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The prevalence of psychotic experiences (PEs) is higher in low-and-middle-income-countries (LAMIC) than in high-income countries (HIC). Here, we examine whether this effect is explicable by measurement bias.
A community sample from 13 countries (N = 7141) was used to examine the measurement invariance (MI) of a frequently used self-report measure of PEs, the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE), in LAMIC (n = 2472) and HIC (n = 4669). The CAPE measures positive (e.g. hallucinations), negative (e.g. avolition) and depressive symptoms. MI analyses were conducted with multiple-group confirmatory factor analyses.
MI analyses showed similarities in the structure and understanding of the CAPE factors between LAMIC and HIC. Partial scalar invariance was found, allowing for latent score comparisons. Residual invariance was not found, indicating that sum score comparisons are biased. A comparison of latent scores before and after MI adjustment showed both overestimation (e.g. avolition, d = 0.03 into d = −0.42) and underestimation (e.g. magical thinking, d = −0.03 into d = 0.33) of PE in LAMIC relative to HIC. After adjusting the CAPE for MI, participants from LAMIC reported significantly higher levels on most CAPE factors but a significantly lower level of avolition.
Previous studies using sum scores to compare differences across countries are likely to be biased. The direction of the bias involves both over- and underestimation of PEs in LAMIC compared to HIC. Nevertheless, the study confirms the basic finding that PEs are more frequent in LAMIC than in HIC.
Approximately 5 % of adolescents present psychotic symptoms which are not necessarily associated with a psychopathological alteration and that are known as subclinical psychotic-like experiences. Said symptoms have been found to be closely linked to the presence of affective psychopathology, such as high levels of anxiety, stress, dysphoria or depression in this population.
The main objective of this work was to compare the emotional and behavioral problems reported by adolescents with and without psychotic-like symptoms.
The sample was composed of 1,713 non-clinical adolescents with a mean age of 14.7 years (SD = 1.7), of which 832 (48.6 %) were males.
The results showed that the participants with psychotic-like symptoms reported a higher number of emotional and behavioral problems compared to the participants who did not inform of said experiences.
The findings converge with data from previous studies of patients with schizophrenia as well as in schizophrenia-prone individuals, offering support to the dimensional models of psychosis, and have clear implications with a view to establishing primary prevention strategies for these high-risk individuals.
Coping strategies have been defined as the cognitive-behavioral efforts in continuous change made by a subject in order to manage internal and/or external demands which exceed his/her personal resources (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Said coping strategies have been extensively investigated in individuals with symptoms of psychosis-proneness.
The main objective of the present study was to compare the coping strategies used by adolescents with and without subclinical psychotic symptoms.
The sample was composed of 1,713 Spanish adolescents, 881 (51.4%) females, with a mean age of 14.7 years (SD = 1.7).
The results showed that the adolescents with subclinical psychotic symptoms used Avoidance-type coping strategies more frequently and Positive-type coping strategies less frequently in comparison to the control group.
These findings indicate a pattern of deficit in the strategies used to cope with stress similar to that of patients with schizophrenia, which is very interesting with a view to establishing lines of intervention within early detection and treatment programs for high-risk individuals aimed at modifying these patterns of deficit in coping with environmental stimuli in these populations.
The short version of the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (sO-LIFE) is a widely used measure assessing schizotypy. There is limited information, however, on how sO-LIFE scores compare across different countries. The main goal of the present study is to test the measurement invariance of the sO-LIFE scores in a large sample of non-clinical adolescents and young adults from four European countries (UK, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain). The scores were obtained from validated versions of the sO-LIFE in their respective languages. The sample comprised 4190 participants (M = 20.87 years; SD = 3.71 years). The study of the internal structure, using confirmatory factor analysis, revealed that both three (i.e., positive schizotypy, cognitive disorganisation, and introvertive anhedonia) and four-factor (i.e., positive schizotypy, cognitive disorganisation, introvertive anhedonia, and impulsive nonconformity) models fitted the data moderately well. Multi-group confirmatory factor analysis showed that the three-factor model had partial strong measurement invariance across countries. Eight items were non-invariant across samples. Significant statistical differences in the mean scores of the s-OLIFE were found by country. Reliability scores, estimated with Ordinal alpha ranged from 0.75 to 0.87. Using the Item Response Theory framework, the sO-LIFE provides more accuracy information at the medium and high end of the latent trait. The current results show further evidence in support of the psychometric proprieties of the sO-LIFE, provide new information about the cross-cultural equivalence of schizotypy and support the use of this measure to screen for psychotic-like features and liability to psychosis in general population samples from different European countries.
