Publications by authors named "Martina Corsi"

23 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Work and social functioning in frontline healthcare workers during the covid-19 pandemic in Italy: role of acute post-traumatic stress, depressive and anxiety symptoms.

Riv Psichiatr 2021 Jul-Aug;56(4):189-197

Department of Occupational Health, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Pisa, Italy.

Background: Evidence highlights healthcare workers (HCWs) facing outbreaks, particularly the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, are at increased risk of negative mental health outcomes, particularly post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), anxiety and depression. Data from previous outbreaks highlighted the risk for a negative impact on HCWs' social and occupational functioning, but scant data have investigated this issue in the framework of the covid-19 pandemic. A number of effective interventions have been proposed to support mental health and well-being of HCWs in emerging infectious outbreaks, but it is important to acknowledge the differential impact of mental disorders on different dimensions of functioning.

Methods: The study explored the associations between work and social functioning and PTSS, depression and anxiety in a sample of 265 frontline HCWs employed at a major university hospital in Italy (Pisa), facing the first period of the covid-19 pandemic. Individuals were assessed by means of the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) for PTSS, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for depressive symptoms, the General Anxiety Disorder-7 Item (GAD-7) for anxiety symptoms and the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS) to assess work and social functioning.

Results: Higher levels of functioning impairment were found among individuals with moderate to severe acute PTSS, depressive and anxiety symptoms with respect to those without. Acute PTSS and depressive symptoms were predictive factors of impairment in each domain of functioning analyzed. Anxiety symptoms were associated with impairment in both work and home management activities. Frontline activity was associated with impairment in both private and social leisure activities.

Conclusions: Long-term perspective studies are warranted to better investigate the psychopathological burden on HCWs' work and social functioning and to promote adequate intervention strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1708/3654.36346DOI Listing
August 2021

Irritable Bowel Syndrome prevalence and work ability in a sample of healthcare workers exposed to occupational stress.

J Psychosom Res 2021 Sep 2;148:110566. Epub 2021 Jul 2.

Gastrointestinal Unit, Department of Translational Sciences and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Objective: Occupational stress represents a significant precipitating factor in different diseases but its role in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) needs to be clarified. The present cross-sectional study aimed at investigating the prevalence of IBS diagnosis in a sample of health workers and exploring the potential relationships between IBS, work-related stress levels and work ability.

Methods: 653 health workers undergoing periodical occupational health surveillance at the Occupational and Preventive Medicine Unit of a major University Hospital in central Italy, were consecutively recruited and screened for IBS diagnosis, according to ROMA IV criteria. The rating scales IBS Severity Scoring System (IBS-SSS), Demand-Control-Support Questionnaire (DCSQ) and Work Ability Index (WAI) were used to assess respectively IBS severity, occupational stress and work ability levels.

Results: IBS prevalence in the sample was 16.8%. Participants suffering from IBS were characterized by a higher prevalence of psychiatric diagnosis and sleep disturbances, higher levels of job strain and isostrain as well as by lower levels of work ability compared to non affected subjects. Moreover, the severity of IBS correlated positively with occupational stress and both were negatively associated with work ability.

Conclusions: The present results suggest the need for preventive, organizational and management strategies at workplace aimed at protecting the health and well-being but also productivity of the worker with IBS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2021.110566DOI Listing
September 2021

Validation of the Italian version of the peritraumatic distress inventory: validity, reliability and factor analysis in a sample of healthcare workers.

Eur J Psychotraumatol 2021 Mar 11;12(1):1879552. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Department of Occupational Health, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Pisa, Italy.

: Peritraumatic distress as assessed by the (PDI), has been consistently shown to predict the development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after the exposure to a potentially traumatizing event. : The present study aims to validate the Italian version of the PDI in a sample of Healthcare Workers (HCWs) exposed to COVID-19 related potentially traumatizing events. : = 265 HCWs who repeatedly experienced the deaths of patients during COVID-19 emergency in Italy, were enrolled from the Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana (Pisa, Italy). They completed the PDI, Impact Event Scale - revised (IES-R) and the Trauma and Loss Spectrum - Self Report (TALS-SR) domain. : Internal consistency was good with a Cronbach's alpha coefficient was .874. The PDI correlated strongly with measures that was conceptually close (TALS-SR domain; = .723, < .001). Participants who scored above the cut-off for PTSD reported significantly higher PDI scores than those who did not (6.47 ± 5.25 vs. 19.11 ± 8.291, < 0.001). The one-month test-retest reliability ( = 21) was excellent (ICC = .997). Finally, factor analyses revealed that the PDI exhibited a single-factor structure. : the Italian version of the PDI showed good psychometric proprieties and may be used to detect those at risk for developing PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2021.1879552DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8131065PMC
March 2021

Mental health of Health Care Workers (HCWs): a review of organizational interventions put in place by local institutions to cope with new psychosocial challenges resulting from COVID-19.

