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BACKGROUND: Meningiomas are the most common primary benign brain tumors in adults. Given the extended life expectancy of most meningiomas, consideration of quality of life (QOL) is important when selecting the optimal management strategy. There is currently a dearth of meningioma-specific QOL tools in the literature. OBJECTIVE: In this systematic review, we analyze the prevailing themes and propose toward building a meningioma-specific QOL assessment tool. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted, and only original studies based on adult patients were considered. QOL tools used in the various studies were analyzed for identification of prevailing themes in the qualitative analysis. The quality of the studies was also assessed. RESULTS: Sixteen articles met all inclusion criteria. Fifteen different QOL assessment tools assessed social and physical functioning, psychological, and emotional well-being. Patient perceptions and support networks had a major impact on QOL scores. Surgery negatively affected social functioning in younger patients, while radiation therapy had a variable impact. Any intervention appeared to have a greater negative impact on physical functioning compared to observation. CONCLUSION: Younger patients with meningiomas appear to be more vulnerable within social and physical functioning domains. All of these findings must be interpreted with great caution due to great clinical heterogeneity, limited generalizability, and risk of bias. For meningioma patients, the ideal QOL questionnaire would present outcomes that can be easily measured, presented, and compared across studies. Existing scales can be the foundation upon which a comprehensive, standard, and simple meningioma-specific survey can be prospectively developed and validated.
Multiple human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 genotypes in China were first discovered in Yunnan Province before disseminating throughout the country. As the HIV-1 epidemic continues to expand in Yunnan, genetic characteristics and transmitted drug resistance (TDR) should be further investigated among the recently infected population. Among 2828 HIV-positive samples newly reported in the first quarter of 2014, 347 were identified as recent infections with BED-captured enzyme immunoassay (CEIA). Of them, 291 were successfully genotyped and identified as circulating recombinant form (CRF)08_BC (47.4%), unique recombinant forms (URFs) (18.2%), CRF01_AE (15.8%), CRF07_BC (14.4%), subtype C (2.7%), CRF55_01B (0.7%), subtype B (0.3%) and CRF64_BC (0.3%). CRF08_BC and CRF01_AE were the predominant genotypes among heterosexual and homosexual infections, respectively. CRF08_BC, URFs, CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC expanded with higher prevalence in central and eastern Yunnan. The recent common ancestor of CRF01_AE, CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC dated back to 1983.1, 1992.1 and 1989.5, respectively. The effective population sizes (EPS) for CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC increased exponentially during 1991–1999 and 1994–1999, respectively. The EPS for CRF08_BC underwent two exponential growth phases in 1994–1998 and 2001–2002. Lastly, TDR-associated mutations were identified in 1.8% of individuals. These findings not only enhance our understanding of HIV-1 evolution in Yunnan but also have implications for vaccine design and patient management strategies.
We analyse ruin probabilities for an insurance risk process with a more generalised dependence structure compared to the one introduced in Constantinescu et al. (2016). In this paper, we assume that a random threshold window is generated every time after a claim occurs. By comparing the previous inter-claim time with the threshold window, the distributions of the current threshold window and the inter-arrival time are determined. Furthermore, the statuses for the previous and current inter-arrival times give rise to the current claim size distribution as well. Like Constantinescu et al. (2016), we first identify the embedded Markov additive process where all the randomness takes a general form. Inspired by the Erlangisation technique, the key message of this paper is to analyse such risk process using a Markov fluid flow model where the underlying random variables follow phase-type distributions. This would further allow us to approximate the fixed observation windows by Erlang random variables. Then ruin probabilities under the process with Erlang(n) observation windows are proved to be Erlangian approximations for those related to the process with fixed threshold windows at the limit. An exact form of the limit can be obtained whose application will be illustrated further by a numerical example.
Whilst preterm-born individuals have an increased risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and are reported to have ADHD-like attention and arousal impairments, direct group comparisons are scarce.
We directly compared preterm-born adolescents (n = 186) to term-born adolescents with ADHD (n = 69), and term-born controls (n = 135), aged 11–23, on cognitive-performance, event-related potential and skin conductance level (SCL) measures associated with attention and arousal. The measures are from baseline and fast-incentive conditions of a four-choice reaction time task, previously shown to discriminate between the individuals with ADHD and controls. We aimed to establish whether preterm-born adolescents show: (a) identical cognitive-neurophysiological impairments to term-born adolescents with ADHD (b) possible additional impairments, and whether (c) the observed impairments correlate with ADHD symptom scores.
