The latest medical research on Forensic Psychiatry

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about forensic psychiatry gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Suicide bereavement in the UK: Descriptive findings from a national survey.

Suicide Life Threat

Those bereaved by suicide are a high-risk group of adverse health outcomes and suicidal behavior, yet little is known about the experiences and support needs of these individuals in the UK.

We conducted a national cross-sectional study using an online survey and analyzed the experiences of 7158 participants who had been bereaved or affected by suicide.

Suicide had a major impact on 77% of participants, including those who had lost a friend and those exposed to suicide at a professional level. Mental and physical health problems linked to the suicide were reported in half. Adverse social outcomes and engaging in high-risk behaviors following the suicide were common. Over a third reported suicidal ideation and 8% had attempted suicide as a direct result of the suicide loss. Most had not accessed support services, with the majority viewing provision of local suicide bereavement support as inadequate.

Our results highlight the need for a multi-disciplinary approach in postvention and the provision of proactive outreach to support those bereaved by suicide. Postvention efforts need to acknowledge the death of a friend by suicide as a significant loss.

Making sense of phantom limb pain.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

Phantom limb pain (PLP) impacts the majority of individuals who undergo limb amputation. The PLP experience is highly heterogenous in its quality, ...

Crisis text-line interventions: Evaluation of texters' perceptions of effectiveness.

Suicide Life Threat

Crisis Text Line (CTL), the largest provider of text-based crisis intervention services in the U.S., has answered nearly 7 million conversations since its inception in 2013. The study's objective was to assess texter's perceptions of the effectiveness of CTL crisis interventions.

Survey data completed by 85,877 texters linked to volunteer crisis counselor (CC) reports from October 12, 2017, to October 11, 2018 were analyzed. The relationship of several effectiveness measures with texters' demographic and psychosocial characteristics, frequency of CTL usage, and texters' perceptions of engagement with their CCs was examined using a series of logistic regression analyses.

By the end of the text-based conversation, nearly 90% of suicidal texters reported that the conversation was helpful, and nearly half reported being less suicidal.

Our study offers evidence for CTL's perceived effectiveness. These findings are of critical importance in light of the launch of a nationwide three-digit number (988) for suicide prevention and mental health crisis supports in the U.S., which will include texting.

When the United States says you do not belong: Suicide-related thoughts and behaviors among immigrant young adults varying in immigration legal status.

Suicide Life Threat

The number of immigrants in the United States and the risk of suicide among minoritized individuals have increased. Little research has examined the impact of immigration legal status on suicide-related thoughts and behaviors (SRTB), despite theoretical and empirical work suggesting that feelings of burdensomeness and failure to belong (prominent among immigrants) are risk factors.

We examined a diverse sample of foreign-born young adults (18-25; N = 366). Data collection utilized the Suicide Behaviors Questionnaire Revised and items probing belongingness and immigration status (undocumented/Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), permanent, and citizen).

DACA/undocumented status was associated with increased SRTB compared with permanent and citizen categories. Increased SRTBs were associated with reduced feelings of acceptance in the United States, increased deportation fears, and increased fear of being harassed or hurt. Of these belongingness variables, only the interpersonal-not feeling welcome in the United States-partially mediated the risk relation between DACA/undocumented immigration legal status and SRTBs, whereas physical and legal threat, like deportation, did not.

Our results highlight the interpersonal nature of SRTB risk in DACA/undocumented immigrants and the need for targeted culture and context-appropriate interventions, as well as advocacy and policy to reduce risk in this historically marginalized population.

Antithrombotic therapy in the postacute phase of cervical artery dissection: the Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults Cervical Artery Dissection.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

To explore the impact of antithrombotic therapy discontinuation in the postacute phase of cervical artery dissection (CeAD) on the mid-term outcome of these patients.

In a cohort of consecutive patients with first-ever CeAD, enrolled in the setting of the multicentre Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults Cervical Artery Dissection, we compared postacute (beyond 6 months since the index CeAD) outcomes between patients who discontinued antithrombotic therapy and patients who continued taking antithrombotic agents during follow-up. Primary outcome was a composite of ischaemic stroke and transient ischaemic attack. Secondary outcomes were (1) Brain ischaemia ipsilateral to the dissected vessel and (2) Recurrent CeAD. Associations with the outcome of interest were assessed by the propensity score (PS) method.