Psychiatry Res 2021 05 2;299:113847. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Occupational Health Department, U.O. Medicina Preventiva del Lavoro, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, 56124 Pisa (PI), Italy.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been associated with significant occupational stressors and challenges for healthcare workers (HCWs) including the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Many reports from all over the world have already found that HCWs have significant levels of self-reported anxiety, depression and even symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Therefore, supporting mental health of HCWs is a crucial part of the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the present review is to ascertain the interventions put in place worldwide in reducing stress in HCWs during the COVID-19 outbreak. We evidenced how only few countries have published specific psychological support intervention protocols for HCWs. All programs were developed in university associated hospitals and highlighted the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration. All of them had as their purpose to manage the psychosocial challenges to HCW's during the pandemic in order to prevent mental health problems.Whether one program offers distinct benefit compared to the others cannot be known given the heterogeneity of the protocols and the lack of a rigorous protocol and clinical outcomes. Further research is crucial to find out the best ways to support the resilience and mental well-being of HCWs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2021.113847DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7920813PMC
May 2021

PTSD in parents of children with severe diseases: a systematic review to face Covid-19 impact.

Ital J Pediatr 2021 Jan 14;47(1). Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Psychiatric Clinic, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Context: The literature agrees on the impact of post-traumatic stress symptoms in parents of seriously ill children but there is less clarity about the real extent and gender differences of this psychopathological risk. The recent Covid-19 outbreak highlighted new burdens for researchers on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and clear evidence-based knowledge on this issue is timely needed.

Objective: In this review, we present a synthesis of the updated evidence on PTSD rates in parents of children with severe diseases. We also aim to try to understand if research in this field has been refined over time with the long-term intent to better face the new challenges of Covid-19 in the paediatric field.

Data Sources: The PubMed database was searched.

Study Selection: Studies were included if they assessed PTSD in parents of children diagnosed with physical illnesses.

Data Extraction: Of 240 studies, 4 were included.

Results: Analysis of the 4 studies revealed 2 studies with PTSD rates around 20% and in line with previous best-evidence. All 4 studies tried to provide more data on fathers, however, all the studies present the lack of a control group.

Limitations: The limited number of studies, which also differ widely in the methodology used.

Conclusions: Methodological errors evidenced in all the 4 studies limit their reliability, making the understanding of the paediatric caregiver's concern regarding PTSD still difficult. More sound research is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13052-021-00957-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7807213PMC
January 2021

Sudden and persistent dysphonia within the framework of COVID-19: The case report of a nurse.

Brain Behav Immun Health 2020 Dec 15;9:100160. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Occupational Health Department, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, 56124, Pisa, PI, Italy.

In December 2019, clusters of atypical pneumonia with unknown etiology emerged in the city of Wuhan in China. In early January 2020, the Center for Disease Control in China announced that it was identified a new coronavirus, first tentatively named 2019-nCoV and officially named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. On February 11, 2020 the WHO identified the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 as COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease-19 based on the year of appearance). Although only a few months have passed since the beginning of this pandemic, numerous studies, case reports, reviews by leading international scientific and medical journals have been published. However, given the unpredictability of virus behaviour and the still limited knowledge about it, many aspects of the infection are still little known. A recent epidemiological study has shown the presence of dysphonia in some patients with COVID-19, with a minority reporting aphonia during the clinical course of the disease. This case study draws attention on a 50-year-old female nurse presented with a history of fatigue resulting from minor exertion and persistent dysphonia at the Occupational Health Department of a major University Hospital in central Italy. The patient had a history of COVID-19 infection, which lasted about two months with pulmonary and extrapulmonary symptoms. After two RT-PCR negativities for SARS-CoV-2, dysphonia and fatigue due to minor exertionpersisted. The patient, following the persistence of the symptomatology, was subject to numerous specialist examinations, which showed no organic alterations. Based on her clinical and instrumental history, we hypothesized a psychogenetic dysphonia related to COVID-19. This case report highlights the importance of personalized medicine with long-term follow-up and rubustpsychological support in patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and in particular in the categories at greatest risk of both contagion and adverse physical and mental outcomes like health care workers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbih.2020.100160DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7558225PMC
December 2020

PTSD and post-traumatic stress spectrum in the Italian Navy Operational Divers Group and corps of Coast Guard Divers employed in search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean refugees emergences and Costa Concordia shipwreck.