The preterm group, like the term-born ADHD group, showed increased mean reaction time (MRT) and reaction time variability (RTV) in the baseline condition, and attenuated contingent negative variation (CNV) amplitude (response preparation) in the fast-incentive condition. The preterm group, only, did not show significant within-group adjustments in P3 amplitude (attention allocation) and SCL (peripheral arousal). Dimensional analyses showed that ADHD symptoms scores correlated significantly with MRT, RTV and CNV amplitude only.
We find impairments in cognition and brain function in preterm-born adolescents that are linked to increased ADHD symptoms, as well as further impairments, in lack of malleability in neurophysiological processes. Our findings indicate that such impairments extend at least to adolescence. Future studies should extend these investigations into adulthood.
The neuropsychological origins of negative syndrome of schizophrenia remain elusive. Evidence from behavioural studies, which utilised emotion-inducing pictures to elicit motivated behaviour generally reported that that schizophrenia patients experienced similar affective experience as healthy individuals but failed to translate emotional salience to motivated behaviour, a phenomenon called emotion–behaviour decoupling. However, a few studies have examined emotion–behaviour decoupling in non-psychotic high-risk populations, who are relatively unaffected by medication effects.
In this study, we examined the nature and extent of emotion–behaviour decoupling in in three independent samples (65 schizophrenia patients v. 63 controls; 40 unaffected relatives v. 45 controls; and 32 individuals with social anhedonia v. 32 controls). We administered an experimental task to examine their affective experience and its coupling with behaviour, using emotion-inducing slides, and allowed participants to alter stimulus exposure using button-pressing to seek pleasure or avoid aversion.
Schizophrenia patients reported similar affective experiences as their controls, while their unaffected relatives and individuals with high levels of social anhedonia exhibited attenuated affective experiences, in particular in the arousal aspect. Compared with their respective control groups, all of the three groups showed emotion–behaviour decoupling.
Our findings support that both genetically and behaviourally high-risk groups exhibit emotion–behaviour decoupling. The familial association apparently supports its role as a putative trait marker for schizophrenia.
Evidence suggests that autism and schizophrenia share similarities in genetic, neuropsychological and behavioural aspects. Although both disorders are associated with theory of mind (ToM) impairments, a few studies have directly compared ToM between autism patients and schizophrenia patients. This study aimed to investigate to what extent high-functioning autism patients and schizophrenia patients share and differ in ToM performance.
Thirty high-functioning autism patients, 30 schizophrenia patients and 30 healthy individuals were recruited. Participants were matched in age, gender and estimated intelligence quotient. The verbal-based Faux Pas Task and the visual-based Yoni Task were utilised to examine first- and higher-order, affective and cognitive ToM. The task/item difficulty of two paradigms was examined using mixed model analyses of variance (ANOVAs). Multiple ANOVAs and mixed model ANOVAs were used to examine group differences in ToM.
The Faux Pas Task was more difficult than the Yoni Task. High-functioning autism patients showed more severely impaired verbal-based ToM in the Faux Pas Task, but shared similar visual-based ToM impairments in the Yoni Task with schizophrenia patients.
The findings that individuals with high-functioning autism shared similar but more severe impairments in verbal ToM than individuals with schizophrenia support the autism–schizophrenia continuum. The finding that verbal-based but not visual-based ToM was more impaired in high-functioning autism patients than schizophrenia patients could be attributable to the varied task/item difficulty between the two paradigms.
Worldwide, tobacco smoke is still the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality. Many smokers develop chronic smoking-related conditions that require emergency department (ED) visits. However, best practices for ED smoking cessation counselling are still unclear.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted to determine whether an “ask, advise, and refer” approach increases 12-month, 30-day quit rates in the stable adult ED smoking population compared to usual care. Patients in the intervention group were referred to a community counselling service that offers a quitline, a text-based program, and a Web-based program. Longitudinal intention-to-treat analyses were performed.
From November 2011 to March 2013, 1,295 patients were enrolled from one academic tertiary care ED. Six hundred thirty-five were allocated to usual care, and 660 were allocated to intervention. Follow-up data were available for 70% of all patients at 12 months. There was no statistically significant difference in 12-month, 30-day quit rates between the two groups. However, there was a trend towards higher 7-day quit attempts, 7-day quit rates, and 30-day quit rates at 3, 6, and 12 months in the intervention group.
