The latest medical research on 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 psychiatry gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Targeting innate immunity to protect and cure Alzheimer's disease: opportunities and pitfalls.

Molecular Psychiatry

Innate immunity has been the focus of many new directions to understand the mechanisms involved in the aetiology of brain diseases, especially Alzh...

A nonhuman primate model of human non-suicidal self-injury: serotonin-transporter genotype-mediated typologies.


While non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) occurs in the general population at a surprisingly high rate, with higher rates among certain clinical  popul...

Increased referrals to an Australian Consultation Liaison Psychiatry service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australasian Psychiatry

It has been widely predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a detrimental impact on the mental health (MH) of individuals. This has been dubbed as the MH 'second wave'. In Australia, these impacts have been partly mitigated by institutional responses such as increased access to psychotherapy. Consultation Liaison (CL) psychiatry services provide MH care to acutely unwell patients in general hospitals. It was hypothesised that the number of referrals to the studied service had increased since the start of the pandemic.

From the Electronic medical records (eMRs), the authors collected daily referral numbers, over 3 consecutive years, to a large CL service in metropolitan Sydney.

Referrals were significantly increased by 25%, 95% CI [1.14, 1.36], p < .001 since the start of the pandemic. This increase was delayed, and remained elevated despite a reduction in COVID-19 infections.

This study adds evidence to the existence of the MH 'second wave', highlights a key impact on healthcare workers' well-being and will assist in guiding resource allocation decisions in the near future.

Longitudinal observational study investigating outcome measures for clinical trials in inclusion body myositis.

Journal Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

To describe decline in muscle strength and physical function in patients with sporadic inclusion body myositis (IBM).

Manual muscle testing (MMT), quantitative muscle testing (QMT) and disability scoring using the IBM Functional Rating Scale (IBMFRS) were undertaken for 181 patients for up to 7.3 years. The relationship between MMT, QMT and IBMFRS composite scores and time from onset were examined using linear mixed effects models adjusted for gender and age of disease onset. Adaptive LASSO regression analysis was used to identify muscle groups that best predicted the time elapsed from onset. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to evaluate time to use of a mobility aid.

Multilevel modelling of change in percentage MMT, QMT and IBMFRS score over time yielded an average decline of 3.7% (95% CI 3.1% to 4.3%), 3.8% (95% CI 2.7% to 4.9%) and 6.3% (95% CI 5.5% to 7.2%) per year, respectively. The decline, however, was not linear, with steeper decline in the initial years. Older age of onset was associated with a more rapid IBMFRS decline (p=0.007), but did not influence the rate of MMT/QMT decline. Combination of selected muscle groups allowed for generation of single measures of patient progress (MMT and QMT factors). Median (IQR) time to using a mobility aid was 5.4 (3.6-9.2) years, significantly affected by greater age of onset (HR 1.06, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.09, p<0.001).

This prospective observational study represents the largest IBM cohort to date. Measures of patient progress evaluated in this study accurately predict disease progression in a reliable and useful way to be used in trial design.

Oligoclonal IgG bands in chronic inflammatory polyradiculoneuropathies.

Journal Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) albumincytologic dissociation represents a supportive diagnostic criterion of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP).Few studies have investigated possible systemic or intrathecal humoral immune response activation in CIDP.Aim of our study was to investigate whether the search of oligoclonal IgG bands (OCBs) might provide additional data helpful in CIDP diagnostic work-up.

Forty-eight consecutive patients with CIDP (34 men, mean age 59.4, range 16-83) were recruited. CSF analysis included nephelometric measurement of albumin and IgG concentrations, calculation of QALB, QAlbLIM and intrathecal IgG synthesis and OCBs detection with isoelectric focusing. Data were compared with those from CSF and serum of 32 patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), 18 patients with anti-myelin associated glycoprotein (MAG) antibody neuropathy, 4 patients with multifocal motor neuropathy and 32 patients with non-inflammatory neuropathies (NINPs).

Patients with CIDP and anti-MAG antibody neuropathy had significantly higher CSF albumin concentrations and QALB values than NINPs (p=0.0003 and p=0.0095, respectively). A total of 9 (19%) patients with CIDP presented identical serum and CSF OCBs ('mirror pattern') versus 3 patients (16.6%) with anti-MAG antibody neuropathy, 13 patients (40.6%) with GBS and 12.5% patients with NINPs. Only one patient with CIDP showed unique-to-CSF OCBs. First-line therapy was effective in 80.4% of patients with CIDP, irrespective of CSF findings.