J Psychiatr Res 2020 10 13;129:141-146. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Psychiatric Clinic, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Via Roma 67, 56100, Pisa, Italy. Electronic address:

Rescue personnel is at high risk for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because of the possible repetitive exposition to "cruel details of traumatic events" (DSM-5). Literature reported PTSD rates in combat exposed veterans, although the Italian Navy military personnel has been frequently involved in no-war activities in most recent years, such as Search and Rescue (SAR) activities of civilians involved in catastrophic events. The study aimed at exploring the prevalence of PTSD and its impact on social and work functioning among divers of the Italian Navy employed in the SAR activities for the Costa Concordia shipwreck (2012), the collapsed control tower of the Genoa harbour (2013), and the "Mare Nostrum" and "Triton" immigrant emergency Operations in the Mediterranean Sea. The 85 Italian Navy and Coast Guard Divers on duty for these activities were involved in the study and forty fulfilled the assessments, including the: Impact Event Scale (IES-r), Trauma and Loss Spectrum Self-Report (TALS-SR) and Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS). In the three years before enrollment 77.5% of the sample (n = 31) performed at least one rescue operation, with full and partial DSM-5 PTSD rates being 7.5% and 22.5%, respectively. A correlation emerged between WSAS domains or total scores and TALS-SR score domains for PTSD. Rescue Navy personnel resulted to be at risk for post-traumatic stress symptoms, and these subthreshold PTSD manifestations appear to impact on functioning. Further studies are needed to better investigate PTSD risk and resilience factors in this particular group of workers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.07.003DOI Listing
October 2020

PTSD and Burnout are Related to Lifetime Mood Spectrum in Emergency Healthcare Operator.

Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health 2020 30;16:165-173. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Background: PTSD and burnout are frequent conditions among emergency healthcare personnel because exposed to repeated traumatic working experiences. Increasing evidence suggests high comorbidity between PTSD and mood symptoms, particularly depression, although the real nature of this relationship still remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between PTSD, burnout and lifetime mood spectrum, assessed by a specific scale, among health-care professionals of a major University Hospital in Italy.

Methods: N=110 Emergency Unit workers of the Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana (Pisa, Italy) were assessed by the TALS-SR, MOODS-SR lifetime version and the ProQOL R-IV.

Results: Approximately 60% of participants met at least one PTSD symptom criterion (criterion B, 63.4%; criterion C, 40.2%; criterion D 29.3%; criterion E, 26.8%), according to DSM-5 diagnosis. Almost sixteen percent of the sample reported a full symptomatic DSM-5 PTSD (work-related) diagnosis, and these showed significantly higher scores in all MOODS-SR depressive domains, as well as in the rhythmicity domain, compared with workers without PTSD. Further, mood-depressive and cognition-depressive MOODS-SR domains resulted to be predictive for PTSD. Significant correlations emerged between either PTSD diagnosis and criteria or ProQOL subscales and all the MOOD-SR domains.

Conclusion: A significant association emerged among PTSD, burnout and lifetime MOOD Spectrum, particularly the depressive component, in emergency health care operators, suggesting this population should be considered at-risk and undergo regular screenings for depression and PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1745017902016010165DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7431684PMC
July 2020

Professional Quality of Life and Mental Health Outcomes among Health Care Workers Exposed to Sars-Cov-2 (Covid-19).

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 08 26;17(17). Epub 2020 Aug 26.

Psychiatric Clinic, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Via Roma 67, 56100 Pisa, Italy.

The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global pandemic spreading worldwide, and Italy represented the first European country involved. Healthcare workers (HCWs) facing COVID-19 pandemic represented an at-risk population for new psychosocial COVID-19 strain and consequent mental health symptoms. The aim of the present study was to identify the possible impact of working contextual and personal variables (age, gender, working position, years of experience, proximity to infected patients) on professional quality of life, represented by compassion satisfaction (CS), burnout, and secondary traumatization (ST), in HCWs facing COVID-19 emergency. Further, two multivariable linear regression analyses were fitted to explore the association of mental health selected outcomes, anxiety and depression, with some personal and working characteristics that are COVID-19-related. A sample of 265 HCWs of a major university hospital in central Italy was consecutively recruited at the outpatient service of the Occupational Health Department during the acute phase of COVID-19 pandemic. HCWs were assessed by Professional Quality of Life-5 (ProQOL-5), the Nine-Item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and the Seven-Item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7) to evaluate, respectively, CS, burnout, ST, and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Females showed higher ST than males, while frontline staff and healthcare assistants reported higher CS rather than second-line staff and physicians, respectively. Burnout and ST, besides some work or personal variables, were associated to depressive or anxiety scores. The COVID-19 pandemic represents a new working challenge for HCWs and intervention strategies to prevent burnout and ST to reduce the risk of adverse mental health outcomes are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176180DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7504107PMC
August 2020

Challenges and management of neurological and psychiatric manifestations in SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) patients.

Neurol Sci 2020 Sep 6;41(9):2353-2366. Epub 2020 Aug 6.

Pediatric Neurology Unit, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy.