In this study, there was a trend towards increased smoking cessation following referral to a community counselling service. There was no statistically significant difference. However, if ED smoking cessation efforts were to provide even a small positive effect, such an intervention may have a significant public health impact given the extensive reach of emergency physicians.
To investigate the feasibility of a national audit of epistaxis management led and delivered by a multi-region trainee collaborative using a web-based interface to capture patient data.
Six trainee collaboratives across England nominated one site each and worked together to carry out this pilot. An encrypted data capture tool was adapted and installed within the infrastructure of a university secure server. Site-lead feedback was assessed through questionnaires.
Sixty-three patients with epistaxis were admitted over a two-week period. Site leads reported an average of 5 minutes to complete questionnaires and described the tool as easy to use. Data quality was high, with little missing data. Site-lead feedback showed high satisfaction ratings for the project (mean, 4.83 out of 5).
This pilot showed that trainee collaboratives can work together to deliver an audit using an encrypted data capture tool cost-effectively, whilst maintaining the highest levels of data quality.
A series of catalytic reactions has been performed in our laboratory using olivine-type silicates (OTS) and SiC as catalysts for the conversion of carbon-containing molecules (such as acetylene, CO and methanol) to small organic molecules (C2H4, C3H3, CH3O) and also polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Experimentally, small-to-medium-sized gas-phase compounds such as PAHs, reaction intermediates and hydrocarbon compounds were detected in situ using the time-of-light mass-spectrometry technique. Solid deposition on the catalyst surface was examined by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and thermo-gravimetric analysis techniques. Our laboratory results show that the conversion of acetylene to PAHs, the CO disproportionation reaction for producing CO2 and carbon deposition (graphitic and carbon nanostructures), and also the transformation of methanol to hydrocarbon compounds can easily be achieved with OTS as a catalyst. Furthermore, the conversion of acetylene to PAHs could also be achieved by SiC as the catalyst. It is proposed that these catalytic reactions mimic similar chemical processes in circumstellar envelopes (CSEs).
Physical activity is beneficial for children’s well-being. The effect of dietary supplementation on children’s physical activity in food-insecure areas remains little studied. We examined the effects of a lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS) on children’s objectively measured physical activity in a randomised, controlled, outcome-assessor-blinded trial. Mothers of the children received one capsule daily of Fe-folic acid (IFA), one capsule containing eighteen micronutrients (MMN) or one 20 g sachet of LNS (containing twenty-two MMN, protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and 494 kJ (118 kcal)) during pregnancy and for 6 months thereafter. Children in the IFA and MMN groups received no supplementation, and these groups were collapsed into a single control group; children in the LNS group received 20 g LNS from 6 to 18 months. We measured physical activity with accelerometers over 1 week at 18 months. The main outcome was mean vector magnitude counts/15 s. Of the 728 children at the beginning of child intervention at 6 months, 570 (78 %) provided sufficient data for analysis. The mean accelerometer counts for the 190 children in the LNS group and for the 380 children in the control group were 303 (sd 59) and 301 (sd 56), respectively (Pfor difference=0·65). LNS, given to mothers during pregnancy and 6 months postpartum and to their infants from 6 to 18 months of age, did not increase physical activity among 18-month-old children.
Patients with schizophrenia have intact ability to experience emotion, but empirical evidence suggests that they fail to translate emotional salience into effortful behaviour. Previous research in patients with chronic schizophrenia suggests that working memory is important in integrating emotion and behaviour. This study aimed to examine avolition and anhedonia in patients with first-episode schizophrenia and clarify the role of working memory in emotion–behaviour coupling.
We recruited 72 participants with first-episode schizophrenia and 61 healthy controls, and used a validated emotion-inducing behavioural paradigm to measure participants' affective experiences and how experienced emotion coupled with behaviour. Participants were given the opportunity to expend effort to increase or decrease their exposure to emotion-inducing photographs. Participants with schizophrenia having poor working memory were compared with those with intact working memory in their liking and emotion–behaviour coupling.
Patients with first-episode schizophrenia experienced intact ‘in-the-moment’ emotion, but their emotion was less predictive of the effort expended, compared with controls. The emotion–behaviour coupling was significantly weaker in patients with schizophrenia with poor working memory than in those with intact working memory. However, compared with controls, patients with intact working also showed substantial emotion–behaviour decoupling.
Our findings provide strong evidence for emotion–behaviour decoupling in first-episode schizophrenia. Although working memory deficits contribute to defective translation of liking into effortful behaviour, schizophrenia alone affects emotion–behaviour coupling.
