Recent Submissions

  • Identifying and categorizing adverse events in trials of digital mental health interventions: Narrative scoping review of trials in the International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Registry

    Bergin, Aislinn; Valentine, Althea Z; Rennick-Egglestone, Stefan; Slade, Mike
    BACKGROUND: To contextualize the benefits of an intervention, it is important that adverse events (AEs) are reported. This is potentially difficult in trials of digital mental health interventions, where delivery may be remote and the mechanisms of actions less understood. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to explore the reporting of AEs in randomized controlled trials of digital mental health interventions. METHODS: The International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number database was searched for trials registered before May 2022. Using advanced search filters, we identified 2546 trials in the category of mental and behavioral disorders. These trials were independently reviewed by 2 researchers against the eligibility criteria. Trials were included where digital mental health interventions for participants with a mental health disorder were evaluated through a completed randomized controlled trial (protocol and primary results publication published). Published protocols and primary results publications were then retrieved. Data were extracted independently by 3 researchers, with discussion to reach consensus when required. RESULTS: Twenty-three trials met the eligibility criteria, of which 16 (69%) included a statement on AEs within a publication, but only 6 (26%) reported AEs within their primary results publication. Seriousness was referred to by 6 trials, relatedness by 4, and expectedness by 2. More interventions delivered with human support (9/11, 82%) than those with only remote or no support (6/12, 50%) included a statement on AEs, but they did not report more AEs. Several reasons for participant dropout were identified by trials that did not report AEs, of which some were identifiable or related to AEs, including serious AEs. CONCLUSIONS: There is significant variation in the reporting of AEs in trials of digital mental health interventions. This variation may reflect limited reporting processes and difficulty recognizing AEs related to digital mental health interventions. There is a need to develop guidelines specifically for these trials to improve future reporting.
  • Correlates of felt age in caregivers of people with dementia: Findings from the IDEAL study

    Sabatini, Serena (2023)
    OBJECTIVE: Family relationships influence how people appraise their own aging and how their appraisals impact their health. We analyzed felt age (FA) among family caregivers of people with dementia. METHODS AND MEASURES: We used a stratified sample of 1,020 spousal and 202 adult-child caregivers from the IDEAL study. We estimated cross-sectional associations and bidirectional influences between caregivers' FA and their health and wellbeing (depression, number of health conditions, stress, positive aspects of caregiving) over 2 years. RESULTS: Among spousal caregivers, 25% had a younger FA and 36% had an older FA. Among adult-child caregivers, 21.8% had a younger FA and 36.1% had an older FA. In spousal and adult-child caregivers an older FA was cross-sectionally associated with higher depression, number of health conditions, and stress, and fewer positive aspects of caregiving. In spousal caregivers, hours of care per day moderated the association between FA and depression, and FA was associated with stress 1 year later. CONCLUSION: Caregiving may impact FA and its relationship with health. We urge continued research on the connections between caregiving and FA, and how interventions might support caregivers' positive views on their own aging, which will translate views on aging scholarship to meaningfully improve caregivers' lives.
  • The development of a UK culturally adapted and modified version of the person attuned musical interactions manual: Protocol for a 2-phase mixed methods study