COVID-19 is a pandemic caused by human coronavirus (HCoV) SARS-CoV-2, which originated in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019 and spread globally during 2020. Due to the difficulty of clinical decision-making during this period, our study group reviewed current literature focusing on the neurological and psychiatric aspects of COVID-19. Despite the knowledge on this newly discovered virus which is constantly evolving, different pieces of evidence reported an association between COVID-19 and neurological symptoms like headache, dizziness, taste and smell disorders and complications involving the nervous system eventually triggered by the pathologic processes elicited by SARS-CoV-2. It seems that younger patients are less prone to develop severe forms of COVID-19. However, neurological signs have been reported in paediatric patients as well, and in some cases, the infection presented neurological sequelae. Furthermore, children with particular neurological diseases or treated with specific drugs (e.g. immune-suppressant therapies) must be carefully monitored during this pandemic. Neurologists should be aware of the main drug-drug interactions and the neurological side effects of COVID-19 treatments. Notably, adverse mental health impact has been reported in patients with SARS-CoV-2, which could be related either to the social strain or to the eventual neurotropic effects of the virus, which in other infections have been proven to promote the onset of psychiatric symptoms. Further, psychiatric population may be more vulnerable to the infection and at higher risk for adverse outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10072-020-04544-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7410516PMC
September 2020

Post-traumatic stress symptoms in an Italian cohort of subjects complaining occupational stress.

CNS Spectr 2021 Oct 14;26(5):513-520. Epub 2020 Jul 14.

Occupational Health Department, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Cisanello (Pisa), Italy.

Objective: Work-related stress presents a significant impact on work performance and physical health. It has been associated with the onset of a multitude of symptoms. The main aim of this investigation is to better understand the impact of post-traumatic stress symptomatology, using a specific self-assessment questionnaire, in subjects experiencing occupational stress with the rationale to address the variegated symptoms expressed by this particular population in a post-traumatic dimensional perspective.

Methods: Authors collected socio-demographic, occupational, and clinical data. They utilized Trauma and Loss Spectrum Self Report (TALS-SR), a questionnaire investigating post-traumatic stress symptoms. The population size was 345 subjects who presented at the Occupational Health Department of a university hospital over a 3 years period (2016-2018).

Results: Data analysis revealed 33.9% of subjects who met post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) criteria. Gender distribution of this set was (36.4% female, 31% male). A family history or personal history of mental disorders were related to higher scores in almost all TALS-SR domains and were related, respectively, to higher scores of criterion B "intrusion symptoms" (P = .014), criterion D "negative alterations in cognitions and mood" (P = .023), and criterion E "arousal" (P = .033) of PTSD. Differences in TALS-SR scores also emerged based on age and gender.

Conclusions: PTSD symptoms manifest at a significant level in those who experience work-related stress. Personal background of individuals, both in terms of family and personal history for mental disorders, seems to increase their vulnerability to develop post-traumatic stress symptoms. This study suggests the importance of evaluating occupational stress from a post-traumatic stress perspective also at an early stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1092852920001595DOI Listing
October 2021

Mania Following Bereavement: State of the Art and Clinical Evidence.

Front Psychiatry 2020 6;11:366. Epub 2020 May 6.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Bereavement is the state of loss, determined in most of the cases by the death of a close person. It is probably the greatest sorrow that can occur in an individual life. Grief is a normal, healthy response to loss, evolving through stages in the process of mourning. In some cases, bereavement may lead to the outburst of manic episode: despite literature data being scarce, reports have explored this important clinical entity, variously called as "funeral mania" or "bereavement mania". We systematically reviewed the literature exploring the possible relationships between bereavement and the onset of a manic episode, both first or recurrent pre-existing episode, besides describing a case report on a manic episode in the aftermath of a loss event, with an accurate evaluation of prior mild mood spectrum instability, supporting the role of loss-events as potential risk factor for bipolar illness progression. This article tries summarizing existing evidence on the debate whether clinicians should consider mania as a possible bereavement reaction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00366DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7218050PMC
May 2020

Mothers and fathers of children with epilepsy: gender differences in post-traumatic stress symptoms and correlations with mood spectrum symptoms.

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2018 25;14:1371-1379. Epub 2018 May 25.

Psychiatric Clinic.

Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post-traumatic stress spectrum have been recently applied to understand the impact of life-threatening disease or injury in one's child; nevertheless, scant data are available on a particular chronic illness such as epilepsy whose phenotypic expression is seizures, which are acute, sudden, and unpredictable manifestations. Subjects with bipolar disorders or with mood spectrum symptoms demonstrated to be more vulnerable to develop PTSD in the aftermath of a trauma.

Objectives: The main aim of this study was to evaluate post-traumatic symptoms among 134 parents of children with a diagnosis of epilepsy, followed at the outpatient neurologic unit of Department of Pediatrics in Santa Chiara Hospital in Pisa, as well as gender differences. The second aim of this study was to estimate the impact of lifetime mood spectrum on post-traumatic stress symptoms in the same study sample after fulfillment of the Trauma and Loss Spectrum-Self Report (TALS-SR) and the Mood Spectrum-Self Report (MOODS-SR) lifetime version.