Compared with NINP, CIDP, GBS and anti-MAG antibody neuropathies had a significantly increased CSF protein and blood-spinal nerve root barrier damage. Intrathecal humoral immune response is rare in our patients with CIDP. Systemic oligoclonal activation is more frequent, but not significantly different from what was detected in the control groups.

Heterogeneous distribution of tau pathology in the behavioural variant of Alzheimer's disease.

Journal Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

The clinical phenotype of the rare behavioural variant of Alzheimer's disease (bvAD) is insufficiently understood. Given the strong clinico-anatomical correlations of tau pathology in AD, we investigated the distribution of tau deposits in bvAD, in-vivo and ex-vivo, using positron emission tomography (PET) and postmortem examination.

For the tau PET study, seven amyloid-β positive bvAD patients underwent [18F]flortaucipir or [18F]RO948 PET. We converted tau PET uptake values into standardised (W-)scores, adjusting for age, sex and mini mental state examination in a 'typical' memory-predominant AD (n=205) group. W-scores were computed within entorhinal, temporoparietal, medial and lateral prefrontal, insular and whole-brain regions-of-interest, frontal-to-entorhinal and frontal-to-parietal ratios and within intrinsic functional connectivity network templates. For the postmortem study, the percentage of AT8 (tau)-positive area in hippocampus CA1, temporal, parietal, frontal and insular cortices were compared between autopsy-confirmed patients with bvAD (n=8) and typical AD (tAD;n=7).

Individual regional W-scores ≥1.96 (corresponding to p<0.05) were observed in three cases, that is, case #5: medial prefrontal cortex (W=2.13) and anterior default mode network (W=3.79), case #2: lateral prefrontal cortex (W=2.79) and salience network (W=2.77), and case #7: frontal-to-entorhinal ratio (W=2.04). The remaining four cases fell within the normal distributions of the tAD group. Postmortem AT8 staining indicated no group-level regional differences in phosphorylated tau levels between bvAD and tAD (all p>0.05).

Both in-vivo and ex-vivo, patients with bvAD showed heterogeneous distributions of tau pathology. Since key regions involved in behavioural regulation were not consistently disproportionally affected by tau pathology, other factors are more likely driving the clinical phenotype in bvAD.

'Things are not what they seem to be': A proposal for the spectrum approach to conspiracy beliefs.

Australasian Psychiatry

Conspiracy beliefs (also known as conspiracy theories) become more prominent at times of heightened uncertainty and inconsistent or conflicting explanations provided by the authorities for events like terrorist attacks or pandemics, such as COVID-19. This article aims to examine the relevance of conspiracy beliefs for psychiatry in the context of the dynamics of trust and mistrust.

Conspiracy beliefs may be situated on a spectrum of mistrust-related phenomena, which extends from healthy scepticism to persecutory delusions. They can be conceptualised as unfounded and fixed beliefs held with strong conviction about harm inflicted by powerful groups on the community or another group of people, usually with preserved insight that these beliefs differ from those that most people have and with reasons for having such beliefs not necessarily being implausible. It is important for conspiracy beliefs to be distinguished from persecutory delusions.

'Stranger than Fiction': a description of an online essay examination preparation club for Queensland trainees.

Australasian Psychiatry

To describe an online essay-style examination preparation group.

The process of the establishment - including recruitment, rules and characteristics - of 'Stranger than Fiction' is outlined.

Over the 10-week period, 66 essays were submitted, and 40 essays were marked. Sixteen out of 30 registered candidates submitted at least one essay, and 11 out of 17 registered markers marked at least one essay.

'Stranger than Fiction' is a novel approach to create a supportive environment where trainees are given opportunities to practise critical essay questions.

School teachers: the forgotten frontline workers of Covid-19.

Australasian Psychiatry

Australian school teachers have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Teachers have had to face relentless and challenging working conditions, take on new roles and responsibilities, and embrace new ways of working. We searched reports and the available research literature on teacher mental health between September 2020 and October 2020. In our perspective piece, we summarise this literature and draw attention to the struggles of Australian school teachers and how Covid-19 has impacted their mental health.