    Waters, Byrony; Orrell, Martin; McDermott, Orii (2023)
    BACKGROUND: Previous research has suggested that care home interactions need significant improvements, especially those between staff and residents with dementia. Reasons for the lack of interactions are staff time pressures and residents' language impairments. Although residents may experience reduced language abilities, they can continue to communicate through other forms, including nonverbal communication and music. Person Attuned Musical Interactions (PAMI) is a staff training tool that provides staff with music therapy skill-sharing to promote high-quality interactions between staff and residents using nonverbal communication and music. The tool was originally developed in Denmark. To ensure that the tool is appropriate for UK care homes, a team of researchers in the United Kingdom have modified and culturally adapted the tool. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to investigate the appropriateness of the adapted and modified manual for UK care homes and to explore the impact of PAMI on residents with dementia and care staff. METHODS: The project consists of 2 phases, a qualitative field-testing study and a mixed methods evaluation study, which have been developed following the Medical Research Council's guidelines for complex interventions. Care staff and residents with dementia will be recruited from care homes in Lincolnshire, where the care staff will be trained in the PAMI intervention before implementing the intervention in their daily routines. Fortnightly reflective sessions will be provided throughout the phases to provide supervision and monitoring. The qualitative methods include interviews, reflective session transcripts, diary entries, and resident experience questionnaires. The quantitative outcome measures are residents' music engagement, staff's dementia competence, residents' quality of life, and staff burden. The resident's music engagement will be administered at 9 fortnightly time points. Staff's dementia competence, resident's quality of life, and staff burden will be administered at preintervention and postintervention time points. RESULTS: The study has been funded by The Music Therapy Charity as part of a PhD studentship. The study began recruiting in September 2021. The research team aims to publish the results of the first phase in July to September 2023 and those of the second phase in October to December 2023. CONCLUSIONS: This study will be the first to investigate the modified version of PAMI. Therefore, it will provide feedback on the appropriateness of the manual for UK care homes. The PAMI intervention has the potential to offer high-quality music intervention training to a larger population of care homes who may currently be restricted by finances, the availability of time, and a lack of training opportunities. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/43408.
  • Optimising online peer support for people with young onset dementia

    Gerritzen, Esther V.; Orrell, Martin; McDermott, Orii (2024)
    People with Young Onset Dementia (YOD) can be hesitant to engage with online peer support. This work aims to explore (1) why people are hesitant to engage in online peer support, (2) how to get more people involved in online peer support, and (3) what makes online peer support work well. Nine interviews with people with YOD were conducted on MS Teams. Participants were recruited through purposive sampling. Data were analysed thematically. Reasons for being hesitant to engage with online peer support include being unsure what to expect and concerns about seeing others in more advanced stages of dementia. Additionally, it can be difficult to identify groups that suit one's needs and interests. Group facilitators of online peer support groups should provide a detailed description of their group so that people can better assess whether the group would suit them. The insights obtained from this study will be used to develop a Best Practice Guidance on online peer support for people with YOD. Moreover, the findings can be useful for further research exploring how to support people with dementia in general in accessing online health and social care services.
  • Enhancing emotion regulation with an in situ socially assistive robot among LGBTQ+ youth with self-harm ideation: Protocol for a randomised controlled trial

    Williams, A. Jess (2024)
    INTRODUCTION: Purrble, a socially assistive robot, was codesigned with children to support in situ emotion regulation. Preliminary evidence has found that LGBTQ+ youth are receptive to Purrble and find it to be an acceptable intervention to assist with emotion dysregulation and their experiences of self-harm. The present study is designed to evaluate the impact of access to Purrble among LGBTQ+ youth who have self-harmful thoughts, when compared with waitlist controls. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The study is a single-blind, randomised control trial comparing access to the Purrble robot with waitlist control. A total of 168 LGBTQ+ youth aged 16-25 years with current self-harmful ideation will be recruited, all based within the UK. The primary outcome is emotion dysregulation (Difficulties with Emotion Regulation Scale-8) measured weekly across a 13-week period, including three pre-deployment timepoints. Secondary outcomes include self-harm (Self-Harm Questionnaire), anxiety (Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7) and depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9). We will conduct analyses using linear mixed models to assess primary and secondary hypotheses. Intervention participants will have unlimited access to Purrble over the deployment period, which can be used as much or as little as they like. After all assessments, control participants will receive their Purrble, with all participants keeping the robot after the end of the study. After the study has ended, a subset of participants will be invited to participate in semistructured interviews to explore engagement and appropriation of Purrble, considering the young people's own views of Purrble as an intervention device. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was received from King's College London (RESCM-22/23-34570). Findings will be disseminated in peer review open access journals and at academic conferences. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT06025942.
  • Understanding public perceptions of virtual reality psychological therapy using the attitudes towards Virtual Reality Therapy (AVRT) Scale: Mixed methods development study