Results: Results showed 10.4% and 37.3% of PTSD full and partial, respectively. Demographic characteristics and clinical features of the study sample did not show any impact on stress symptomatology. Mothers presented higher rates at all (DSM)-5 PTSD symptoms' clusters except avoidance. Nevertheless, noteworthy correlations between post-traumatic symptomatology and mood spectrum symptoms detected with the self-report tools, emerged only in the subgroup of the fathers.

Conclusion: These findings corroborate the need to provide assistance to caregivers of pediatric patients and confirm the hypothesis that lifetime mood spectrum may have an impact on reaction to traumas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S158249DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5973431PMC
May 2018

Exploring PTSD in emergency operators of a major University Hospital in Italy: a preliminary report on the role of gender, age, and education.

Ann Gen Psychiatry 2018 4;17:17. Epub 2018 May 4.

1Section of Psychiatry, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Via Roma 67, 56100 Pisa, Italy.

Background: Emergency services personnel face frequent exposure to potentially traumatic events, with the potential for chronic symptomatic distress. The DSM-5 recently recognized a particular risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among first responders (criterion A4) but data are still scarce on prevalence rates and correlates.

Objective: The aim of the present study was to explore the possible role of age, gender, and education training in a sample of emergency personnel diagnosed with DSM-5 PTSD.

Methods: The Trauma and Loss Spectrum-Self-Report (TALS-SR) and the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS) were administered to 42 between nurses and health care assistants, employed at the emergency room of a major University Hospital (Pisa) in Italy.

Results: 21.4% of the sample reported DSM-5 PTSD with significantly higher scores in the TALS-SR domain exploring the acute reaction to trauma and losses among health care assistants, older, and non-graduated subjects. A significant correlation between the number of the TALS-SR symptoms endorsed, corresponding to DSM-5 PTSD diagnostic criteria emerged in health care assistants.

Conclusions: Despite further studies are needed in larger samples, our data suggest a high risk for PTSD and post-traumatic stress spectrum symptoms in nurses and health care workers operating in an emergency department, particularly among health care assistants, women, older, and non-graduated operators.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12991-018-0184-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5935923PMC
May 2018

Polysubstance and Behavioral Addictions in a Patient with Bipolar Disorder: Role of Lifetime Subthreshold Autism Spectrum.

Case Rep Psychiatry 2018 22;2018:1547975. Epub 2018 Feb 22.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

This case report draws attention to the potential relevance of undetected autism spectrum symptoms in a bipolar patient with high work functioning showing a peculiar addictive profile with impulsive and antisocial behaviors. A 23-year-old man with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder (BD) and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) was hospitalized at the Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Pisa for diuretics and -2 adrenergic agonist abuse in a remission phase of benzodiazepines and substance abuse. He reported a history of behavioral addictions in the framework of a global high work functioning with particular skills in computer science. When assessed for adult autism spectrum symptoms, despite not fulfilling a DSM-5 diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), he reported a score of 93/240 at the Ritvo Autism and Asperger Diagnostic Scale (RAADS-r) and of 88/160 at the Adult Autism Subthreshold Spectrum (AdAS Spectrum), both indicative of ASD. We argue the possible role of adult subthreshold autism spectrum features, generally disregarded in adult psychiatry, in the peculiar addictive profile developed by this patient with BD that may deserve appropriate treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2018/1547975DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5842737PMC
February 2018

DSM-5 criteria for PTSD in parents of pediatric patients with epilepsy: What are the changes with respect to DSM-IV-TR?

Epilepsy Behav 2017 05 13;70(Pt A):97-103. Epub 2017 Apr 13.

Psychiatric Clinic, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Via Roma 67, 56100 Pisa, Italy. Electronic address:

Increasing literature suggests the need to explore for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post-traumatic stress symptoms in parents and caregivers of children with acute and chronic illnesses but scant data are available on epilepsy. The aim of the present study was to estimate full and partial PTSD rates among parents of children with epilepsy comparing DSM-5 and DSM-IV-TR criteria. Further, the aim of the present study was to examine possible gender differences between mothers and fathers. Results showed 9.1% and 12.1% PTSD rates in the total sample, according to DSM-5 or DSM-IV-TR criteria, respectively, with an overall consistency of 92.9% (Kohen's K=0.628, p=.453). Significant gender differences emerged for Avoidance/Numbing and Hyperarousal symptoms diagnosed by means of DSM-IV-TR criteria, as well as for Negative alterations in cognitions/mood and Hyperarousal symptoms, when adopting DSM-5 criteria. This study underscores the relevance of detecting PTSD in parents of children with a chronic illness such as epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2017.02.025DOI Listing
May 2017

Clozapine combined with different antipsychotic drugs for treatment-resistant schizophrenia.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2017 03 23;3:CD006324. Epub 2017 Mar 23.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK.

Background: Between 40% and 70% of people with treatment-resistant schizophrenia do not respond to clozapine, despite adequate blood levels. For these people, a number of treatment strategies have emerged, including the prescription of a second anti-psychotic drug in combination with clozapine.

