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As demonstrated by neuroimaging data, the human brain contains systems that control responses to threat. The revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of personality predicts that individual differences in the reactivity of these brain systems produce anxiety and fear-related personality traits. Here we discuss some of the challenges in testing this theory and, as an example, present a pilot study that aimed to dissociate brain activity during pursuit by threat and goal conflict. We did this by translating the Mouse Defense Test Battery for human fMRI use. In this version, dubbed the Joystick Operated Runway Task (JORT), we repeatedly exposed 24 participants to pursuit and goal conflict, with and without threat of electric shock. The runway design of JORT allowed the effect of threat distance on brain activation to be evaluated independently of context. Goal conflict plus threat of electric shock caused deactivation in a network of brain areas that included the fusiform and middle temporal gyri, as well as the default mode network core, including medial frontal regions, precuneus and posterior cingulate gyrus, and laterally the inferior parietal and angular gyri. Consistent with earlier research, we also found that imminent threat activated the midbrain and that this effect was significantly stronger during the simple pursuit condition than during goal conflict. Also consistent with earlier research, we found significantly greater hippocampal activation during goal conflict than pursuit by imminent threat. In conclusion, our results contribute knowledge to theories linking anxiety disorders to altered functioning in defensive brain systems and also highlight challenges in this research domain.
Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) are the most common structural defects of newborns. Southern Israel’s population is comprised of Jews (75%) and Arab-Bedouins (25%). The latter has a high rate of consanguinity and low abortion rate compared with the Jewish population, which led us to suspect a higher CHD prevalence in this population. Our aim was to compare maternal risk factors that are associated with CHD in these populations.
All births during 1991–2011 in Soroka University Medical Center (n = 247, 289) with 6078 newborns having CHD were included. To account for same-woman deliveries, general estimating equation models adjusted for ethnicity, gender and birth number were used.
The total prevalence of CHD was 24.6/1000 live births, with 21.4 and 30 among Jewish and Bedouin populations, respectively, (p = 0.001). Multi-variant analysis of risk factors for CHD revealed that risk factors common to both populations included conception with fertility medications, sibling CHD, maternal CHD, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and anaemia. Risk factors that were specific for the Bedouin population were – maternal age over 35 years, recurrent pregnancy loss and in vitro fertilisation. However, sibling CHD was more common as a CHD risk factor in the Jewish compared with the Bedouin population (Adjusted OR 10.23 versus 3.19, respectively).
The prevalence of CHD is higher in both the Bedouin and Jewish populations than previously reported. Several maternal factors were associated with CHD specifically for a certain population. Risk factors for CHD vary in populations residing in the same geographic area.
We propose that food-related uncertainty is but one of multiple cues that predicts harsh conditions and may activate “incentive hope.” An evolutionarily adaptive response to these would have been to shift to a behavioral-metabolic phenotype geared toward facing hardship. In modernity, this phenotype may lead to pathologies such as obesity and hoarding. Our perspective suggests a novel therapeutic approach.
The operations of expansion and refinement on nondeterministic matrices (Nmatrices) are composed to form a new operation called rexpansion. Properties of this operation are investigated, together with their effects on the induced consequence relations. Using rexpansions, a semantic method for obtaining conservative extensions of (N)matrix-defined logics is introduced and applied to fragments of the classical two-valued matrix, as well as to other many-valued matrices and Nmatrices. The main application of this method is the construction and investigation of truth-preserving ¬-paraconsistent conservative extensions of Gödel fuzzy logic, in which ¬ has several desired properties. This is followed by some results regarding the relations between the constructed logics.
Socio-economic status (SES) impacts the amount and type of input children hear in ways that have developmental consequences. Here, we examine the effect of SES on the use of variation sets (successive utterances with partial self-repetitions) in child-directed speech (CDS). Variation sets have been found to facilitate language learning, but have been studied only in higher-SES groups. Here, we examine their use in naturalistic speech in two languages (Hebrew and English) for both low- and high-SES caregivers. We find that variation sets are more frequent in the input of high-SES caregivers in both languages, indicating that SES also impacts structural properties of CDS.
The Red Palm Weevil (RPW) Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier 1790) is an invasive pest from southeastern Asia and Melanesia that in the last 30 years has spread widely in the Middle East and Mediterranean Basin. Its stem-boring larvae cause great damage to several palm species of the Arecaceae family, many of which are economically important for agricultural and ornamental purposes. Therefore, great attention has recently been focused in studying this species to identify sustainable and effective eradication strategies, such as sterile insect technique (SIT). The rapid spread of RPW is associated with its high reproductive success. To evaluate the suitability of a SIT strategy, particular physiological and behavioral aspects of RPW reproduction, such as the presence of polyandry and post-copulatory sperm selection mechanisms, were investigated. To determine paternity of progeny from multiply mated females, double-crossing experiments were carried out confining individual females with either a wild-type male or a γ-irradiated male (Co-60). Fecundity and fertility of females were scored to evaluate post-copulatory sperm selection. Results showed that progeny were almost exclusively produced by the sperm of the second male, suggesting that a last-male sperm precedence is expressed at high levels in this species, and providing interesting insights for an area-wide RPW management strategy such as the SIT.
