Previous studies have found important associations between the ward atmosphere and patient satisfaction. However, fewer studies have examined the relationship between ward atmosphere and outcome of treatment. The aim of the study was to examine whether or not differences in ward atmosphere were associated with differences in satisfaction and outcome. Eighty patients at three different ward units responded to a questionnaire at admission and by the time of discharge from the hospital. The questionnaire comprised the ward atmosphere scale, a five-item index of patient satisfaction, the Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale, an index of life satisfaction and the symptom checklist SCL-90R. The results showed that differences in the treatment environment between the ward units were associated with differences in patient satisfaction. There was mixed evidence for associations between ward atmosphere and outcome, while no associations were found between ward atmosphere and self-efficacy and life satisfaction. The results may suggest that the relationship between ward atmosphere and outcomes of treatment may be of a more indirect character than the relationship between ward atmosphere and satisfaction.
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.