Data from elderly suicides was obtained from two previous studies of community suicides in two localities of Northern Spain, namely, Oviedo between 1983 and 1990, and Gijón between 1975 and 1986. Data from the two localities were obtained by the revision of court register cases. A retrospective study on elderly suicide (over 60 years of age) was carried out. Mean annual specific rates for the elderly in Oviedo for 1982–1991 were 37.7 (58.1 for men and 23.3 for women) and for those in Gijón for the period 1975–1986, 23.4 (40 for men and 11.5 for women). A marked increase was seen in the rates for Gijón from the first (1975–1978) to the last period (1983–1986). This was particularly marked in men. The greatest increase in the rate was seen in men over 75 from Gijón and in those between 1970–1974 from Oviedo. In contrast a decrease was seen in the 65–69 age group rates for both men and women. A tendency for the rates to increase was seen but no important increase for elderly suicides was evident.
Different psychoeducational and family-based interventions have been shown to improve chronic physical diseases, such as asthma. There is an increasing consistency of therapeutic effects in these programmes, across the literature. However, scientific validation of the benefits of each programme and what is the best model/method are required.
To evaluate the effects of Multifamily/MG and Psychoeducational/PG interventions for asthma on psychological, biological and morbidity outcomes.
A sample with 299 outpatients with asthma diagnosis from a University Hospital was recruited consecutively. Patients with moderate/severe asthma were included in a five-month randomized controlled study with simple occultation. There was a balanced inclusion of 141 patients allocated to three groups: MG, PG and control group/CG. All patients continued usual pharmacological treatment. Anxiety (SAS/STAIY), depression (BDI), coping mechanisms (WCAEL), quality of life (MiniAQLQ), asthma control (ACQ), lung function (FEV1/PEF), airway inflammation (FeNO), asthma severity and morbidity were assessed at the beginning and the end of the study.
Both MG and PG improved asthma control. The overall quality of life score increased in MG (0.5 U) and PG (0.8 U), but not in the CG. A significant decrease was also found in the use of oral steroids in MG and in the hospitalization in PG. The behavioural changes improved psychological parameters (anxiety, depression, coping), and lung function.
Multidisciplinary group interventions seem to improve physical/psychological parameters in asthma, and assessment of efficacy is necessary after a longer follow-up period, as is identification of patients’ clusters which benefit the most from each intervention.
Endocannabinoid System (ECS) has been highlighted as one of the most relevant research topics by neurobiologists, pharmacists, basic scientists and clinicians (Skaper and Di Marzo, 2012). Recent work has associated major depressive disorder with the ECS (Ashton and Moore, 2011). Despite the close relationship between depression and bipolar disorders, as far as we know, there is no characterization of ECS and congeners in a sample of patients with bipolar disorders.
Aims and objectives
The objective of this work is to characterize the plasma levels of endocannabinoids and congeners in a sample of patients with bipolar disorders.
The clinical group was composed by 19 patients with a diagnosis of bipolar disorders using SCID-IV (First et al., 1999). The control group was formed by 18 relatives of first- or second-degree of the patients.
The following endocannabinoids and congeners were quantified: N-palmitoleoylethanolamide (POEA), N-palmitolylethanolamide (PEA), N-oleoylethanolamide (OEA), N-stearoylethanolamide (SEA), N-arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA), N-dihomo-γ-linolenoylethanolamide (DGLEA), N-docosatetraenoylethanolamide (DEA), N-linoleoylethanolamide (LEA), N-docosahexaenoylethanolamide (DHEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), 2-linoleoylglycerol (2-LG), and 2-oleoylglycerol (2-OG).
The result showed statistically significant lower levels of AEA, DEA and DHEA in clinical sample. Previous research also identified lower levels of AEA in depressed women (Hill et al., 2008, 2009). Until date, it is unknown if DEA and DHEA have some effect on EC receptors, and whether they have some direct effects on endocannabinoids.
It would be necessary to carry our other research with a larger sample, which could allow the control of potential confounding variables.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Comorbidity between alcoholism and depression has long been acknowledged, and the possibility that similar brain mechanisms, involving both serotonergic (5-HT) and noradrenergic systems (NE), underlie both pathologies has been suggested. Thus, inhibitors of NE and 5HT uptake have been proposed for the treatment of alcoholism, as they have shown to reduce alcohol intake in various animal models. However, most of the studies mentioned were carried out acutely and there is a lack of knowledge of the possible long-term effects. Clinical studies report an overall low efficacy of antidepressant treatment on alcohol consumption, or even a worsened prognosis. In addition, several cases of alcohol dependence following antidepressant treatment have been reported in the literature.