Of the 1390 patients whose data were available for the outcome analysis (median follow-up time in patients who did not experience outcome events, 36.0 months (25th-75th percentile, 62.0)), 201 (14.4%) discontinued antithrombotic treatment. Primary outcome occurred in 48 patients in the postacute phase of CeAD. In PS-matched samples (201 vs 201), the incidence of primary outcomes among patients taking antithrombotics was comparable with that among patients who discontinued antithrombotics during follow-up (5.0% vs 4.5%; p(log rank test)=0.526), and so was the incidence of the secondary outcomes ipsilateral brain ischaemia (4.5% vs 2.5%; p(log rank test)=0.132) and recurrent CeAD (1.0% vs 1.5%; p(log rank test)=0.798).

Discontinuation of antithrombotic therapy in the postacute phase of CeAD does not appear to increase the risk of brain ischaemia during follow-up.

Impact of previous disease-modifying treatment on safety and efficacy in patients with MS treated with AHSCT.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

Autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) is a highly effective treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). The impact of previous long-lasting disease-modifying treatments (DMT) for safety and efficacy of AHSCT is unknown.

To explore whether previous DMTs with long-lasting effects on the immune system (anti-CD20 therapy, alemtuzumab and cladribine) affect treatment-related complications, long-term outcome and risk of new MS disease activity in patients treated with AHSCT.

Retrospective observational study of 104 relapsing remitting patients with MS treated by AHSCT in Sweden and Norway from 2011 to 2021, grouped according to the last DMT used ≤6 months prior to AHSCT. The primary outcomes were early AHSCT-related complications (mortality, neutropenic fever and hospitalisation length), long-term complications (secondary autoimmunity) and proportion of patients with No Evidence of Disease Activity (NEDA-3 status): no new relapses, no MRI activity and no disease progression during the follow-up.

The mean follow-up time was 39.5 months (range 1-95). Neutropenic fever was a common AHSCT-related complication affecting 69 (66%) patients. There was no treatment-related mortality. During the follow-up period, 20 patients (19%) were diagnosed with autoimmunity. Occurrence of neutropenic fever, hospitalisation length or secondary autoimmunity did not vary dependent on the last DMT used prior to AHSCT. A total of 84 patients (81%) achieved NEDA-3 status, including all patients (100%) using rituximab, alemtuzumab or cladribine before AHSCT.

This study provides level 4 evidence that AHSCT in patients previously treated with alemtuzumab, cladribine or rituximab is safe and efficacious.

Risk factors for suicide in the Vietnam-era twin registry.

Suicide Life Threat

The risk of suicide among Veterans is of major concern, particularly among those who experienced a combat deployment and/or have a history of PTSD.

This was a retrospective cohort study of post-discharge suicide among Vietnam-era Veterans who are members of the Vietnam Era Twin (VET) Registry. The VET Registry is a national sample of male twins from all branches of the military, both of whom served on active duty between 1964 and 1975. Military service and demographic factors were available from the military records. Service in-theater was based on military records; combat exposure and PTSD symptoms were assessed in 1987 by questionnaire. Mortality follow-up, from discharge to 2016, is identified from Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, and National Death Index records; suicide as a cause of death is based on the International Classification of Death diagnostic codes from the death certificate. Statistical analysis used Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate the association of Vietnam-theater service, combat exposure, and PTSD symptoms with suicide while adjusting for military service and demographic confounding factors.

From the 14,401 twins in the VET Registry, there were 147 suicide deaths during follow-up. In adjusted analyses, twins who served in the Vietnam theater were at similar risk of post-discharge suicide compared with non-theater Veterans; there was no association between combat and suicide. An increase in severity of PTSD symptoms was significantly associated with an increased risk of suicide in adjusted analyses (hazard ratio = 1.13 per five-point increase in symptom score; 95% CI: 1.02-1.27).

