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Daily use of high-potency cannabis has been reported to carry a high risk for developing a psychotic disorder. However, the evidence is mixed on whether any pattern of cannabis use is associated with a particular symptomatology in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients.
We analysed data from 901 FEP patients and 1235 controls recruited across six countries, as part of the European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks Studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. We used item response modelling to estimate two bifactor models, which included general and specific dimensions of psychotic symptoms in patients and psychotic experiences in controls. The associations between these dimensions and cannabis use were evaluated using linear mixed-effects models analyses.
In patients, there was a linear relationship between the positive symptom dimension and the extent of lifetime exposure to cannabis, with daily users of high-potency cannabis having the highest score (B = 0.35; 95% CI 0.14–0.56). Moreover, negative symptoms were more common among patients who never used cannabis compared with those with any pattern of use (B = −0.22; 95% CI −0.37 to −0.07). In controls, psychotic experiences were associated with current use of cannabis but not with the extent of lifetime use. Neither patients nor controls presented differences in depressive dimension related to cannabis use.
Our findings provide the first large-scale evidence that FEP patients with a history of daily use of high-potency cannabis present with more positive and less negative symptoms, compared with those who never used cannabis or used low-potency types.
Ethnic minority groups in Western countries face an increased risk of psychotic disorders. Causes of this long-standing public health inequality remain poorly understood. We investigated whether social disadvantage, linguistic distance and discrimination contributed to these patterns.
We used case–control data from the EUropean network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study, carried out in 16 centres in six countries. We recruited 1130 cases and 1497 population-based controls. Our main outcome measure was first-episode ICD-10 psychotic disorder (F20–F33), and exposures were ethnicity (white majority, black, mixed, Asian, North-African, white minority and other), generational status, social disadvantage, linguistic distance and discrimination. Age, sex, paternal age, cannabis use, childhood trauma and parental history of psychosis were included as a priori confounders. Exposures and confounders were added sequentially to multivariable logistic models, following multiple imputation for missing data.
Participants from any ethnic minority background had crude excess odds of psychosis [odds ratio (OR) 2.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.69–2.43], which remained after adjustment for confounders (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.31–1.98). This was progressively attenuated following further adjustment for social disadvantage (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.22–1.89) and linguistic distance (OR 1.22, 95% CI 0.95–1.57), a pattern mirrored in several specific ethnic groups. Linguistic distance and social disadvantage had stronger effects for first- and later-generation groups, respectively.
Social disadvantage and linguistic distance, two potential markers of sociocultural exclusion, were associated with increased odds of psychotic disorder, and adjusting for these led to equivocal risk between several ethnic minority groups and the white majority.
The present study examined empathy deficits in toddlerhood (age 14 to 36 months) as predictors of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) symptoms and psychopathy measured by the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy scale (Levenson, Kiehl, & Fitzpatrick, 1995) in adulthood (age 23 years) in 956 individuals from the Colorado Longitudinal Twin Study. Consistent with the hypothesis that antisocial behavior is associated with “active” rather than “passive” empathy deficits, early disregard for others, not lack of concern for others, predicted later ASPD symptoms. Early disregard for others was also significantly associated with factor 1 of the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale, which includes items assessing interpersonal and affective deficits, but not with factor 2, which includes items assessing impulsivity and poor behavioral control. The association between early disregard for others and psychopathy factor 2 was near zero after controlling for the shared variance between psychopathy factors 1 and 2. These results suggest that there is a propensity toward adulthood ASPD symptoms and psychopathy factor 1 that can be assessed early in development, which may help identify individuals most at risk for stable antisocial outcomes.
My first experience of fieldwork as a Catchment Project Officer set the trajectory of my career as one focused on integrated catchment management (ICM), coupled with building the capacity of communities to enable their effective engagement in water and land-use decision-making processes. Over a two-year period, I was to work with a small team and a community-based Catchment Co-ordinating Group (CCG) charged with developing the nation’s first regional-scale ICM Strategy in the vast, mostly low-rainfall, agricultural catchment of the Wimmera River (30,000 km2) in the State of Victoria, in Australia’s south-east.
Shared patient–clinician decision-making is central to choosing between medical treatments. Decision support tools can have an important role to play in these decisions. We developed a decision support tool for deciding between nonsurgical treatment and surgical total knee replacement for patients with severe knee osteoarthritis. The tool aims to provide likely outcomes of alternative treatments based on predictive models using patient-specific characteristics. To make those models relevant to patients with knee osteoarthritis and their clinicians, we involved patients, family members, patient advocates, clinicians, and researchers as stakeholders in creating the models.
