety. Established cut-offs were used to identify students with food insecurity and probable psychopathology. Separate modified Poisson regressions adjusted for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic background examined the association between food insecurity and each form of psychopathology. The association between food insecurity and probable ED was then examined in a regression further adjusted for probable depression and anxiety.

Food insecurity was significantly associated with all three forms of psychopathology when examined separately (prevalence ratios ranged from 1.41 to 1.54, all p's < .001). When accounting for probable depression/anxiety, food insecurity was significantly associated with 1.19 times greater prevalence of a probable ED (p < .001).

The association between food insecurity and EDs was replicated in a large, national sample of university students. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the independence of this relationship after adjusting for depression/anxiety. This finding supports the hypothesis that specific mechanisms, rather than general psychological distress, likely underlie the food insecurity-ED relationship.