Publications by authors named "Marta Gomez-Ramiro"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Duration of untreated illness and bipolar disorder: time for a new definition? Results from a cross-sectional study.

J Affect Disord 2021 Nov 22;294:513-520. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Bipolar and Depressive Disorders Unit, Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, 170 Villarroel st, 12-0, 08036, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Background: We primarily aimed to explore the associations between duration of untreated illness (DUI), treatment response, and functioning in a cohort of patients with bipolar disorder (BD).

Methods: 261 participants with BD were recruited. DUI was defined as months from the first affective episode to the start of a mood-stabilizer. The functioning assessment short test (FAST) scores and treatment response scores for lithium, valproate, or lamotrigine according to the Alda Scale Total Score (TS) were compared between patients with short (<24 months) or long DUI. Differences in FAST scores among good (GR; TS≥7), poor (PR; TS=2-6), or non-responders (NR; TS<2) to each mood-stabilizer were analyzed. Linear regression was computed using the FAST global score as the dependent variable.

Results: DUI and FAST scores showed no statistically significant correlation. Patients with a longer DUI showed poorer response to lithium (Z=-3.196; p<0.001), but not to valproate or lamotrigine. Response to lithium (β=-1.814; p<0.001), number of hospitalizations (β=0.237; p<0.001), and illness duration (β=0.160; p=0.028) were associated with FAST total scores. GR to lithium was associated with better global functioning compared to PR or NR [H=27.631; p<0.001].

Limitations: The retrospective design could expose our data to a recall bias. Also, only few patients were on valproate or lamotrigine treatment.

Conclusions: Poor functioning in BD could be the result of multiple affective relapses, rather than a direct effect of DUI. A timely diagnosis with subsequent effective prophylactic treatment, such as lithium, may prevent poor functional outcomes in real-world patients with BD.
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November 2021

Identifying clinical clusters with distinct trajectories in first-episode psychosis through an unsupervised machine learning technique.

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2021 Jun 30;47:112-129. Epub 2021 Jan 30.

Barcelona Clinic Schizophrenia Unit, Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, August Pi I Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS), Neuroscience Institute, University of Barcelona, Spain; Biomedical Research Networking Center for Mental Health Network (CIBERSAM), Spain.

The extreme variability in symptom presentation reveals that individuals diagnosed with a first-episode psychosis (FEP) may encompass different sub-populations with potentially different illness courses and, hence, different treatment needs. Previous studies have shown that sociodemographic and family environment factors are associated with more unfavorable symptom trajectories. The aim of this study was to examine the dimensional structure of symptoms and to identify individuals' trajectories at early stage of illness and potential risk factors associated with poor outcomes at follow-up in non-affective FEP. One hundred and forty-four non-affective FEP patients were assessed at baseline and at 2-year follow-up. A Principal component analysis has been conducted to identify dimensions, then an unsupervised machine learning technique (fuzzy clustering) was performed to identify clinical subgroups of patients. Six symptom factors were extracted (positive, negative, depressive, anxiety, disorganization and somatic/cognitive). Three distinct clinical clusters were determined at baseline: mild; negative and moderate; and positive and severe symptoms, and five at follow-up: minimal; mild; moderate; negative and depressive; and severe symptoms. Receiving a low-dose antipsychotic, having a more severe depressive symptomatology and a positive family history for psychiatric disorders were risk factors for poor recovery, whilst having a high cognitive reserve and better premorbid adjustment may confer a better prognosis. The current study provided a better understanding of the heterogeneous profile of FEP. Early identification of patients who could likely present poor outcomes may be an initial step for the development of targeted interventions to improve illness trajectories and preserve psychosocial functioning.
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June 2021

Changing trends in psychiatric emergency service admissions during the COVID-19 outbreak: Report from a worldwide epicentre.

J Affect Disord 2021 03 27;282:26-32. Epub 2020 Dec 27.

Bipolar and Depressive Disorders Unit, Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, 170 Villarroel st, 12-0, 08036 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Electronic address:

Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, a structural reorganization was imposed on public health systems. Psychiatry services were also affected with the imposed reduction of non-urgent consultations. We aim to explore the effect of these changes on a Psychiatry Emergency Service during COVID-19 lockdown in Spain.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on all patients admitted to our Psychiatric Emergency Service 90 days before and after March 14, 2020, the first day of lockdown in Spain. Extracted data were compared between the two periods. Poisson regression analysis was performed to analyze changes in admission rates.