Mixed states in bipolar disorder have been neglected, and the data concerning treatment of these conditions have been relatively obscure. To address this, we systematically reviewed published pharmacological treatment data for “mixed states/episodes” in mood disorders, including “with mixed features” in DSM–5. We searched PubMed, MEDLINE, The Cochrane Library, clinicaltrials.gov, and controlled-trials.com (with different combinations of the following keywords: “mixed states/features,” “bipolar,” “depressive symptoms/bipolar depression,” “manic symptoms,” “treatment,” “DSM–5”) through to October 2016. We applied a quality-of-evidence approach: first-degree evidence=randomized placebo-controlled studies of pharmacological interventions used as monotherapy; second-degree evidence=a similar design in the absence of a placebo or of a combination therapy as a comparative group; third-degree evidence=case reports, case series, and reviews of published studies. We found very few primary double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on the treatment of mixed states: the preponderance of available data derives from subgroup analysis performed on studies that originally involved manic patients. Future research should study the effects of treatments in mixed states defined using current criteria.
Can emergent literacy impact the size of the linguistic units children attend to? We examined children's ability to segment multiword sequences before and after they learned to read, in order to disentangle the effect of literacy and age on segmentation. We found that early readers were better at segmenting multiword units (after controlling for age, cognitive, and linguistic variables), and that improvement in literacy skills between the two sessions predicted improvement in segmentation abilities. Together, these findings suggest that literacy acquisition, rather than age, enhanced segmentation. We discuss implications for models of language learning.
This article examines the development and sources of the passage, “And it happened at midnight” in Pesikta de-Rav Kahana. Literary analysis of this passage decisively refutes the conjecture that the passage was copied from either Pesikta Rabbati or a lost homiletical midrash on the book of Exodus, and supports the contention that it was formulated by the redactor of the Pesikta itself. Nonetheless, the passage does deviate from certain characteristic trademarks of other piska'ot. The article proposes a general theory as to the dating, nature, and literary creation of the entire Pesikta. While the Pesikta is a unified work, it does include piska'ot that exhibit different literary patterns. These variations reflect changes in Torah reading practices that occurred in the period in which the Pesikta's editor operated.
The present study investigated alteration of brain resting-state activity induced by antidepressant treatment and attempted to investigate whether treatment efficacy can be predicted at an early stage of pharmacological treatment.
Forty-eight first-episode medication-free patients diagnosed with major depression received treatment with escitalopram. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging was administered prior to treatment, 5 h after the first dose, during the course of pharmacological treatment (week 4) and at endpoint (week 8). Resting-state activity was evaluated in the course of the 8-week treatment and in relation to clinical improvement.
Escitalopram dynamically modified resting-state activity in depression during the treatment. After 5 h the antidepressant induced a significant decrease in the signal in the occipital cortex and an increase in the dorsolateral and dorsomedial prefrontal cortices and middle cingulate cortex. Furthermore, while remitters demonstrated more obvious changes following treatment, these were more modest in non-responders suggesting possible tonic and dynamic differences in the serotonergic system. Changes after 5 h in the caudate, occipital and temporal cortices were the best predictor of clinical remission at endpoint.
This study revealed the possibility of using the measurement of resting-state neural changes a few hours after acute administration of antidepressant to identify individuals likely to remit after a few weeks of treatment.
As a highly consequential biological trait, a memory “bottleneck” cannot escape selection pressures. It must therefore co-evolve with other cognitive mechanisms rather than act as an independent constraint. Recent theory and an implemented model of language acquisition suggest that a limit on working memory may evolve to help learning. Furthermore, it need not hamper the use of language for communication.
There is evidence that the ability to segment an utterance into words improves with literacy, yet previous research makes it difficult to disentangle the effect of literacy from that of age or cognitive abilities. We tested the hypothesis that literacy increases lexical segmentation in a second language in a unique sample of adult illiterates learning to read in their second language, controlling for cognitive abilities and using a task that taps language processing rather than only metalinguistic awareness. Participants’ segmentation was correlated with first language reading at the beginning of an intensive literacy course for illiterate adults. At the end of the course, those learning to read for the first time benefited more in terms of their segmentation abilities. We discuss implications for models of second language learning.