Service in the Vietnam theater is not associated with greater risk of suicide; however, PTSD symptom severity poses a degree of risk of suicide in Vietnam-era Veterans. Adequate screening for PTSD in Veterans may be promising to identify Veterans who are at increased risk of suicide.

Comparative clinical utility of screening for Suicide Crisis Syndrome versus suicidal ideation in relation to suicidal ideation and attempts at one-month follow-up.

Suicide Life Threat

Suicidal ideation (SI) has numerous limitations in predicting suicidal behavior. The Suicide Crisis Syndrome (SCS) is proposed as an alternative method of detecting risk. This study compares the relative utility of SI and SCS in statistically predicting SI and behaviors at one-month follow-up.

382 psychiatric patients (98 inpatients, 284 outpatients) completed baseline measures and provided information about suicide-related outcomes one month later. Participants were grouped based on responses to measures assessing SCS and SI.

Rates of follow-up suicidal behavior were significantly higher among those reporting both SCS and SI (22.2%) than those reporting SI alone (6.0%) or neither SCS nor SI (0.9%). SCS alone (8.3%) had descriptively, but not statistically, higher rates of suicidal behavior than those with neither SCS nor SI, and did not differ from SI alone and the combination of SCS and SI. Those reporting SI-with and without SCS-had higher levels of follow-up suicidal thoughts than those without SI.

The SCS was equivalent to SI, and incrementally informative alongside SI, in detecting individuals at risk of future suicidal behavior, whereas SI was more strongly related to future SI than SCS. The combination of SCS and SI may be clinically useful in detecting individuals who are at risk for suicide.

Assessing the clinical utility of MMPI-2-RF interpersonal theory of suicide proxy indices in psychiatric hospitalization setting.

Suicide Life Threat

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF Ben-Porath & Tellegen, 2008/2011) has been applied to suicide risk assessment through derived proxy indices of perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness, and the acquired capability for suicide (Anestis et al., 2018, Joiner, 2005). However, limited research has examined the clinical utility of these proxy indices outside the outpatient setting. This study examined the performance of these proxy indices in identifying past-month suicide ideation intensity and attempts upon admission to a psychiatric inpatient program and changes in suicidal ideation intensity at discharge. We expected these indices and their interaction would be associated with suicide ideation intensity and attempts at baseline and with a lack of significant improvement in suicide ideation intensity at discharge, including when controlling for MMPI-2-RF Suicide/Death Ideation (SUI) scale scores.

Participants were 1007 patients in a private inpatient psychiatric hospital in the southwestern United States, 968 of whom completed study measures at admission and discharge. Participants were administered the C-SSRS and MMPI-2-RF upon admission, while the C-SSRS was administered again prior to discharge. A series of moderation analyses were conducted to examine the main and interaction effects of the MMPI-2-RF derived proxy indices on suicidal ideation intensity and suicide attempts at admission. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine whether MMPI-2-RF proxy index scores at admission were associated with changes in suicidal ideation intensity at discharge.

Neither the proxy indices nor their interaction was associated with all study outcomes. The acquired capability for suicide proxy index and its interaction with other indices were not associated with suicide attempt status at admission. However, high thwarted belongingness proxy index scores were associated with greater suicidal ideation intensity at admission; high perceived burdensomeness proxy index scores were indicative of a lack of significant change in suicide ideation intensity at discharge.

These results indicate a need to further examine these proxy indices in high acuity samples.

Development and initial validation of a parent report measure of youth belongingness and burdensomeness.

Suicide Life Threat

The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide (ITS) implicates thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness as casually related to suicide desire. The self-report Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire (INQ) is the most commonly used measure to assess belongingness and burdensomeness, including in youth. No parent-report version of the INQ exists. The current study adapted the ten-item version of the INQ (INQ-10) for parent report of youth belongingness and burdensomeness, thereby moving ITS research in youth to a multi-informant measurement approach, and examined its factor structure and convergent and concurrent validity.

Participants were 168 clinic-referred youths ages 9-17 years (58.9% female; Mage  = 11.91) and their parents.