    Gomez Bergin, Aislinn D.
    BACKGROUND: Virtual reality (VR) psychological therapy has the potential to increase access to evidence-based mental health interventions by automating their delivery while maintaining outcomes. However, it is unclear whether these more automated therapies are acceptable to potential users of mental health services. OBJECTIVE: The main aim of this study was to develop a new, validated questionnaire to measure public perceptions of VR therapy (VRT) guided by a virtual coach. We also aimed to explore these perceptions in depth and test how aspects such as familiarity with VR and mental health are associated with these perceptions, using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. METHODS: We used a cross-sectional mixed methods design and conducted an exploratory factor analysis of a questionnaire that we developed, the Attitudes Towards Virtual Reality Therapy (AVRT) Scale, and a qualitative content analysis of the data collected through free-text responses during completion of the questionnaire. RESULTS: We received 295 responses and identified 4 factors within the AVRT Scale, including attitudes toward VRT, expectation of presence, preference for VRT, and cost-effectiveness. We found that being more familiar with VR was correlated with more positive attitudes toward VRT (factor 1), a higher expectation of presence (factor 2), a preference for VRT over face-to-face therapy (factor 3), and a belief that VRT is cost-effective (factor 4). Qualitative data supported the factors we identified and indicated that VRT is acceptable when delivered at home and guided by a virtual coach. CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first to validate a scale to explore attitudes toward VRT guided by a virtual coach. Our findings indicate that people are willing to try VRT, particularly because it offers increased access and choice, and that as VR becomes ubiquitous, they will also have positive attitudes toward VRT. Future research should further validate the AVRT Scale.
  • Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of online recorded recovery narratives in improving quality of life for people with non-psychotic mental health problems: A pragmatic randomized controlled trial

    Slade, Mike; Rennick-Egglestone, Stefan; Ali, Yasmin; Yeo, Caroline; Ng, Fiona; Llewellyn-Beardsley, Joy (2024)
    Narratives describing first-hand experiences of recovery from mental health problems are widely available. Emerging evidence suggests that engaging with mental health recovery narratives can benefit people experiencing mental health problems, but no randomized controlled trial has been conducted as yet. We developed the Narrative Experiences Online (NEON) Intervention, a web application providing self-guided and recommender systems access to a collection of recorded mental health recovery narratives (n=659). We investigated whether NEON Intervention access benefited adults experiencing non-psychotic mental health problems by conducting a pragmatic parallel-group randomized trial, with usual care as control condition. The primary endpoint was quality of life at week 52 assessed by the Manchester Short Assessment (MANSA). Secondary outcomes were psychological distress, hope, self-efficacy, and meaning in life at week 52. Between March 9, 2020 and March 26, 2021, we recruited 1,023 participants from across England (the target based on power analysis was 994), of whom 827 (80.8%) identified as White British, 811 (79.3%) were female, 586 (57.3%) were employed, and 272 (26.6%) were unemployed. Their mean age was 38.4±13.6 years. Mood and/or anxiety disorders (N=626, 61.2%) and stress-related disorders (N=152, 14.9%) were the most common mental health problems. At week 52, our intention-to-treat analysis found a significant baseline-adjusted difference of 0.13 (95% CI: 0.01-0.26, p=0.041) in the MANSA score between the intervention and control groups, corresponding to a mean change of 1.56 scale points per participant, which indicates that the intervention increased quality of life. We also detected a significant baseline-adjusted difference of 0.22 (95% CI: 0.05-0.40, p=0.014) between the groups in the score on the "presence of meaning" subscale of the Meaning in Life Questionnaire, corresponding to a mean change of 1.1 scale points per participant. We found an incremental gain of 0.0142 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) (95% credible interval: 0.0059 to 0.0226) and a £178 incremental increase in cost (95% credible interval: -£154 to £455) per participant, generating an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £12,526 per QALY compared with usual care. This was lower than the £20,000 per QALY threshold used by the National Health Service in England, indicating that the intervention would be a cost-effective use of health service resources. In the subgroup analysis including participants who had used specialist mental health services at baseline, the intervention both reduced cost (-£98, 95% credible interval: -£606 to £309) and improved QALYs (0.0165, 95% credible interval: 0.0057 to 0.0273) per participant as compared to usual care. We conclude that the NEON Intervention is an effective and cost-effective new intervention for people experiencing non-psychotic mental health problems.
  • Healthcare professionals' experiences of recovery-oriented collaboration between mental health centres and municipalities: A qualitative study

