First-episode psychosis (FEP) patients show structural brain abnormalities. Whether the changes are progressive or not remain under debate, and the results from longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies are mixed. We investigated if FEP patients showed a different pattern of regional brain structural change over a 1-year period compared with healthy controls, and if putative changes correlated with clinical characteristics and outcome.
MRIs of 79 FEP patients [SCID-I-verified diagnoses: schizophrenia, psychotic bipolar disorder, or other psychoses, mean age 27.6 (s.d. = 7.7) years, 66% male] and 82 healthy controls [age 29.3 (s.d. = 7.2) years, 66% male] were acquired from the same 1.5 T scanner at baseline and 1-year follow-up as part of the Thematically Organized Psychosis (TOP) study, Oslo, Norway. Scans were automatically processed with the longitudinal stream in FreeSurfer that creates an unbiased within-subject template image. General linear models were used to analyse longitudinal change in a wide range of subcortical volumes and detailed thickness and surface area estimates across the entire cortex, and associations with clinical characteristics.
FEP patients and controls did not differ significantly in annual percentage change in cortical thickness or area in any cortical region, or in any of the subcortical structures after adjustment for multiple comparisons. Within the FEP group, duration of untreated psychosis, age at illness onset, antipsychotic medication use and remission at follow-up were not related to longitudinal brain change.
We found no significant longitudinal brain changes over a 1-year period in FEP patients. Our results do not support early progressive brain changes in psychotic disorders.
To determine if the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ) has satisfactory psychometric properties in patients with severe mental disorders and if their scores differ from those of patients with severe medical disorders. To investigate if the scores are related to medication adherence.
Two hundred and eighty psychiatric patients completed the BMQ and reported how much of their medication they had taken the past week. Serum concentrations of medications were analyzed. BMQ scores were compared with those of patients with chronic medical disorders.
Cronbach's alpha was satisfactory for all subscales. The psychiatric group scored lower on the necessity of taking medication than the medical group. Non-adherent patients felt medication to be less necessary and were more concerned about it than adherent patients. The necessity subscale predicted adherence fairly well.
The BMQ has satisfactory psychometric properties for use in patients with severe mental disorders. The constructs measured by the BMQ are related to adherence in these patients.
Cause-, sex-, and age-specific incidences of sickness certification in a total population are reported. The population at risk of having a sickness certificate issued was 106,019 employed persons 16-69 years of age. The annual incidence of sickness certification was estimated at 580 per 1,000 employed persons per year (females 596, males 568). The most frequent causes of sickness certification, according to diagnostic groups, were diseases of the respiratory system, musculoskeletal/connective tissue diseases, mental disorders, and injuries. Adjusted for age, injuries were found to be less frequent causes of sickness certification among females than males (p less than 0.001), while the reverse was true for mental disorders (p less than 0.01). Among single diagnoses, "other nonarticular rheumatism" (including myalgia) was more frequent among females than males, while the opposite was true for "backpain without radiating symptoms" (p less than 0.001). Comparisons with morbidity studies indicate that diagnoses stated on initial certificates, issued to employed persons in the total population, give a reflection of a population's health problems. This suggests that sickness certification may provide a basis for a health status indicator which may prove useful in planning and evaluation of occupational health, general practice, and community health.
The present study had three main objectives. To survey: 1) General practitioners' views on the possibility of influencing different diseases by psychological means. 2) GPs' views on the doctor/patient relationship. 3) GPs' general interest in psychosomatic issues. Altogether 180 GPs completed the questionnaire. GPs found chronic disorders to be more easily influenced by psychological means that acute disorders, and they prefer the counsellor aspects of the doctor role to the caretaker aspects. They think psychosomatic issues are very relevant to their daily work.
In a population study, a random sample of 398 persons from 20 to 72 years answered the six item version of the Dartmouth COOP functional health assessment charts/WONCA. The results according to age and sex are presented. The charts have been developed primarily for use in clinical settings. In a cross-sectional study in a normal population, the instrument seems feasible in use and it differentiates between the sexes and age groups.
Impaired emotion perception is documented for schizophrenia, but findings have been mixed for bipolar disorder. In healthy samples females perform better than males. This study compared emotion perception in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and investigated the effects of gender.
Visual (facial pictures) and auditory (sentences) emotional stimuli were presented for identification and discrimination in groups of participants with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and healthy controls.
Visual emotion perception was unimpaired in both clinical groups, but the schizophrenia sample showed reduced auditory emotion perception. Healthy males and male schizophrenia subjects performed worse than their female counterparts, whereas there were no gender differences within the bipolar group.
A disease-specific auditory emotion processing deficit was confirmed in schizophrenia, especially for males. Participants with bipolar disorder performed unimpaired.