Stakeholders were recruited through local arthritis research, advocacy, and clinical organizations. After being provided with brief methodological education sessions, stakeholder views were solicited through quarterly patient or clinician stakeholder panel meetings and incorporated into all aspects of the project.
Participating in each aspect of the research from determining the outcomes of interest to providing input on the design of the user interface displaying outcome predications, 86% (12/14) of stakeholders remained engaged throughout the project. Stakeholder engagement ensured that the prediction models that form the basis of the Knee Osteoarthritis Mathematical Equipoise Tool and its user interface were relevant for patient–clinician shared decision-making.
Methodological research has the opportunity to benefit from stakeholder engagement by ensuring that the perspectives of those most impacted by the results are involved in study design and conduct. While additional planning and investments in maintaining stakeholder knowledge and trust may be needed, they are offset by the valuable insights gained.
The sustainability concept is becoming ingrained in the international engineering community. The next generation of engineers has to be trained to appreciate economic, environmental, and societal impacts of its decisions, with an international perspective and at a local and global scale. The aim of this paper is to contribute to identifying the strengths and limits of current sustainability education practices to will be able to improve future decision-makers' and product designers' training. The first step of our research concerns the identification of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values associated with sustainability and ecodesign to highlight what kind of engineers' competencies for sustainability have to be trained. Based on this identification, we examine the French education system from secondary school to university to study sustainability and ecodesign integration in different technological French curricula and practices. The objective is to estimate the effective place of sustainable development and ecodesign in the technological training courses. We analyze programs and complete our approach by observing teachers in their classrooms or by conducting interviews. Even if concepts, knowledge and skills related to ecodesign appear in many different programs, our study emphasizes that there is not a continuum between pre-secondary school, high school, and university. As a consequence, teachers have difficulties to understand the aims and the coherence of the program, and students are not really comfortable with the issues of sustainability and ecodesign. We propose to improve programs and practices by developing multidisciplinary curricula covering most of the sustainable issues and integrating best practices of international universities.
Recent evidence suggests that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating ingredient present in cannabis extract, has an antipsychotic effect in people with established psychosis. However, the effect of CBD on the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying psychosis is unknown.
Patients with established psychosis on standard antipsychotic treatment were studied on separate days at least one week apart, to investigate the effects of a single dose of orally administered CBD (600 mg) compared to a matched placebo (PLB), using a double-blind, randomized, PLB-controlled, repeated-measures, within-subject cross-over design. Three hours after taking the study drug participants were scanned using a block design functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigm, while performing a verbal paired associate learning task. Fifteen psychosis patients completed both study days, 13 completed both scanning sessions. Nineteen healthy controls (HC) were also scanned using the same fMRI paradigm under identical conditions, but without any drug administration. Effects of CBD on brain activation measured using the blood oxygen level-dependent hemodynamic response fMRI signal were studied in the mediotemporal, prefrontal, and striatal regions of interest.
Compared to HC, psychosis patients under PLB had altered prefrontal activation during verbal encoding, as well as altered mediotemporal and prefrontal activation and greater mediotemporal-striatal functional connectivity during verbal recall. CBD attenuated dysfunction in these regions such that activation under its influence was intermediate between the PLB condition and HC. CBD also attenuated hippocampal-striatal functional connectivity and caused trend-level symptom reduction in psychosis patients.
This suggests that normalization of mediotemporal and prefrontal dysfunction and mediotemporal-striatal functional connectivity may underlie the antipsychotic effects of CBD.
To investigate key risk factors associated with undernutrition in the first few years of life.
A cross-sectional household survey was conducted in January 2018 collecting anthropometric data and other information on household, caregiver and child characteristics. Crude and adjusted odds ratios were calculated to assess the association of these characteristics with stunting and underweight outcomes.
Kitui and Machakos counties in south-east Kenya.
Caregivers and their children aged 0–23 months in 967 beneficiary households of the Government of Kenya’s cash for orphans and vulnerable children (CT-OVC) social protection scheme.
Twenty-three per cent of the 1004 children with anthropometric data were stunted, 10 % were underweight and 6 % experienced wasting. The strongest predictors of stunting and underweight were being in the second year of life and being born with a low birth weight. Residing in a poor household and having more than one child under 2 years of age in the household were also significant risk factors for being underweight. Although 43 % of children did not receive the minimal acceptable diet, this was not a significant factor associated with undernutrition. When age was removed as a covariate in children aged 12–23 months, being male resulted in a significantly higher risk of being stunted.
While only 9 % of children were born with a low birth weight, these were four to five times more likely to be stunted and underweight, suggesting that preventive measures during pregnancy could have significant nutrition and health benefits for young children in this study area.