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To validate the telephone modality of the Latin American and Caribbean Food Security Scale (ELCSA) included in three waves of a phone survey to estimate the monthly household food insecurity prevalence during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico.
We examined the reliability and internal validity of the ELCSA scale in three repeated waves of cross-sectional surveys with Rasch models. We estimated the monthly prevalence of food insecurity in the general population and in households with and without children, and compared them with a national 2018 survey. We tested concurrent validity by testing associations of food insecurity with socioeconomic status and anxiety.
ENCOVID-19 is a monthly telephone cross-sectional survey collecting information on the well-being of Mexican households during the pandemic lockdown. Surveys used probabilistic samples and we used data from April (n=833), May (n=850), and June 2020 (n=1,674).
Mexicans 18 years or older who had a mobile telephone.
ELCSA had an adequate model fit and food insecurity was associated, within each wave, with more poverty and anxiety. The COVID-19 lockdown was associated with an important reduction in food security; decreasing stepwise from 38.9% in 2018 to 24.9% in June 2020 in households with children.
Telephone surveys were a feasible strategy to monitor reductions in food security during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Despite a growing understanding of disorders of consciousness following severe brain injury, the association between long-term impairment of consciousness, spontaneous brain oscillations, and underlying subcortical damage, and the ability of such information to aid patient diagnosis, remains incomplete.
Cross-sectional observational sample of 116 patients with a disorder of consciousness secondary to brain injury, collected prospectively at a tertiary center between 2011 and 2013. Multimodal analyses relating clinical measures of impairment, electroencephalographic measures of spontaneous brain activity, and magnetic resonance imaging data of subcortical atrophy were conducted in 2018.
In the final analyzed sample of 61 patients, systematic associations were found between electroencephalographic power spectra and subcortical damage. Specifically, the ratio of beta-to-delta relative power was negatively associated with greater atrophy in regions of the bilateral thalamus and globus pallidus (both left > right) previously shown to be preferentially atrophied in chronic disorders of consciousness. Power spectrum total density was also negatively associated with widespread atrophy in regions of the left globus pallidus, right caudate, and in the brainstem. Furthermore, we showed that the combination of demographics, encephalographic, and imaging data in an analytic framework can be employed to aid behavioral diagnosis.
These results ground, for the first time, electroencephalographic presentation detected with routine clinical techniques in the underlying brain pathology of disorders of consciousness and demonstrate how multimodal combination of clinical, electroencephalographic, and imaging data can be employed in potentially mitigating the high rates of misdiagnosis typical of this patient cohort.
An adequate intake of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) is required for protein synthesis and metabolic functions, including insulin metabolism. Emerging studies found positive associations between BCAAs and the risk of various diseases sharing etiological aspects with colorectal cancer (CRC), including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and pancreatic cancer.
We investigated the relation between dietary BCAAs and CRC using data from a multicentric Italian case-control study, including 1953 cases of CRC (of these, 442 of sigmoid colon) and 4154 hospital controls with acute, non-neoplastic diseases. A validated food-frequency questionnaire was used to estimate the participants’ usual diet and to assess dietary intakes of various nutrients, including energy, BCAAs and calcium. Odds ratio (ORs) and corresponding confidence intervals (CI) were computed by multiple logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex and other confounding factors, including total energy intake.
BCAA intake was inversely related to CRC risk (OR for the highest versus the lowest quintile, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.55-0.97), but the association was attenuated after adjustment for calcium intake (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.65-1.25). A linear inverse association with sigmoid colon cancer risk remained also after adjustment for other dietary factors, including calcium intake (OR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.27-0.87).
This study provides supporting evidence that higher levels of dietary BCAA intake are not associated with an increase of CRC risk, but confirms that they may be related to a reduced risk of sigmoid colon cancer.
