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Journal: Psychological medicine


An invisible threat has visibly altered the world. Governments and key institutions have had to implement decisive responses to the danger posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Imposed change will increase the likelihood that alternative explanations take hold. In a proportion of the general population there may be strong scepticism, fear of being misled, and false conspiracy theories. Our objectives were to estimate the prevalence of conspiracy thinking about the pandemic and test associations with reduced adherence to government guidelines.


Feelings of loneliness are common among young adults, and are hypothesized to impair the quality of sleep. In the present study, we tested associations between loneliness and sleep quality in a nationally representative sample of young adults. Further, based on the hypothesis that sleep problems in lonely individuals are driven by increased vigilance for threat, we tested whether past exposure to violence exacerbated this association.

Concepts: Present, Time, Future, Sleep, Sleep disorder, Circadian rhythm, Past, Sleep hygiene


Antidepressant drugs such as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) remediate negative biases in emotional processing in depressed patients in both behavioural and neural outcome measures. However, it is not clear if these effects occur before, or as a consequence of, changes in clinical state. Method In the present study, we investigated the effects of short-term SSRI treatment in depressed patients on the neural response to fearful faces prior to clinical improvement in mood. Altogether, 42 unmedicated depressed patients received SSRI treatment (10 mg escitalopram daily) or placebo in a randomised, parallel-group design. The neural response to fearful and happy faces was measured on day 7 of treatment using functional magnetic resonance imaging. A group of healthy controls was imaged in the same way.

Concepts: Serotonin, Antidepressant, Citalopram, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Major depressive disorder, Sertraline, Tricyclic antidepressant, Fluoxetine


Social media platforms have long been recognised as major disseminators of health misinformation. Many previous studies have found a negative association between health-protective behaviours and belief in the specific form of misinformation popularly known as ‘conspiracy theory’. Concerns have arisen regarding the spread of COVID-19 conspiracy theories on social media.


Evidence suggests that affective problems, such as depression and anxiety, increase risk for late-life dementia. However, the extent to which affective problems influence cognitive decline, even many years prior to clinical diagnosis of dementia, is not clear. The present study systematically reviews and synthesises the evidence for the association between affective problems and decline in cognitive state (i.e., decline in non-specific cognitive function) in older adults. An electronic search of PubMed, PsycInfo, Cochrane, and ScienceDirect was conducted to identify studies of the association between depression and anxiety separately and decline in cognitive state. Key inclusion criteria were prospective, longitudinal designs with a minimum follow-up period of 1 year. Data extraction and methodological quality assessment using the STROBE checklist were conducted independently by two raters. A total of 34 studies (n = 71 244) met eligibility criteria, with 32 studies measuring depression (n = 68 793), and five measuring anxiety (n = 4698). A multi-level meta-analysis revealed that depression assessed as a binary predictor (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.05-1.76, p = 0.02) or a continuous predictor (B = -0.008, 95% CI -0.015 to -0.002, p = 0.012; OR 0.992, 95% CI 0.985-0.998) was significantly associated with decline in cognitive state. The number of anxiety studies was insufficient for meta-analysis, and they are described in a narrative review. Results of the present study improve current understanding of the temporal nature of the association between affective problems and decline in cognitive state. They also suggest that cognitive function may need to be monitored closely in individuals with affective disorders, as these individuals may be at particular risk of greater cognitive decline.


We evaluated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Incredible Years® Teacher Classroom Management (TCM) programme as a universal intervention, given schools' important influence on child mental health.


Recent open-label trials show that psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression.


Projected changes to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnostic criteria in the upcoming International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-11 may affect the prevalence and severity of identified cases. This study examined differences in rates, severity, and overlap of diagnoses using ICD-10 and ICD-11 PTSD diagnostic criteria during consecutive assessments of recent survivors of traumatic events.


Observational associations between cannabis and schizophrenia are well documented, but ascertaining causation is more challenging. We used Mendelian randomization (MR), utilizing publicly available data as a method for ascertaining causation from observational data.

Concepts: Scientific method, Genetics, Observational study, Correlation does not imply causation


BACKGROUND: A multi-centre, four-arm trial (the PACE trial) found that rehabilitative cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET) were more effective treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) than specialist medical care (SMC) alone, when each was added to SMC, and more effective than adaptive pacing therapy (APT) when added to SMC. In this study we compared how many participants recovered after each treatment. Method We defined recovery operationally using multiple criteria, and compared the proportions of participants meeting each individual criterion along with two composite criteria, defined as (a) recovery in the context of the trial and (b) clinical recovery from the current episode of the illness, however defined, 52 weeks after randomization. We used logistic regression modelling to compare treatments. RESULTS: The percentages (number/total) meeting trial criteria for recovery were 22% (32/143) after CBT, 22% (32/143) after GET, 8% (12/149) after APT and 7% (11/150) after SMC. Similar proportions met criteria for clinical recovery. The odds ratio (OR) for trial recovery after CBT was 3.36 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.64-6.88] and for GET 3.38 (95% CI 1.65-6.93), when compared to APT, and after CBT 3.69 (95% CI 1.77-7.69) and GET 3.71 (95% CI 1.78-7.74), when compared to SMC (p values ⩽0.001 for all comparisons). There was no significant difference between APT and SMC. Similar proportions recovered in trial subgroups meeting different definitions of the illness. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms that recovery from CFS is possible, and that CBT and GET are the therapies most likely to lead to recovery.

Concepts: Health care, Logit, Medicine, Clinical trial, Difference, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Psychotherapy, Chronic fatigue syndrome