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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Increase in first admissions for schizophrenia and other major psychoses in Italy.

Despite reports of falling first-admission rates for schizophrenia in some Western countries, methodological problems and bias preclude a definite conclusion about a genuine fall in the incidence of schizophrenia. This study set out to test the hypothesis that first admissions for schizophrenia in Italy have fallen in recent years. All admissions rated as 'first contact' in Italy from 1984 to 1994 for severe mental illnesses to general hospital psychiatric services, as reported in the Italian National Institute for Statistics Health-Care Yearbooks, were considered. Data were analyzed as rates per 100000 in the general population, and changes over time in incidence of schizophrenia, paranoia, affective psychoses and drug-induced psychoses (diagnosed according to ICD 9) were recorded. Changes in rates over time, with rates as the dependent variable and years as the independent variable, were the main outcome measure. First-admission rates for schizophrenia and paranoia increased progressively from 1984 to 1994, as did those for affective psychoses, mania and, to a lesser extent, major depression. In the same period, all admissions (both total and rated as 'first-contact') for mental disorders increased. Although linear regression tests for admission rates in most, but not all, cases indicate a significant ascending linear trend, quadratic model results show a significantly better fit than does the simple linear regression model for the majority of data. The change described by the quadratic model suggests an increase in admission rates more marked in the second half than in the first half of the period of the study. First-admission rates for schizophrenia and, to a lesser extent, paranoia seemed to increase concurrent to a decrease in first-admission rates for 'other' non-organic psychoses. Contrary to reports from other Western countries, hospital incidence in Italy for schizophrenia is on the increase, as is that for other severe psychoses. This increase is likely to be a reflection of changes in mental health-care organisation, in treatment and diagnostic patterns, and in cultural attitudes towards mental illness. Radical changes in the true incidence of psychoses, in particular of mood disorders, as described elsewhere, cannot be ruled out as contributing factors. Data bias and limitations preclude a generalisation of results, however.[1]


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