To date, there has been a lack of research focusing on teacher mental health both internationally and in Australia. That which is available indicates that teacher mental health is likely to have deteriorated substantially during the pandemic. We position teachers as the forgotten frontline of Covid-19 and make recommendations to facilitate improvements into the future.

Keeping COVID out: a collaborative approach to COVID-19 is associated with a significant reduction in self-harm in young people in custody.

Australasian Psychiatry

To describe the collaboration between Youth Justice New South Wales (YJNSW) and Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network (JHFMHN) during the early COVID-19 Response (CR) across the six Youth Justice centres in NSW, and the reduced incidence of self-harm noted over this period.

Narrative article with analysis of self-harm incident data during the initial CR period of March to May 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.

During the initial CR period (March to May 2020), there was a highly significant, four-fold reduction in self-harming incidents recorded by both YJNSW and JHFMHN compared with the equivalent time period in 2019 (p < .00001).

The greater than four-fold reduction in self-harm by young people during the early CR may relate to the 'interagency response', with an increase in positive interactions between staff, and between staff and young people. The reduction in self-harm and improvements in mental health will be further explored through standardised interviews with the young people and staff.

Greatly increased Victorian outpatient private psychiatric care during the COVID-19 pandemic: new MBS-telehealth-item and face-to-face psychiatrist office-based services from April-September 2020.

Australasian Psychiatry

The Australian Federal government introduced new COVID-19-Psychiatrist-Medicare-Benefits-Schedule (MBS) telehealth-items to assist with providing private specialist care. We investigate private psychiatrists' uptake of telehealth, and face-to-face consultations for April-September 2020 for the state of Victoria, which experienced two consecutive waves of COVID-19. We compare these to the same 6 months in 2019.

MBS-item-consultation data were extracted for video, telephone and face-to-face consultations with a psychiatrist for April-September 2020 and compared to face-to-face consultations in the same period of 2019 Victoria-wide, and for all of Australia.

Total Victorian psychiatry consultations (telehealth and face-to-face) rose by 19% in April-September 2020 compared to 2019, with telehealth comprising 73% of this total. Victoria's increase in total psychiatry consultations was 5% higher than the all-Australian increase. Face-to-face consultations in April-September 2020 were only 46% of the comparative 2019 consultations. Consultations of less than 15 min duration (87% telephone and 13% video) tripled in April-September 2020, compared to the same period last year. Video consultations comprised 41% of total telehealth provision: these were used mainly for new patient assessments and longer consultations.

During the pandemic, Victorian private psychiatrists used COVID-19-MBS-telehealth-items to substantially increase the number of total patient care consultations for 2020 compared to 2019.

Is all activity equal? Associations between different domains of physical activity and depressive symptom severity among 261,121 European adults.

Depression and Anxiety

Physical activity is often associated with better mental health. However, there is evidence that the domain of physical activity influences the strength and direction of this association. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the associations between different domains of physical activity and depression among a large sample of adults living in the European Union.

Cross-sectional analyses were conducted on 261,121 adults, recruited in the European Health Interview Survey (wave 2). Validated items were used to assess physical activity domains (i.e., work-related, transport-related, leisure-time aerobic, and muscle-strengthening) and depression symptom severity (8-item personal health questionnaire). Generalized linear models with Poisson regressions provided adjusted prevalence ratios (APR) of depressive symptom severity categories across the physical activity domains.

Compared to doing no physical activity, any physical effort at work (APR: 0.82-0.86), moderate, high, and very high levels of transport-related (APR: 0.69-0.83) and aerobic leisure-time activity (APR: 0.78-0.87), and 3 days/week of muscle-strengthening (APR: 0.93) were associated with a lower prevalence of mild depressive symptom severity. Moreover, doing any level of physical activity in any domain was mostly associated with a lower prevalence of moderate (APR: 0.43-0.80), moderate-severe (APR: 0.34-0.82), and severe (APR: 0.26-0.56) depressive symptoms.

Favorable associations were seen between any domain (leisure-time, transport- and work-related) of physical activity and depressive symptom severity. The more severe the symptoms, the stronger the associations. Both modalities of leisure-time physical activity (aerobic and muscle-strengthening) demonstrated beneficial associations with depression, but slightly more so for aerobic physical activity.