Neurological soft signs (NSS) have long been considered potential endophenotypes for schizophrenia. However, few studies have investigated the heritability and familiality of NSS. The present study examined the heritability and familiality of NSS in healthy twins and patient–relative pairs.
The abridged version of the Cambridge Neurological Inventory was administered to 267 pairs of monozygotic twins, 124 pairs of dizygotic twins, and 75 pairs of patients with schizophrenia and their non-psychotic first-degree relatives.
NSS were found to have moderate but significant heritability in the healthy twin sample. Moreover, patients with schizophrenia correlated closely with their first-degree relatives on NSS.
Taken together, the findings provide evidence on the heritability and familiality of NSS in the Han Chinese population.
Dysregulation of the striatum and altered corticostriatal connectivity have been associated with psychotic disorders. Social anhedonia has been identified as a predictor for the development of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The aim of the present study was to examine corticostriatal functional connectivity in individuals with high social anhedonia.
Twenty-one participants with high social anhedonia score and 30 with low social anhedonia score measured by the Chinese version of the Revised Social Anhedonia Scale were recruited from university undergraduates (age 17–21 years) to undergo resting-state functional MRI scans. Six subdivisions of the striatum in each hemisphere were defined as seeds. Voxel-wise functional connectivity analyses were conducted between each seed and the whole brain voxels, followed by repeated-measures ANOVA for the group effect.
Participants with high social anhedonia showed hyper-connectivity between the ventral striatum and the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula, and between the dorsal striatum and the motor cortex. Hypo-connectivity in participants with high social anhedonia was also observed between the ventral striatum and the posterior cingulate cortex. Partial correlation analyses further showed that the functional connectivity between the ventral striatum and the prefrontal cortex was associated with pleasure experience and emotional suppression.
Our findings suggest that altered corticostriatal connectivity can be found in participants with high levels of social anhedonia. Since social anhedonia has been considered a predictor for schizophrenia spectrum disorders, our results may provide novel evidence on the early changes in brain functional connectivity in at-risk individuals.
Here we report our study of the electronic properties of -textured gadolinium nitride (GdN) thin films synthesized using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method. The electronic properties of the films were investigated using photoemission and inverse photoemission spectroscopy coupled with computational modeling. Our density functional theory (DFT) calculations suggest that the theoretically predicted half-metallic electronic structure of GdN is likely due to its low density of states (DOS) at the Fermi level. These calculations are supported by our photoemission and inverse photoemission spectroscopic measurements which show a band gap for the prepared films of a few milli-electron volts, seemingly consistent with the predicted electronic structure. Additionally, the use of a CVD gallium nitride capping layer was found to decelerate the surface oxidation of our GdN samples.
Radio-loud AGN play an important rôle in galaxy evolution. We need to understand their properties, and the processes that affect their behaviour in order to model galaxy formation and development. We here present preliminary results of an investigation into the cluster environments of radio galaxies. We have found evidence of a strong correlation between radio luminosity and environment richness for low excitation radio galaxies, and no evidence of evolution of the environment with redshift. Conversely, for high excitation radio galaxies, we found no correlation with environment richness, and tentative evidence of evolution of the cluster environment.
We have been monitoring some well-known bright blazars with short LOFAR observations since February 2013 with fortnightly cadence using the full available bandwidth of the High Band Antennas (i.e., 48 MHz centred at 226 MHz). The sources were chosen to be bright at low frequencies and to exhibit strong GHz-frequency radio variability on timescales of weeks to years. None of the five objects selected have been monitored previously in the MHz band. Here we report some preliminary results on flux variability obtained so far with LOFAR. These observations are scientifically valuable in their own right and also act as a proof of principle for broader, higher-cadence monitoring of the extragalactic sky with LOFAR and possibly SKA.
We present multifrequency VLBI observations of the blazars 3C273 and 3C279 after detecting strong γ-ray flares in both of them. 3C273 exhibited a prominent flare in γ-rays in September 2009 which was followed by a strong flare in the 7 mm VLBI core and emergence of a new feature in the parsec scale jet. We have used time delay between flares in different wavebands together with kinematic analysis to determine that the γ-ray emission zone in 3C273 is located 3.6-5.3 pc upstream from the apparent 7 mm core. We have also analyzed frequency dependent core position to measure a deprojected distance between 7 mm core and the true base of the jet: 1-6 pc for 3C273 and 1-3 pc for 3C279, depending on observing epoch. For 3C279 light curve analysis did not give a robust γ-radio delay because there were too many overlapping flares in this source during considered period.