    Watson, Emma (2024)
    Collaboration within mental health centres and with municipalities in Western European healthcare has presented challenges due to structural and cultural disparities. The Danish healthcare system faces obstacles that impact mental healthcare services, particularly in cross-sectorial cooperation. Our aim was to investigate healthcare professionals' experiences of recovery-oriented collaboration within a mental healthcare setting across hospitals and municipalities to gather a deeper understanding of this issue. Twenty-four employees were purposively sampled from mental health centres in Copenhagen and focus group interviews were conducted to explore their perceptions of working together. Inductive content analysis was used to analyse the data and identify themes and categories. The participants emphasised challenges in communication and coordination to improve collaboration within across the two sectors. This study can contribute to a greater understanding of collaboration between mental health centres and municipalities. It aims to inspire improvements in communication, coordination, and the optimisation of mental health service delivery across sectors.
  • Engagement With a remote symptom-tracking platform among participants with major depressive disorder: Randomized controlled trial

    Williams, Laura (2024)
    BACKGROUND: Multiparametric remote measurement technologies (RMTs), which comprise smartphones and wearable devices, have the potential to revolutionize understanding of the etiology and trajectory of major depressive disorder (MDD). Engagement with RMTs in MDD research is of the utmost importance for the validity of predictive analytical methods and long-term use and can be conceptualized as both objective engagement (data availability) and subjective engagement (system usability and experiential factors). Positioning the design of user interfaces within the theoretical framework of the Behavior Change Wheel can help maximize effectiveness. In-app components containing information from credible sources, visual feedback, and access to support provide an opportunity to promote engagement with RMTs while minimizing team resources. Randomized controlled trials are the gold standard in quantifying the effects of in-app components on engagement with RMTs in patients with MDD. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to evaluate whether a multiparametric RMT system with theoretically informed notifications, visual progress tracking, and access to research team contact details could promote engagement with remote symptom tracking over and above the system as usual. We hypothesized that participants using the adapted app (intervention group) would have higher engagement in symptom monitoring, as measured by objective and subjective engagement. METHODS: A 2-arm, parallel-group randomized controlled trial (participant-blinded) with 1:1 randomization was conducted with 100 participants with MDD over 12 weeks. Participants in both arms used the RADAR-base system, comprising a smartphone app for weekly symptom assessments and a wearable Fitbit device for continuous passive tracking. Participants in the intervention arm (n=50, 50%) also had access to additional in-app components. The primary outcome was objective engagement, measured as the percentage of weekly questionnaires completed during follow-up. The secondary outcomes measured subjective engagement (system engagement, system usability, and emotional self-awareness). RESULTS: The levels of completion of the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 (PHQ-8) were similar between the control (67/97, 69%) and intervention (66/97, 68%) arms (P value for the difference between the arms=.83, 95% CI -9.32 to 11.65). The intervention group participants reported slightly higher user engagement (1.93, 95% CI -1.91 to 5.78), emotional self-awareness (1.13, 95% CI -2.93 to 5.19), and system usability (2.29, 95% CI -5.93 to 10.52) scores than the control group participants at follow-up; however, all CIs were wide and included 0. Process evaluation suggested that participants saw the in-app components as helpful in increasing task completion. CONCLUSIONS: The adapted system did not increase objective or subjective engagement in remote symptom tracking in our research cohort. This study provides an important foundation for understanding engagement with RMTs for research and the methodologies by which this work can be replicated in both community and clinical settings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04972474; INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): RR2-10.2196/32653.
  • Para-infectious brain injury in COVID-19 persists at follow-up despite attenuated cytokine and autoantibody responses