We aimed at comparing the acute and chronic effects of the treatment with the antidepressant drug reboxetine on alcohol consumption.
We used a rat model of alcohol self-administration, and two different schedules of reboxetine administration (acute and chronic).
Our results confirm the acute suppressant effects of reboxetine on alcohol consumption but indicate that, when this drug is administered chronically in a period of abstinence from alcohol, it can significantly increase the rate of alcohol self-administration.
These results are important for the understanding of the clinical reports describing cases of increased alcohol consumption after antidepressant treatment, and suggest that much more research is needed to fully understand the long term effects of antidepressants, which remain the most widely prescribed class of drugs.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Mephedrone is a synthetic cathinone derivative included in the class of “New-Novel Psychoactive Substances”. Synthetic cathinones are marketed as “bath salts” or “plant food” and gained notable popularity for similar effects to 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy), or amphetamines. Mephedrone is commonly consumed simultaneously with alcohol.
Objectives and aims
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the interactions between mephedrone and ethanol in humans.
Twelve healthy male, recreational users of psychostimulants participated as outpatients in four experimental sessions. They received a single oral dose of mephedrone (200 mg) and alcohol (0.8 g/kg), mephedrone placebo and alcohol (0.8 g/kg), mephedrone (200 mg) and placebo alcohol, and both placebos. Design was double-blind, double-dummy, randomized, cross-over and controlled with placebo. Study variables included: vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and pupil diameter), subjective effects (visual analogue scales-VAS, ARCI-49 item short form, and VESSPA questionnaire).
The combination produced an increase in the cardiovascular effects of mephedrone and induced more intense feeling of euphoria and well-being in comparison to mephedrone and alcohol. Mephedrone reduced the drunkenness and sedation produced by alcohol.
These results are similar to those obtained with the combination of other psychostimulants as amphetamines and MDMA. Abuse liability of the combination is greater that induced by mephedrone.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
We present a detailed overview of the cosmological surveys that we aim to carry out with Phase 1 of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA1) and the science that they will enable. We highlight three main surveys: a medium-deep continuum weak lensing and low-redshift spectroscopic HI galaxy survey over 5 000 deg2; a wide and deep continuum galaxy and HI intensity mapping (IM) survey over 20 000 deg2 from
$z = 0.35$
to 3; and a deep, high-redshift HI IM survey over 100 deg2 from
$z = 3$
to 6. Taken together, these surveys will achieve an array of important scientific goals: measuring the equation of state of dark energy out to
$z \sim 3$
with percent-level precision measurements of the cosmic expansion rate; constraining possible deviations from General Relativity on cosmological scales by measuring the growth rate of structure through multiple independent methods; mapping the structure of the Universe on the largest accessible scales, thus constraining fundamental properties such as isotropy, homogeneity, and non-Gaussianity; and measuring the HI density and bias out to
$z = 6$
. These surveys will also provide highly complementary clustering and weak lensing measurements that have independent systematic uncertainties to those of optical and near-infrared (NIR) surveys like Euclid, LSST, and WFIRST leading to a multitude of synergies that can improve constraints significantly beyond what optical or radio surveys can achieve on their own. This document, the 2018 Red Book, provides reference technical specifications, cosmological parameter forecasts, and an overview of relevant systematic effects for the three key surveys and will be regularly updated by the Cosmology Science Working Group in the run up to start of operations and the Key Science Programme of SKA1.
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a planned large radio interferometer designed to operate over a wide range of frequencies, and with an order of magnitude greater sensitivity and survey speed than any current radio telescope. The SKA will address many important topics in astronomy, ranging from planet formation to distant galaxies. However, in this work, we consider the perspective of the SKA as a facility for studying physics. We review four areas in which the SKA is expected to make major contributions to our understanding of fundamental physics: cosmic dawn and reionisation; gravity and gravitational radiation; cosmology and dark energy; and dark matter and astroparticle physics. These discussions demonstrate that the SKA will be a spectacular physics machine, which will provide many new breakthroughs and novel insights on matter, energy, and spacetime.
