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Understanding vocation in patients with first episode psychosis.

Understanding vocation in patients with first episode psychosis.

Unemployment is prevalent and debilitating among young people with first episode psychosis (FEP). Vocation intervention programs have been increasing in popularity for patients experiencing their first episode of psychosis. In order to effectively target interventions it is important to understand the characteristics of FEP patients who are either unemployed or not studying at service entry. It is also important to identify predictors of changes in vocational status over treatment course. Medical file audit methodology was employed to collect information on 659 patients with first episode psychosis treated at the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC), Melbourne, Australia.

Two groups were derived on the basis of their scores on the Modified Vocation Status Index (MVCI)–at entry to the service: 1) engaged (employed/studying/volunteer work); or 2) not engaged (unemployed/not studying) in meaningful vocational activities. Results: 52.0% (n=343) of the patients were unemployed or not studying at service entry. Those who were not engaged in a vocation, were more likely to be male and have a diagnosis of non-affective disorder, and have a long prodrome and duration of untreated illness. Further this group had lower levels of premorbid functioning and education, and were more likely to have past histories of learning disability, forensic issues, traumatic experiences, and substance use disorder.

At service entry, this subgroup had more severe symptoms and poor insight. They were more likely to be non-compliant with treatment and continued to have more severe symptoms and poor insight at discharge. There was a subgroup of patients who had poor functioning at service entry but who improved and were employed or studying at discharge (27.4%). Differences between this group and those who continue to be not engaged in vocational activities will also be discussed.  In this study we found a model identifying patients who would benefit from targeted vocation intervention programs.

Conference: MAPrc
Areas of Interest / Categories: MAPrc 2014

MAPrc 2014

The effect of symptomatic improvement on gamma synchrony in psychosis: a pilot study.

Impaired functional connectivity, as measured by synchronous gamma activity, has been observed in both the early and chronic stages of schizophrenia, as well as in unaffected first-degree relatives. This suggests gamma synchrony may be a trait-like marker of psychosis susceptibility, and not just a state-dependant characteristic. To conduct a pilot study into the short-term temporal stability of gamma synchrony and its relationship to symptomatic improvement in young patients who have been treated for recent onset psychosis. 20 medicated subjects underwent both clinical (PANSS) and electrophysiological (auditory oddball task during EEG) evaluation at both baseline and 8 weeks follow-up.

The effect of symptomatic improvement on gamma synchrony in psychosis: a pilot study.

Impaired functional connectivity, as measured by synchronous gamma activity, has been observed in both the early and chronic stages of schizophrenia, as well as in unaffected first-degree relatives. This suggests gamma synchrony may be a trait-like marker of psychosis susceptibility, and not just a state-dependant characteristic. To conduct a pilot study into the short-term temporal stability of gamma synchrony and its relationship to symptomatic improvement in young patients who have been treated for recent onset psychosis. 20 medicated subjects underwent both clinical (PANSS) and electrophysiological (auditory oddball task during EEG) evaluation at both baseline and 8 weeks follow-up.

Cerebral cortical grey matter deficits in schizophrenia and their associations with ageing, psychopathology, cognition and treatment response.

The diagnosis of schizophrenia lacks a broadly accepted biological basis and its heterogeneity may well represent a group of disorders with different aetiologies. Even so, brain imaging can map and quantify structural brain abnormalities in vivo as an intermediate (or endo-) phenotype of the disorder. To identify the degree of regional grey matter deficits in relation to age, the severity of psychopathology and cognitive/ neurological impairment, and treatment response in schizophrenia. Eighteen schizophrenia patients (32.2 years [SD 14.3], meeting DSM-IV criteria were examined. Eighteen pair-wise age (±2 years) and gender-matched healthy volunteers (31.9 years [SD 14.3]) served as control group.

Schizophrenia and neurodevelopment – Where do we stand today?

The schizophrenia brain is differentiated from the normal brain by subtle changes, with significant overlap in measures between normal and disease states. For the past 25 years, schizophrenia has increasingly been considered a neurodevelopmental disorder. This frame of reference challenges biological researchers to consider how pathological changes identified in adult brain tissue can be accounted for by aberrant developmental processes occurring during fetal, childhood or adolescent periods. The objective is to place schizophrenia neuropathology in a neurodevelopmental context. This requires solid, scrutinized evidence of changes occurring during normal development of the cerebral cortex. We review literature on the development of the prefrontal cortex and chart major molecular and cellular events on a similar time line. Whilst neurogenesis, neuronal migration and myelination undergo most dramatic changes prenatally, these processes also extend into adolescence.

The Weight of Evidence: The Role of Metformin in Cardiometabolic Protection in Early Psychosis.

The relationship between weight gain and the treatment of first episode psychosis (FEP) with psychotropic medication is well established, with weight gain and increased cardiovascular risk as common sequelae. Such metabolic abnormalities create further disease burden and shorten the life expectancy of a population already dealing with mental illness. Antipsychotic-induced weight gain has been shown to commence within the first months of initiating treatment in drug-naïve youth, thus early intervention is necessary in order to attenuate the progression of metabolic abnormalities. Initial studies using metformin in this population have shown promising results.

Serum epidermal growth factor levels are reduced in people with treatment resistant schizophrenia and modulated by clozapine treatment.

Up to 45% of patients with schizophrenia are treatment resistant to conventional drugs leaving clozapine as the only effective option. Its severe side-effects however limit it to a late stage option and the development of a biomarker to predict treatment response would be of high clinical utility. Our previous data demonstrate clozapine augments epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling and hence we examined if EGF levels may be altered in treatment resistant schizophrenia (TRS) and are influenced by clozapine treatment. Study objectives: To determine if EGF levels are influenced by clozapine in TRS and can serve as a biomarker for clozapine response.

Keeping the Body in Mind: Exercise Physiology Services within a Community-based Early Psychosis Treatment Program

People with first episode psychosis (FEP) are prone to significant weight gain and metabolic abnormalities in the early stages of treatment putting them at significant risk of developing physical co-morbidities, including type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. These co-morbidities reduce quality of life and life expectancy within this population. Despite known benefits of regular exercise including anxiolytic and anti-depressive effects, very low treatment adherence within FEP programs limits the effectiveness of exercise as a potential intervention. Determining the characteristics of FEP patients who frequently participate in a facilitated exercise program may assist in the development of strategies aimed at improving adherence. To determine the characteristics of frequent users of a facilitated exercise program.