    Kyaw, Sandar (2023)
    To understand neurological complications of COVID-19 better both acutely and for recovery, we measured markers of brain injury, inflammatory mediators, and autoantibodies in 203 hospitalised participants; 111 with acute sera (1-11 days post-admission) and 92 convalescent sera (56 with COVID-19-associated neurological diagnoses). Here we show that compared to 60 uninfected controls, tTau, GFAP, NfL, and UCH-L1 are increased with COVID-19 infection at acute timepoints and NfL and GFAP are significantly higher in participants with neurological complications. Inflammatory mediators (IL-6, IL-12p40, HGF, M-CSF, CCL2, and IL-1RA) are associated with both altered consciousness and markers of brain injury. Autoantibodies are more common in COVID-19 than controls and some (including against MYL7, UCH-L1, and GRIN3B) are more frequent with altered consciousness. Additionally, convalescent participants with neurological complications show elevated GFAP and NfL, unrelated to attenuated systemic inflammatory mediators and to autoantibody responses. Overall, neurological complications of COVID-19 are associated with evidence of neuroglial injury in both acute and late disease and these correlate with dysregulated innate and adaptive immune responses acutely. Copyright © 2023, The Author(s).
  • Connectivity-guided intermittent theta burst versus repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment-resistant depression: A randomized controlled trial

    Webster, Lucy; Bates, Peter; Lankappa, Sudheer (2024)
    Disruption in reciprocal connectivity between the right anterior insula and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is associated with depression and may be a target for neuromodulation. In a five-center, parallel, double-blind, randomized controlled trial we personalized resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging neuronavigated connectivity-guided intermittent theta burst stimulation (cgiTBS) at a site based on effective connectivity from the right anterior insula to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. We tested its efficacy in reducing the primary outcome depression symptoms measured by the GRID Hamilton Depression Rating Scale 17-item over 8, 16 and 26 weeks, compared with structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) neuronavigated repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) delivered at the standard stimulation site (F3) in patients with 'treatment-resistant depression'. Participants were randomly assigned to 20 sessions over 4-6 weeks of either cgiTBS (n = 128) or rTMS (n = 127) with resting-state functional MRI at baseline and 16 weeks. Persistent decreases in depressive symptoms were seen over 26 weeks, with no differences between arms on the primary outcome GRID Hamilton Depression Rating Scale 17-item score (intention-to-treat adjusted mean, -0.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.87, 1.24, P = 0.689). Two serious adverse events were possibly related to TMS (mania and psychosis). MRI-neuronavigated cgiTBS and rTMS were equally effective in patients with treatment-resistant depression over 26 weeks (trial registration no. ISRCTN19674644).
  • A scoping review of remote group-based psychological interventions for people after transient ischemic attack and stroke

    Kontou, Eirini; Lee, Abigail R.; Thorpe, Naomi (2024)
    Background Mental health and quality of life are commonly affected following a stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) diagnosis, although many people are discharged without clear information about their psychological impact. Evidence suggests psychological interventions can be successfully delivered via remote methods (e.g. videoconferencing, telephone). However, it is unclear whether such interventions are effective for people post-stroke/TIA. This scoping review aimed to identify current evidence for remote group-based psychological interventions for people following TIA and stroke. Methods Four electronic databases (MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Scopus) were searched for articles on online group psychological interventions post-TIA and stroke. Four reviewers independently screened titles, abstracts and full texts, then two authors extracted data for included studies. A bespoke data extraction form was used to describe interventions, informed by Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklists. Results The search yielded 1333 studies, from which six were included in the review. Four were feasibility studies (two randomised controlled trials, two single-group pre-/post-design). All interventions targeted stroke survivors; no studies targeted people with TIA. Delivery methods included teleconferencing, videoconferencing, an online platform (virtual multiuser world) and a hybrid approach using videoconferencing and face-to-face visits. Remote intervention components were delivered in the community or at participants’ homes. All studies included a mood measure. Improvement in mood and/or quality of life was reported across the four studies. Conclusions More research is needed to explore and confirm the potential benefits of remote delivery of group psychological interventions following stroke and TIA. Better reporting of implementation barriers/facilitators and more high-quality research are required to determine the effectiveness of remote interventions.
  • Comorbid health conditions and their impact on social isolation, loneliness, quality of life, and well-being in people with dementia: Longitudinal findings from the IDEAL programme