High concentrations of indium (In) and selenium (Se) have been reported in the Neves-Corvo volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposit, Portugal. The distribution of these ore metals in the deposit is complex as a result of the combined effects of early ore-forming processes and late tectonometamorphic remobilization. The In and Se contents are higher in Cu-rich ore types, and lower in Zn-rich ore types. At the deposit scale, both In and Se correlate positively with Cu, whereas their correlations with Zn are close to zero. This argues for a genetic connection between Cu, In and Se in terms of metal sourcing and precipitation. However, re-distribution and re-concentration of In and Se associated with tectonometamorphic deformation are also processes of major importance for the actual distribution of these metals throughout the whole deposit. Although minor roquesite and other In-bearing phases were recognized, it is clear that most In within the deposit is found incorporated within sphalerite and chalcopyrite. When chalcopyrite and sphalerite coexist, the In content in sphalerite (avg. 1400 ppm) is, on average, 2–3 times higher than in chalcopyrite (avg. 660 ppm). The In content in stannite (avg. 1.3 wt.%) is even higher than in sphalerite, but the overall abundance of stannite is subordinate to either sphalerite or chalcopyrite. Selenium is dispersed widely between many different ore minerals, but galena is the main Se-carrier. On average, the Se content in galena is ~50 times greater than in either chalcopyrite (avg. 610 ppm) or sphalerite (avg. 590 ppm). The copper concentrate produced at Neves-Corvo contains very significant In (+Se) content, well above economic values if the copper smelters recovered it. Moreover, the high In content of sphalerite from some Cu-Zn ores, or associated with shear structures, could possibly justify, in the future, a selective exploitation strategy for the production of an In-rich zinc concentrate.
Recently, a new 2D carbon allotrope structure, named phagraphene (PG), was proposed. PG has a densely array of penta-hexa-hepta-graphene carbon rings. PG was shown to present low and anisotropic thermal conductivity and it is believed that this anisotropy should be also reflected in its mechanical properties. Although PG mechanical properties have been investigated, a detailed and comprehensive study is still lacking. In the present work we have carried out fully atomistic reactive molecular dynamics simulations using the ReaxFF force field, to investigate the mechanical properties and fracture patterns of PG membranes. The Young’s modulus values of the PG membranes were estimated from the stress-strain curves. Our results show that these curves present three distinct regimes: one regime where ripples dominate the structure and mechanical properties of the PG membranes; an elastic regime where the membranes exhibit fully planar configurations; and finally am inelastic regime where permanent deformations happened to the PG membrane up to the mechanical failure or fracture.
The study of the mechanical properties of nanostructured systems has gained importance in theoretical and experimental research in recent years. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are one of the strongest nanomaterials found in nature, with Young’s Modulus (EY) in the order 1.25 TPa. One interesting question is about the possibility of generating new nanostructures with 1D symmetry and with similar and/or superior CNT properties. In this work, we present a study on the dynamical, structural, mechanical properties, fracture patterns and EY values for one class of these structures, the so-called pentagraphene nanotubes (PGNTs). These tubes are formed rolling up pentagraphene membranes (which are quasi-bidimensional structures formed by densely compacted pentagons of carbon atoms in sp3 and sp2 hybridized states) in the same form that CNTs are formed from rolling up graphene membranes. We carried out fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulations using the ReaxFF force field. We have considered zigzag-like and armchair-like PGNTs of different diameters. Our results show that PGNTs present EY ∼ 800 GPa with distinct elastic behavior in relation to CNTs, mainly associated with mechanical failure, chirality dependent fracture patterns and extensive structural reconstructions.
Animal proteins are naturally 15N enriched relative to the diet and the extent of this difference (Δ15Nanimal-diet or N isotopic fractionation) has been correlated to N use efficiency (NUE; N gain or milk N yield/N intake) in some recent ruminant studies. The present study used meta-analysis to investigate whether Δ15Nanimal-diet can be used as a predictor of NUE across a range of dietary conditions, particularly at the level of between-animal variation. An additional objective was to identify variables related to N partitioning explaining the link between NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet. Individual values from eight publications reporting both NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet for domestic ruminants were used to create a database comprising 11 experimental studies, 41 treatments and individual animal values for NUE (n=226) and Δ15Nanimal-diet (n=291). Data were analyzed by mixed-effect regression analysis taking into account experimental factors as random effects on both the intercept and slope of the model. Diets were characterized according to the INRA feeding system in terms of N utilization at the rumen, digestive and metabolic levels. These variables were used in a partial least squares regression analysis to predict separately NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet variation, with the objective of identifying common variables linking NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet. For individuals reared under similar conditions (within-study) and at the same time (within-period), the variance of NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet not explained by dietary treatments (i.e. between-animal variation plus experimental error) was 35% and 55%, respectively. Mixed-effect regression analysis conducted with treatment means showed that Δ15Nanimal-diet was significantly and negatively correlated to NUE variation across diets (NUE=0.415 −0.055×Δ15Nanimal-diet). When using individual values and taking into account the random effects of study, period and diet, the relationship was also significant (NUE=0.358 −0.035×Δ15Nanimal-diet). However, there may be a biased prediction for animals close to zero, or in negative, N balance. When using a novel statistical approach, attempting to regress between-animal variation in NUE on between-animal variation in Δ15Nanimal-diet (without the influence of experimental factors), the negative relationship was still significant, highlighting the ability of Δ15Nanimal-diet to capture individual variability. Among the studied variables related to N utilization, those concerning N efficiency use at the metabolic level contributed most to predict both Δ15Nanimal-diet and NUE variation, with rumen fermentation and digestion contributing to a lesser extent. This study confirmed that on average Δ15Nanimal-diet can predict NUE variation across diets and across individuals reared under similar conditions.