Objectives: To determine the clinical effects of various clozapine combination strategies with antipsychotic drugs in people with treatment-resistant schizophrenia both in terms of efficacy and tolerability.

Search Methods: We searched the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group's Study-Based Register of Trials (to 28 August 2015) and MEDLINE (November 2008). We checked the reference lists of all identified randomised controlled trials (RCT). For the first version of the review, we also contacted pharmaceutical companies to identify further trials.

Selection Criteria: We included only RCTs recruiting people of both sexes, aged 18 years or more, with a diagnosis of treatment-resistant schizophrenia (or related disorders) and comparing clozapine plus another antipsychotic drug with clozapine plus a different antipsychotic drug.

Data Collection And Analysis: We extracted data independently. For dichotomous data, we calculated risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) on an intention-to-treat basis using a random-effects meta-analysis. For continuous data, we calculated mean differences (MD) and 95% CIs. We used GRADE to create 'Summary of findings' tables and assessed risk of bias for included studies.

Main Results: We identified two further studies with 169 participants that met our inclusion criteria. This review now includes five studies with 309 participants. The quality of evidence was low, and, due to the high degree of heterogeneity between studies, we were unable to undertake a formal meta-analysis to increase the statistical power.For this update, we specified seven main outcomes of interest: clinical response in mental state (clinically significant response, mean score/change in mental state), clinical response in global state (mean score/change in global state), weight gain, leaving the study early (acceptability of treatment), service utilisation outcomes (hospital days or admissions to hospital) and quality of life.We found some significant differences between clozapine combination strategies for global and mental state (clinically significant response and change), and there were data for leaving the study early and weight gain. We found no data for service utilisation and quality of life. Clozapine plus aripiprazole versus clozapine plus haloperidolThere was no long-term significant difference between aripiprazole and haloperidol combination strategies in change of mental state (1 RCT, n = 105, MD 0.90, 95% CI -4.38 to 6.18, low quality evidence). There were no adverse effect data for weight gain but there was a benefit of aripiprazole for adverse effects measured by the LUNSERS at 12 weeks (1 RCT, n = 105, MD -4.90, 95% CI -8.48 to -1.32) and 24 weeks (1 RCT, n = 105, MD -4.90, 95% CI -8.25 to -1.55), but not 52 weeks (1 RCT, n = 105, MD -4.80, 95% CI -9.79 to 0.19). Similar numbers of participants from each group left the study early (1 RCT, n = 106, RR 1.27, 95% CI 0.72 to 2.22, very low quality evidence). Clozapine plus amisulpride versus clozapine plus quetiapine One study showed a significant benefit of amisulpride over quetiapine in the short term, for both change in global state (Clinical Global Impression (CGI): 1 RCT, n = 50, MD -0.90, 95% CI -1.38 to -0.42, very low quality evidence) and mental state (Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS): 1 RCT, n = 50, MD -4.00, 95% CI -5.86 to -2.14, low quality evidence). Similar numbers of participants from each group left the study early (1 RCT, n = 56, RR 0.20, 95% CI 0.02 to 1.60, very low quality evidence) Clozapine plus risperidone versus clozapine plus sulpirideThere was no difference between risperidone and sulpiride for clinically significant response, defined by the study as 20% to 50% reduction in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) (1 RCT, n = 60, RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.40 to 1.68, very low quality evidence). There were similar equivocal results for weight gain (1 RCT, n = 60, RR 0.40, 95% CI 0.08 to 1.90, very low quality evidence) and mental state (PANSS total: 1 RCT, n = 60, MD -2.28, 95% CI -7.41 to 2.85, very low quality evidence). No-one left the study early. Clozapine plus risperidone versus clozapine plus ziprasidoneThere was no difference between risperidone and ziprasidone for clinically significant response (1 RCT, n = 24, RR 0.80, 95% CI 0.28 to 2.27, very low quality evidence), change in global state CGI-II score (1 RCT, n = 22, MD -0.30, 95% CI -0.82 to 0.22, very low quality evidence), change in PANSS total score (1 RCT, n = 16, MD 1.00, 95% CI -7.91 to 9.91, very low quality evidence) or leaving the study early (1 RCT, n = 24, RR 1.60, 95% CI 0.73 to 3.49, very low quality evidence). Clozapine plus ziprasidone versus clozapine plus quetiapineOne study found, in the medium term, a superior effect for ziprasidone combination compared with quetiapine combination for clinically significant response in mental state (> 50% reduction PANSS: 1 RCT, n = 63, RR 0.54, 95% CI 0.35 to 0.81, low quality evidence), global state (CGI - Severity score: 1 RCT, n = 60, MD -0.70, 95% CI -1.18 to -0.22, low quality evidence) and mental state (PANSS total score: 1 RCT, n = 60, MD -12.30, 95% CI -22.43 to -2.17, low quality evidence). There was no effect for leaving the study early (1 RCT, n = 63, RR 0.52, CI 0.05 to 5.41, very low quality evidence).