    Sabatini, Serena; Pentecost, Claire (2024)
    BACKGROUND: Most people with dementia have multiple health conditions. This study explores (1) number and type of health condition(s) in people with dementia overall and in relation to age, sex, dementia type, and cognition; (2) change in number of health conditions over two years; and (3) whether over time the number of health conditions at baseline is related to social isolation, loneliness, quality of life, and/or well-being. METHODS: Longitudinal data from the IDEAL (Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life) cohort were used. Participants comprised people with dementia (n = 1490) living in the community (at baseline) in Great Britain. Health conditions using the Charlson Comorbidity Index, cognition, social isolation, loneliness, quality of life, and well-being were assessed over two years. Mixed effects modelling was used. RESULTS: On average participants had 1.8 health conditions at baseline, excluding dementia; increasing to 2.5 conditions over two years. Those with vascular dementia or mixed (Alzheimer's and vascular) dementia had more health conditions than those with Alzheimer's disease. People aged ≥ 80 had more health conditions than those aged < 65 years. At baseline having more health conditions was associated with increased loneliness, poorer quality of life, and poorer well-being, but was either minimally or not associated with cognition, sex, and social isolation. Number of health conditions had either minimal or no influence on these variables over time. CONCLUSIONS: People with dementia in IDEAL generally had multiple health conditions and those with more health conditions were lonelier, had poorer quality of life, and poorer well-being.
  • Investigating the feasibility, acceptability, and appropriation of a socially assistive robot among minority youth at risk of self-harm: Results of 2 mixed methods pilot studies

    Townsend, Ellen; Naeche, Nkem; Chapman-Nisar, Amelia; Hollis, Chris P. (2023)
    BACKGROUND: Minority youth are at an increased risk of experiencing self-harmful thoughts and behaviors. However, there is limited evidence of successful interventions to support young people in the moment of their distress. Digital interventions are considered a potential solution for providing in-the-moment support for those at risk of adverse mental health and self-harm. OBJECTIVE: These pilot studies aim to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of a new in situ intervention tool, Purrble, among two broad groups of minority youth: (1) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and similar minority (LGBTQ+) youth and (2) racial and ethnic minority youth. Purrble was designed to support in-situ emotion regulation (ER) support when individuals are facing emotionally challenging situations. METHODS: This study consisted of 2 mixed methods pilot studies that followed the same mixed methods design, including 3 weeks of daily and weekly surveys and optional follow-up interviews. Inclusion criteria were (1) aged between 16 and 25 years, (2) part of a minority group, (3) had experiences of self-harmful thoughts or behaviors or elevated symptoms of depression or anxiety, and (4) living in the United Kingdom at the time of the study. The primary outcomes were (1) the feasibility of Purrble as an intervention among pilot samples (analyzed by consent rate, retention rate, adherence to surveys, and engagement with the device) and (2) the acceptability and appropriation of Purrble across pilot studies as a tool to support ER in situ (thematically analyzed qualitative open-ended questions and interview data). The secondary outcomes were descriptive pilot data concerning the mental health outcomes in each sample. RESULTS: In total, 21 LGBTQ+ young people participated in pilot study 1, with 86% (n=18) completing the baseline and 3 weeks of daily surveys. These young people maintained engagement with Purrble across deployment, across which period there was a decrease in self-harmful thoughts and anxiety symptoms. A total of 19 ethnic and racial minority youths participated in pilot study 2, and 84% (n=16) completed the study. Although pilot study 2 participants also maintained engagement with Purrble across deployment, this was to a lesser degree than participants of pilot study 1, and perceived mental health outcomes did not indicate potential change associated with the device. The thematic analysis indicated three superordinate themes: (1) stopping the self-harm cycle, (2) adopting ER strategies, and (3) stages of change. CONCLUSIONS: These were the first pilot studies of a novel intervention that aimed to provide in situ ER support for young people at risk of self-harm. Both quantitative and qualitative findings indicate that young people found Purrble to be a feasible and acceptable intervention, as they effectively incorporated the device into their ER practices. These engagements with Purrble were described as interrupting the cycle of self-harmful ideation and behavior.
  • Service delivery interventions to improve maternal and newborn health in low- and middle-income countries: Scoping review of quality improvement, implementation research and health system strengthening approaches

