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      Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment (submit here)

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      Changes in Mood, Anxiety, and Cognition with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Treatment: A Longitudinal, Naturalistic Study


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          Individuals with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are at increased risk of depression and anxiety symptoms and impairment in aspects of cognitive function. However, there is little evidence regarding effects of standard treatment for PCOS on these features of the syndrome. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of 12 weeks of naturalistic treatment of PCOS, with usual medications, on depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms and cognitive function.

          Patients and Methods

          Thirty-three participants with PCOS received 12 weeks of individualised treatment based on clinical presentation. Changes in depression and anxiety symptoms were assessed with the self-report Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale at baseline and 12 weeks, and cognitive function was assessed at the same time-points with a battery of tests spanning cognitive domains of verbal learning and memory, visuospatial learning and memory, psychomotor speed, attention and executive function. Outcomes were compared with a control group of 40 healthy participants.


          Participants with PCOS (mean age = 29.2 years; mean Body Mass Index = 27.4) were treated with a variety of medications, predominantly spironolactone (n = 22) and oral contraceptives (n = 16). Depression and anxiety symptoms improved significantly over the course of treatment, with moderate effect sizes (Cohen’s d 0.43–0.55, p < 0.05). Effect sizes of the difference in change from that of the control group were moderate but did not reach statistical significance. Women undergoing PCOS treatment demonstrated significant improvements in aspects of cognitive function, but improvement did not differ significantly from controls and effect size changes were similar, suggesting practise effects in both groups.


          Our study provides preliminary evidence that treatment of PCOS may be associated with improvement in psychiatric aspects of the syndrome, particularly depressive symptoms.

          Most cited references39

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          The hospital anxiety and depression scale.

          A self-assessment scale has been developed and found to be a reliable instrument for detecting states of depression and anxiety in the setting of an hospital medical outpatient clinic. The anxiety and depressive subscales are also valid measures of severity of the emotional disorder. It is suggested that the introduction of the scales into general hospital practice would facilitate the large task of detection and management of emotional disorder in patients under investigation and treatment in medical and surgical departments.
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            Recommendations from the international evidence-based guideline for the assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndrome † ‡

            Abstract STUDY QUESTION What is the recommended assessment and management of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), based on the best available evidence, clinical expertise and consumer preference? SUMMARY ANSWER International evidence-based guidelines, including 166 recommendations and practice points, addressed prioritized questions to promote consistent, evidence-based care and improve the experience and health outcomes of women with PCOS. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY Previous guidelines either lacked rigorous evidence-based processes, did not engage consumer and international multidisciplinary perspectives, or were outdated. Diagnosis of PCOS remains controversial, and assessment and management are inconsistent. The needs of women with PCOS are not being adequately met and evidence practice gaps persist. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION International evidence-based guideline development engaged professional societies and consumer organizations with multidisciplinary experts and women with PCOS directly involved at all stages. Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) II-compliant processes were followed, with extensive evidence synthesis. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) framework was applied across evidence quality, feasibility, acceptability, cost, implementation and ultimately recommendation strength. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS Governance included a six continent international advisory and a project board, five guideline development groups, and consumer and translation committees. Extensive health professional and consumer engagement informed guideline scope and priorities. Engaged international society-nominated panels included pediatrics, endocrinology, gynecology, primary care, reproductive endocrinology, obstetrics, psychiatry, psychology, dietetics, exercise physiology, public health and other experts, alongside consumers, project management, evidence synthesis and translation experts. In total, 37 societies and organizations covering 71 countries engaged in the process. Twenty face-to-face meetings over 15 months addressed 60 prioritized clinical questions involving 40 systematic and 20 narrative reviews. Evidence-based recommendations were developed and approved via consensus voting within the five guideline panels, modified based on international feedback and peer review, with final recommendations approved across all panels. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE The evidence in the assessment and management of PCOS is generally of low to moderate quality. The guideline provides 31 evidence based recommendations, 59 clinical consensus recommendations and 76 clinical practice points all related to assessment and management of PCOS. Key changes in this guideline include: (i) considerable refinement of individual diagnostic criteria with a focus on improving accuracy of diagnosis; (ii) reducing unnecessary testing; (iii) increasing focus on education, lifestyle modification, emotional wellbeing and quality of life; and (iv) emphasizing evidence based medical therapy and cheaper and safer fertility management. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION Overall evidence is generally low to moderate quality, requiring significantly greater research in this neglected, yet common condition, especially around refining specific diagnostic features in PCOS. Regional health system variation is acknowledged and a process for guideline and translation resource adaptation is provided. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS The international guideline for the assessment and management of PCOS provides clinicians with clear advice on best practice based on the best available evidence, expert multidisciplinary input and consumer preferences. Research recommendations have been generated and a comprehensive multifaceted dissemination and translation program supports the guideline with an integrated evaluation program. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) The guideline was primarily funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) supported by a partnership with ESHRE and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Guideline development group members did not receive payment. Travel expenses were covered by the sponsoring organizations. Disclosures of conflicts of interest were declared at the outset and updated throughout the guideline process, aligned with NHMRC guideline processes. Full details of conflicts declared across the guideline development groups are available at https://www.monash.edu/medicine/sphpm/mchri/pcos/guideline in the Register of disclosures of interest. Of named authors, Dr Costello has declared shares in Virtus Health and past sponsorship from Merck Serono for conference presentations. Prof. Laven declared grants from Ferring, Euroscreen and personal fees from Ferring, Euroscreen, Danone and Titus Healthcare. Prof. Norman has declared a minor shareholder interest in an IVF unit. The remaining authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. The guideline was peer reviewed by special interest groups across our partner and collaborating societies and consumer organizations, was independently assessed against AGREE-II criteria, and underwent methodological review. This guideline was approved by all members of the guideline development groups and was submitted for final approval by the NHMRC.
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              The prevalence and phenotypic features of polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

              What is the reported overall prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) according to the criteria of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Rotterdam or the Androgen Excess and PCOS Society (AE-PCOS Society)?

                Author and article information

                Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat
                Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat
                Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
                15 November 2022
                : 18
                : 2703-2712
                [1 ]Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago , Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
                [2 ]Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, University of New South Wales , Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
                [3 ]Specialist Mental Health Services, Canterbury District Health Board , Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
                [4 ]Department of Endocrinology, Canterbury District Health Board , Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
                [5 ]Oxford Women’s Health , Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Katie M Douglas, Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago , Christchurch, PO Box 4345, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand, Tel +64 3 3726700, Fax +64 3 3720407, Email katie.douglas@otago.ac.nz
                Author information
                © 2022 Sukhapure et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                : 04 August 2022
                : 10 November 2022
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 4, References: 39, Pages: 10
                Original Research

                androgen,depression,cognitive function,testosterone,spironolactone
                androgen, depression, cognitive function, testosterone, spironolactone


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