Antigenic variation in malaria was discovered in Plasmodium knowlesi studies involving longitudinal infections of rhesus macaques (M. mulatta). The variant proteins, known as the P. knowlesi Schizont Infected Cell Agglutination (SICA) antigens and the P. falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 (PfEMP1) antigens, expressed by the SICAvar and var multigene families, respectively, have been studied for over 30 years. Expression of the SICA antigens in P. knowlesi requires a splenic component, and specific antibodies are necessary for variant antigen switch events in vivo. Outstanding questions revolve around the role of the spleen and the mechanisms by which the expression of these variant antigen families are regulated. Importantly, the longitudinal dynamics and molecular mechanisms that govern variant antigen expression can be studied with P. knowlesi infection of its mammalian and vector hosts. Synchronous infections can be initiated with established clones and studied at multi-omic levels, with the benefit of computational tools from systems biology that permit the integration of datasets and the design of explanatory, predictive mathematical models. Here we provide an historical account of this topic, while highlighting the potential for maximizing the use of P. knowlesi – macaque model systems and summarizing exciting new progress in this area of research.
Schizotypal traits are considered a phenotypic-indicator of schizotypy, a latent personality organization reflecting a putative liability for psychosis. To date, no previous study has examined the comparability of factorial structures across samples originating from different countries and cultures. The main goal was to evaluate the factorial structure and reliability of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) scores by amalgamating data from studies conducted in 12 countries and across 21 sites.
The overall sample consisted of 27 001 participants (37.5% males, n = 4251 drawn from the general population). The mean age was 22.12 years (s.d. = 6.28, range 16–55 years). The SPQ was used. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Multilevel CFA (ML-CFA) were used to evaluate the factor structure underlying the SPQ scores.
At the SPQ item level, the nine factor and second-order factor models showed adequate goodness-of-fit. At the SPQ subscale level, three- and four-factor models displayed better goodness-of-fit indices than other CFA models. ML-CFA showed that the intraclass correlation coefficients values were lower than 0.106. The three-factor model showed adequate goodness of fit indices in multilevel analysis. The ordinal α coefficients were high, ranging from 0.73 to 0.94 across individual samples, and from 0.84 to 0.91 for the combined sample.
The results are consistent with the conceptual notion that schizotypal personality is a multifaceted construct and support the validity and utility of SPQ in cross-cultural research. We discuss theoretical and clinical implications of our results for diagnostic systems, psychosis models and cross-national mental health strategies.
Cysticercosis, a leading cause of acquired epilepsy in developing countries, has been controlled or eradicated in industrialized countries. This paradigm has recently been challenged, with human neurocysticercosis (NCC) being increasingly diagnosed in these countries. In order to assess the NCC burden in Portugal, a retrospective study on NCC hospitalizations (2006–2013) was conducted based on the national database on hospital morbidity: 357 hospitalized cases were detected. NCC was most frequent in the following age groups: 20–64 years (n = 197, 55·2%) >64 years (n = 111, 31·1%), and <20 years (n = 49, 13·7%). In the Norte and Centro regions cases tended to be older than in the Lisboa and Vale do Tejo Region. The results raise concerns for imported and autochthonous disease, suggesting the Lisboa and Vale do Tejo Region, due to its higher frequency of cases at younger ages, as a priority for research and intervention, and further suggest that NCC should be under surveillance (notifiable). The National Observatory of Cysticercosis and Taeniasis has been established and will define NCC cases as well as monitoring and surveillance.