Authors' Conclusions: The reliability of results from this review is limited, evidence is of low or very low quality. Furthermore, due to the limited number of included studies, we were unable to undertake formal meta-analyses. As a consequence, any conclusions drawn from these findings are based on single, small-sized RCTs with high risk of type II error. Properly conducted and adequately powered RCTs are required. Future trialists should seek to measure patient-important outcomes such as quality of life, as well as clinical response and adverse effects.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6464566PMC
March 2017

Quality and impact of secondary information in promoting evidence-based clinical practice: a cross-sectional study about EBMH.

Evid Based Ment Health 2016 08 12;19(3):82-5. Epub 2016 Jul 12.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK.

Background: All mental health professionals are encouraged to practise evidence-based medicine, but in an era of overwhelming research output, information management is key. Until now, no one has assessed the role of secondary journals, which aim to synthesise and present recent evidence, so as to promote evidence-based practice.

Objective: We conducted a cross-sectional study via an online survey, to evaluate the quality of the content of Evidence-Based Mental Health (EBMH), as an example of a secondary journal, and the impact it has on evidence-based practice.

Methods: We sent an online questionnaire to the commentators and the original study authors of all commentaries published in EBMH over the past 5 years (from 2011 to 2015, inclusive). The questions primarily concerned the quality of the included papers and their respective commentary, in addition to the ability of the commentaries to help disseminate research findings and promote evidence-based practice.

Findings: We sent out 894 anonymous questionnaires and the overall response rate was 30%. The commentator and study author groups were largely homogeneous. Both groups were satisfied with the format and content of the commentaries, although over 60% of the authors were unaware of the commentary on their study before the survey. Notably, 80% of authors and 87% of commentators felt that the commentaries were useful in disseminating the findings of the original studies and implementing evidence-based practice.

Conclusions And Clinical Implications: The commentators and original study authors view EBMH not as a vehicle for criticism, but instead as a trustworthy publication that crystallises important findings and presents them in digestible form with the aim of promoting key advances in mental health. Next, we aim to assess the extent to which the readership of this journal agrees.
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August 2016

Serum uric acid levels and different phases of illness in bipolar I patients treated with lithium.

Psychiatry Res 2015 Feb 17;225(3):604-8. Epub 2014 Dec 17.

Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Via Savi 10, Pisa, Italy.

Recent findings support the role of purinergic system dysfunction in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (BD). The present study aimed to evaluate the pattern of serum uric acid levels in a sample of 98 BD I patients followed-up prospectively in a naturalistic study and treated with lithium monotherapy or in association with other mood stabilizers (valproate or carbamazepine), in relation to different phases of illness and to pharmacological treatment. The results showed that uric acid levels were significantly higher in patients suffering from a manic/mixed episode, than in those euthymic or during a depressive phase. Further, these levels were related to the Clinical Global Impression-Bipolar Version (CGI-BP) scale score for the severity of manic symptoms. A positive correlation was found also with male sex and with serum lithium levels. These findings suggest that a dysregulation of the purinergic system may occur during manic/mixed episodes, and they support a possible role of serum uric acid levels as a state-dependent marker of BD manic phases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2014.11.038DOI Listing
February 2015

Complicated grief and manic comorbidity in the aftermath of the loss of a son.

J Psychiatr Pract 2013 Sep;19(5):419-28

CARMASSI, SOCCI, CORSI, and DELL'OSSO: University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy; SHEAR: Columbia University School of Social Work, New York; FIRST: Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Based on the recommendations of the sub-workgroup on trauma and dissociative disorders, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed the "bereavement exclusion" from the criteria for major depression in DSM-5. In addition, proposed DSM-5 research criteria for persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD) were included in the new manual in a section for conditions and criteria needing further research. We describe a case that warranted such a diagnosis. The patient was a 52- year-old woman who was admitted to the inpatient unit of our clinic on the birthday of her son who had died 18 months earlier. She was diagnosed with a manic episode with psychotic symptoms according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria and was treated accordingly. Three months after discharge, she made a suicide attempt and was admitted and re-assessed. During this admission, she completed the Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG), the Mood-Spectrum Rating Scale (MOODS-SR), and the Trauma and Loss Spectrum questionnaire (TALS-SR). She endorsed symptoms of intense yearning for her son, feelings of shock and disbelief, anger and bitterness related to his death, estrangement from others, auditory, tactile and visual hallucinations of the deceased, and intense emotional reactivity to memories of her son. These symptoms were sufficiently prolonged and severe to meet criteria for complicated grief. While complicated grief appeared to be the primary diagnosis for this patient, when she was diagnosed using only DSMIV-TR criteria, her treatment failed to address herprimary problem. This case draws attention to the occurrence of manic-like symptoms as well as depression-like manifestations following bereavement and highlights the importance of including the syndrome of complicated grief in the diagnostic nomenclature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.pra.0000435042.13921.73DOI Listing
September 2013

Prescribing patterns of lithium or lithium+valproate in manic or mixed episodes: a naturalistic study.