Findings supported a two-factor structure of the parent INQ. In support of convergent and concurrent validity, parent-reported belongingness and burdensomeness were significantly associated with youth-reported belongingness and burdensomeness, suicide ideation, anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, and impairment.

The current study provides initial support the INQ-parent version as a valid measure to complement youth self-reports of belongingness and burdensomeness.

Aetiology, secondary prevention strategies and outcomes of ischaemic stroke despite oral anticoagulant therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

To investigate the aetiology, subsequent preventive strategies and outcomes of stroke despite anticoagulation in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).

We analysed consecutive patients with AF with an index imaging-proven ischaemic stroke despite vitamin K-antagonist (VKA) or direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) treatment across 11 stroke centres. We classified stroke aetiology as: (i) competing stroke mechanism other than AF-related cardioembolism; (ii) insufficient anticoagulation (non-adherence or low anticoagulant activity measured with drug-specific assays); or, (iii) AF-related cardioembolism despite sufficient anticoagulation. We investigated subsequent preventive strategies with regard to the primary (composite of recurrent ischaemic stroke, intracranial haemorrhage, death) and secondary endpoint (recurrent ischaemic stroke) within 3 months after index stroke.

Among 2946 patients (median age 81 years; 48% women; 43% VKA, 57% DOAC), stroke aetiology was competing mechanism in 713 patients (24%), insufficient anticoagulation in 934 (32%) and cardioembolism despite sufficient anticoagulation in 1299 (44%). We found high rates of the primary (27% of patients; completeness 91.6%) and secondary endpoint (4.6%; completeness 88.5%). Only DOAC (vs VKA) treatment after index stroke showed lower odds for both endpoints (primary: adjusted OR (aOR) (95% CI) 0.49 (0.32 to 0.73); secondary: 0.44 (0.24 to 0.80)), but not switching between different DOAC types. Adding antiplatelets showed higher odds for both endpoints (primary: aOR (95% CI) 1.99 (1.25 to 3.15); secondary: 2.66 (1.40 to 5.04)). Only few patients (1%) received left atrial appendage occlusion as additional preventive strategy.

Stroke despite anticoagulation comprises heterogeneous aetiologies and cardioembolism despite sufficient anticoagulation is most common. While DOAC were associated with better outcomes than VKA, adding antiplatelets was linked to worse outcomes in these high-risk patients. Our findings indicate that individualised and novel preventive strategies beyond the currently available anticoagulants are needed.

ISRCTN48292829.

Results of the COMPARE trial of Constraint-induced or Multimodality Aphasia Therapy compared with usual care in chronic post-stroke aphasia.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

ACTRN 2615000618550.

We conducted a three-arm, multicentre, parallel group, open-label, blinded endpoint, phase III, randomised-controlled trial. We stratified eligible participants by baseline aphasia on the Western Aphasia Battery-Revised Aphasia Quotient (WAB-R-AQ). Groups of three participants were randomly assigned (1:1:1) to 30 hours of CIAT-Plus or M-MAT or to usual care (UC). Primary outcome was change in aphasia severity (WAB-R-AQ) from baseline to therapy completion analysed in the intention-to-treat population. Secondary outcomes included word retrieval, connected speech, functional communication, multimodal communication, quality of life and costs.

We analysed 201 participants (70 in CIAT-Plus, 70 in M-MAT and 61 in UC). Aphasia severity was not significantly different between groups at postintervention: 1.05 points (95% CI -0.78 to 2.88; p=0.36) UC group vs CIAT-Plus; 1.06 points (95% CI -0.78 to 2.89; p=0.36) UC group vs M-MAT; 0.004 points (95% CI -1.76 to 1.77; p=1.00) CIAT-Plus vs M-MAT. Word retrieval, functional communication and communication-related quality of life were significantly improved following CIAT-Plus and M-MAT. Word retrieval benefits were maintained at 12-week follow-up.

CIAT-Plus and M-MAT were effective for word retrieval, functional communication, and quality of life, while UC was not. Future studies should explore predictive characteristics of responders and impacts of maintenance doses.