Results: 1,958 psychiatric emergency admissions were analyzed. Although the number of admissions decreased by 37.9%, we observed a significant increase in the percentage of acute psychiatric hospitalization during the lockdown. Anxiety spectrum disorders accumulated the greatest significant decrease in admission rates during the lockdown. On the other hand, a significant increase in admissions rates was found in patients with dementia, autism spectrum disorders, and substance use disorders during the lockdown.

Limitations: This study was conducted in a single psychiatric emergency service, preventing a generalization of our results. The comparison time period might have biased our results due to the influence of external factors.

Conclusion: Mental health consequences of COVID-19 are becoming apparent. A reduction of admission rates for anxiety disorders might be related telepsychiatry implementation during the lockdown. Other conditions particularly vulnerable to the routine changes and lack of social support have suffered the most, and efforts should be placed to treat these situations.
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March 2021

Adverse outcomes during pregnancy and major congenital malformations in infants of patients with bipolar and schizoaffective disorders treated with antiepileptic drugs: A systematic review.

Psychiatr Pol 2019 Apr 30;53(2):223-244. Epub 2019 Apr 30.

Barcelona Bipolar Disorders Program, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain.

Objectives: Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), which are commonly used as a treatment for acute phases and prevention of relapses in bipolar disorder (BD) and schizoaffective disorder (SAD), have been often associated to adverse outcomes in pregnancy and major congenital malformations (MCM). We aimed to summarize available evidence assessing these outcomes when AEDs are used in pregnant women with BD and/or SAD.

Methods: We searched four databases from inception to 18 January, 2019. We included peer-reviewed observational studies on the use of AEDs in pregnant women with BD or SAD. We excluded studies not reporting data on BD or SAD, not specifying the AED or not assessing pregnancy outcomes or MCM.

Results: The pooled records amounted to 2,861. After duplicate removal and inclusion/exclusion criteria application, we included 9 observational studies assessing patients with BD and SAD. The AEDs evaluated were lamotrigine (LTG), valproate (VPA), carbamazepine (CBZ), oxcarbazepine (OXC), topiramate (TPR) and gabapentin (GBP). VPA and CBZ were the AED most commonly associated to MCM. LTG showed the best safety profile. Higher rates of complications during pregnancy were observed in treated and untreated women with BD compared to healthy controls.

Conclusions: AEDs may produce adverse outcomes in pregnancy and MCM in children of pregnant women with BD or SAD, showing higher risks at higher doses. LTG could be considered in this type of patients, given the low rate of adverse events. VPA and CBZ use should be avoided during pregnancy.
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April 2019

Food craving and consumption evolution in patients starting treatment with clozapine.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2019 Nov 13;236(11):3317-3327. Epub 2019 Jun 13.

Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi I Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Background: Antipsychotic-induced weight gain has been especially related to clozapine and olanzapine. Underlying mechanisms in relation to food preferences with an increased food craving and consumption of specific nutrients have not been extensively studied in patients with serious mental illness (SMI). We aim to describe specific food preferences (craving) and subsequent food consumption in SMI patients starting clozapine, as well as their possible relation to weight and body mass index (BMI).

Methods: An observational prospective follow-up study (18 weeks) was conducted in a cohort of 34 SMI patients who started clozapine due to resistant-psychotic symptoms. Anthropometric measures, Food Craving Inventory (FCI), and a food consumption frequency questionnaire were evaluated at baseline, weeks 8 and 18 of treatment. Statistical analysis included generalized estimating equations models with adjustment for potential confounding factors.

Results: No longitudinal changes over time were found across the different food craving scores after 18 weeks of treatment. However, adjusted models according to BMI status showed that the normal weight (NW) group presented an increased score for the "complex carbohydrates/proteins" food cravings (- 0.67; 95% CI [- 1.15, - 0.19]; P = 0.010), while baseline scores for "fast-food fats" cravings were significantly higher in the overweight/obese (OWO) group in comparison with NW patients (NW, 2.05; 95% CI [1.60, 2.49]; OWO, 2.81, 95% CI [2.37, 3.25]; P = 0.016). When considering if food craving could predict weight gain, only increments in "fast-food fats" cravings were associated (β = - 5.35 ± 1.67; 95% CI [- 8.64, - 2.06]; P = 0.001).

Conclusions: No longitudinal differences were found for any of the food craving scores evaluated; however, in the NW group, food craving for "complex carbohydrates/proteins" changed. Thus, changes in "fast-food fats" cravings predicted weight increase in this sample. Interventions targeting food preferences may help to mitigate weight gain in patients starting treatment with clozapine.
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November 2019