Int Clin Psychopharmacol 2013 Nov;28(6):305-11

Departments of aTranslational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery bClinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

The present study aimed to identify the prescribing patterns of lithium or of lithium+valproate in 75 bipolar I outpatients in a manic or a mixed phase within a naturalistic setting. The differences between the two treatments and the correlation between serum lithium levels and response were also examined. The results showed that patients with lithium levels of 0.60 mEq/l or more had higher remission rates and greater symptom reduction than the other patients. Patients on lithium and valproate showed greater improvement in mixed, anxiety, and psychotic symptoms than those on lithium only, as assessed by the Clinical Global Impression-Bipolar version scale scores. Finally, our findings suggest that a range of lithium levels between 0.40 and 0.60 mEq/l, albeit below the therapeutic range, seems sufficient to maintain a good effect when lithium is coadministered with valproate.
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November 2013

[Long-term treatment of bipolar disorder: how should we use lithium salts?].

Riv Psichiatr 2012 Nov-Dec;47(6):515-26

Dipartimento di Psichiatria, Neurobiologia, Farmacologia e Biotecnologie, Università di Pisa.

Unlabelled: Despite the great quantity of evidence supporting the efficacy of lithium in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder (BD), its use has often been limited because of issues about the management of this compound. W aimed to evaluate the use of lithium in common clinical practice and to identify possible relationships between the trend over time of serum lithium levels and clinical course of the illness.

Methods: 98 patients with bipolar I and bipolar II disorder (DSM-IV-TR) on maintenance treatment with lithium salts were recruited and followed up in a naturalistic trial at the Day Hospital of Psychiatric Clinic of Pisa. Diagnosis was confirmed using a structured interview, the SCID-I. During symptom assessment, the Clinical Global Impression-Bipolar Version Scale (CGI-BP) was used.

Results: The sample is made up mainly of BI patients (87.8%) and lithium is used in association with anticonvulsants in 63%. Less than half of the sample (48%) presents average serum lithium levels in the therapeutic range (0.5-0.8 mEq/L); serum values of lithium within the range were seen more frequently in patients with manic/mixed episode, with manic/mixed polarity of onset, with a greater number of previous episodes, with a higher percentage of rapid cycling and in subjects treated with lithium associated with anticonvulsants. During the follow-up patients with average serum lithium levels within the therapeutic range obtained a clinical improvement in a significantly greater proportion compared to patients with average serum lithium levels lower than 0.50 mEq/L.

Discussion: In clinical practice, lithium is often used at doses determining serum levels at the lower limits of the therapeutic range. Preliminary data on the prospective course of the illness support the importance of maintaining serum values of lithium within the therapeutic range.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1708/1178.13058DOI Listing
March 2013

Adult separation anxiety in patients with complicated grief versus healthy control subjects: relationships with lifetime depressive and hypomanic symptoms.

Ann Gen Psychiatry 2011 Oct 27;10(1):29. Epub 2011 Oct 27.

Department of Psychiatry, Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Biotechnology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Background: Around 9% to 20% of bereaved individuals experience symptoms of complicated grief (CG) that are associated with significant distress and impairment. A major issue is whether CG represents a distinctive nosographic entity, independent from other mental disorders, particularly major depression (MD), and the role of symptoms of adult separation anxiety. The purpose of this study was to compare the clinical features of patients with CG versus a sample of healthy control subjects, with particular focus on adult separation anxiety and lifetime mood spectrum symptoms.

Methods: A total of 53 patients with CG and 50 healthy control subjects were consecutively recruited and assessed by means of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis-I disorders (SCID-I/P), Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG), Adult Separation Anxiety Questionnaire (ASA-27), Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS) and Mood Spectrum-Self Report (MOODS-SR) lifetime version.

Results: Patients with CG reported significantly higher scores on the MOODS-SR, ASA-27, and WSAS with respect to healthy control subjects. The scores on the ASA-27 were significantly associated with the MOODS-SR depressive and manic components amongst both patients and healthy control subjects, with a stronger association in the latter.

Conclusions: A major limitation of the present study is the small sample size that may reduce the generalizability of the results. Moreover, lifetime MOODS-SR does not provide information about the temporal sequence of the manic or depressive symptoms and the loss. The frequent comorbidity with MD and the association with both depressive and manic lifetime symptoms do not support the independence of CG from mood disorders. In our patients, CG is associated with high levels of separation anxiety in adulthood. However, the presence of lifetime mood instability, as measured by the frequent presence of depressive and hypomanic lifetime symptoms, suggests that cyclothymia might represent the common underlying feature characterizing the vulnerability to both adult separation anxiety and CG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1744-859X-10-29DOI Listing
October 2011
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