    Todowede, Olamide (2023)
    INTRODUCTION: This review explores the characteristics of service delivery-related interventions to improve maternal and newborn health (MNH) in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) over the last two decades, comparing three common framings of these interventions, namely, quality improvement (QI), implementation science/research (IS/IR), and health system strengthening (HSS). METHODS: The review followed the staged scoping review methodology proposed by Levac et al. (2010). We developed and piloted a systematic search strategy, limited to English language peer-reviewed articles published on LMICs between 2000 and March 2022. Analysis was conducted in two-quantitative and qualitative-phases. In the quantitative phase, we counted the year of publication, country(-ies) of origin, and the presence of the terms 'quality improvement', 'health system strengthening' or 'implementation science'/ 'implementation research' in titles, abstracts and key words. From this analysis, a subset of papers referred to as 'archetypes' (terms appearing in two or more of titles, abstract and key words) was analysed qualitatively, to draw out key concepts/theories and underlying mechanisms of change associated with each approach. RESULTS: The searches from different databases resulted in a total of 3,323 hits. After removal of duplicates and screening, a total of 231 relevant articles remained for data extraction. These were distributed across the globe; more than half (n = 134) were published since 2017. Fifty-five (55) articles representing archetypes of the approach (30 QI, 16 IS/IR, 9 HSS) were analysed qualitatively. As anticipated, we identified distinct patterns in each approach. QI archetypes tended towards defined process interventions (most typically, plan-do-study-act cycles); IS/IR archetypes reported a wide variety of interventions, but had in common evaluation methodologies and explanatory theories; and HSS archetypes adopted systemic perspectives. Despite their distinctiveness, there was also overlap and fluidity between approaches, with papers often referencing more than one approach. Recognising the complexity of improving MNH services, there was an increased orientation towards participatory, context-specific designs in all three approaches. CONCLUSIONS: Programmes to improve MNH outcomes will benefit from a better appreciation of the distinctiveness and relatedness of different approaches to service delivery strengthening, how these have evolved and how they can be combined.
  • "Nothing's changed, baby": How the mental health narratives of people with multiple and complex needs disrupt the recovery framework

    Llewellyn-Beardsley, Joy; Rennick-Egglestone, Stefan; Slade, Mike (2023)
    The dominant narrative in mental health policy and practice has shifted in the 21st century from one of chronic ill health to a 'recovery' orientation. Knowledge of recovery is based on narratives of people with lived experience of mental distress. However the narratives of people experiencing structural inequalities are under-represented in recovery research. Meanwhile, uses of recovery narratives have been critiqued by survivor-researchers as a co-option of lived experience to serve neoliberal agendas. To address these twin concerns, we undertook a performative narrative analysis of two 'recovery narratives' of people with multiple and complex needs, analysing their co-construction at immediate/micro and structural/macro levels. We found two contrasting responses to the invitation to tell a recovery story: a narrative of personal lack and a narrative of resistance. We demonstrate through reflexive worked examples how the genre of recovery narrative, focused on personal transformation, may function to occlude structural causes of mental distress and reinforce personal responsibility in the face of unchanging living conditions. We conclude that unacknowledged epistemological assumptions may contribute to co-constructing individualist accounts of recovery. A critical, reflexive approach, together with transparent researcher positionality, is imperative to avoid the epistemic injustice of a decontextualised form of recovery narrative.
  • Autonomic nervous system functioning in ADHD

    Groom, Madeleine J. (Springer International Publishing, 2023)
    In this chapter, we introduce the autonomic nervous system (ANS), discuss the mechanisms underlying arousal regulation in humans, and present theoretical frameworks suggesting that altered autonomic functioning is likely to contribute to behavioral, cognitive, and emotional difficulties experienced by people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The reviewed evidence in this chapter suggests that autonomic hypofunctioning and difficulties in regulating arousal according to situational demands may cause inattention, restlessness, reduced vigilance and cognitive difficulties (especially during monotonous and unrewarding activities), and emotional dysregulation and irritability in people with ADHD. Although the chapter is specifically focused on ADHD, we also provide the reader with an overview of the literature investigating autonomic dysfunction in psychiatric or psychological conditions that often co-occur with ADHD, including oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder, mood disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. We discuss the effects of pharmacological and nonpharmacological interventions for ADHD on autonomic functioning, and we propose that ADHD medication and some nonpharmacological interventions may be effective in reducing inattention and hyperactivity, and improving global functioning in people with ADHD, because they normalize activity of the ANS and improve arousal regulation. The concluding sections include a brief discussion about the possible implications of the findings presented in this chapter for clinical and research practice. Specifically, we stress the importance of clarifying, in future research, the role of altered autonomic functioning in ADHD, which could prove helpful for developing more efficient and valid assessment and intervention tools for people with this neurodevelopmental condition.
  • Autopsy of a failed trial part 2: Outcomes, challenges, and lessons learnt from the DAISIES trial

    Arcelus, Jon (2023)
    OBJECTIVE: The relative merits of inpatient or day-treatment for adults with anorexia nervosa (AN) are unknown. The DAISIES trial aimed to establish the non-inferiority of a stepped-care day patient treatment (DPT) approach versus inpatient treatment as usual (IP-TAU) for improving body mass index (BMI) at 12 months in adults with AN. The trial was terminated due to poor recruitment. This paper presents outcomes and investigates the reasons behind the trial's failure. METHOD: Fifteen patients with AN (of 53 approached) participated and were followed-up to 6 or 12 months. Summary statistics were calculated due to low sample size, and qualitative data concerning treatment experiences were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: At baseline, participants in both trial arms rated stepped-care DPT as more acceptable. At 12 months, participants' BMIs had increased in both trial arms. Qualitative analysis highlighted valued and challenging aspects of care across settings. Only 6/12 sites opened for recruitment. Among patients approached, the most common reason for declining participation was their treatment preference (n = 12/38). CONCLUSIONS: No conclusions can be drawn concerning the effectiveness of IP-TAU and stepped-care DPT, but the latter was perceived more positively. Patient-related, service-related and systemic factors (COVID-19) contributed to the trial's failure. Lessons learnt can inform future studies.
  • Assessment and treatment of compulsive exercise in anorexia nervosa - a combined investigation of compulsive exercise activity therapy (LEAP) and compulsive exercise test subscales

    Arcelus, Jon (2023)
    INTRODUCTION: Compulsive exercise is a transdiagnostic feature of eating disorders which adversely affects aspects of recovery, such as length of hospitalisation, risk of a chronic outcome, and risk of relapse. CompuLsive Exercise Activity TheraPy (LEAP) aims to reduce compulsive exercise through a cognitive behavioural approach. This study aims to investigate the effect of LEAP on compulsive exercise behaviour using subscales of the Compulsive Exercise Test (CET), a measure of exercise in individuals with eating disorders. Predictive validity of the CET's subscales and its ability to predict eating psychopathology are investigated. METHOD: This study used data from a randomized controlled trial of LEAP (1). Linear mixed modelling was used to investigate the effect of LEAP on compulsive exercise behaviour, and the predictive ability of CET subscales on various outcomes. The CET was compared to other exercise measures to assess its superiority in predicting eating psychopathology. RESULTS: LEAP was superior in reducing the scores of the CET's Avoidance and Rule Driven Behaviour and Exercise Rigidity subscales. All subscales made a contribution to the respective models. The CET was superior to other measures in predicting eating pathology. CONCLUSION: The results lend credibility to LEAP's ability to reduce core parts of compulsive exercise. The CET has been found to target important aspects of compulsive exercise behaviour, and has was superior to other exercise measures in predicting eating psychopathology.

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