Vitamin D has been reported to activate macrophage microbicidal mechanisms by inducing the production of antimicrobial peptides and nitric oxide (NO), but conversely has been shown to contribute to a greater susceptibility to Leishmania amazonensis infection in mice. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the role of vitamin D during intracellular infection with L. amazonensis by examining its effect on macrophage oxidative mechanisms and parasite survival in vitro. Vitamins D2 and D3 significantly inhibited promastigote and amastigote growth in vitro. Vitamin D3 was not able to induce NO and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in uninfected macrophages or macrophages infected with L. amazonensis. In addition, vitamin D3 in combination with interferon (IFN)-γ did not enhance amastigote killing and in fact, significantly reduced NO and ROS production when compared with the effect of IFN-γ alone. In this study, we demonstrated that vitamin D directly reduces parasite growth in infected macrophages (approximately 50–60% at 50 μm) but this effect is independent of the activation of macrophage oxidative mechanisms. These findings will contribute to a better understanding of the role of vitamin D in cutaneous leishmaniasis.
Many recent pension reforms require individuals to make more decisions on supplementary savings, investment choices, etc. Governments and the pension industry try to assist individuals through pension communication but little is known about the effectiveness of such policies. This paper uses Dutch longitudinal data to analyse the causal links between communication, pension knowledge, and conscious pension decision-making. A robust finding is that pension knowledge has a positive causal effect on active pension decision-making. Providing an annual pension statement might have a small positive effect on pension knowledge, but this result is sensitive to the identifying assumptions.
One in six adolescents suffers from mental health problems. Despite the presence of general information on Italian adolescents' mental health, researches conducted with standardized assessment tools are scarce in the literature. We evaluated the prevalence of self-reported behavioral and emotional problems in a group of Italian adolescents and examined their relation to socio-demographical variables.
This population-based sampling survey was conducted on high school students aged 14–18 from urban areas of Rome and Latina. Participants completed Youth Self-Report (YSR) and a socio-demographic schedule to collect information on age, gender, type of school attended, socio-economic status, urbanicity.
Final sample consisted of 1400 adolescents (38.61% male, mean age 16 years, s.d. 1.42). Prevalence of Internalizing Problems, Externalizing Problems and Total Problems was 29.55%, 18.34% and 24.13%. In our multivariable model, Internalizing Symptoms were not explained by sociodemographic variables while Externalizing Symptoms were explained by Male Gender [OR = 1.53 (1.14–2.06)], older age [OR = 2.06 (1.52–2.79)] and attending a Technical and Professional Institute [OR = 2.15 (1.53–3.02)], with an adjusted R2 = 4.32%. Total Problems were explained by School Type [Technical and Professional Institutes and Art and Humanities v. Grammar and Science School; OR respectively 1.93 (1.40–2.67) and 1.64 (1.08–2.47)], adjusted R2 = 1.94.
The study provides, for the first time, evidence of a great prevalence of self-reported behavioral and emotional problems in a large sample of Italian adolescents, highlighting the role of different socio-demographic variables as risk factors for externalizing behaviors. Our results emphasize the urgent need for implementing prevention programs on mental health in adolescence.
As part of the project reported on in this special issue, the present study provides an overview of the types of action accomplished by other-repetition in Italian, with particular reference to the variety of the language spoken in the northeastern province of Trento. The analysis surveys actions within the domain of initiating repair, actions that extend beyond initiating repair, and actions that are alternative to initiating repair. Pitch contour emerges as a central design feature of other-repetition in Italian, with six nuclear contours associated with distinct types of action, sequential trajectories, and response patterns. The study also documents the interplay of pitch contour with other prosodic features (pitch span and register) and visible behavior (head nods, eyebrow movements). (Repetition, conversation, prosody, intonation, action, Italian)*
In the metalepsis situated at the centre of the text, the God of Love disorients the reader with the revelation that the romance that the latter was sure of having read has not yet been written and that it will be the work of two authors of which the first is in danger of dying and the second has not yet been born. In the verses in question, which take their inspiration not only from ‘Parisian philosophy’ but also from the ‘legalists’ of Orléans and the teachings of Joachim of Fiore (by means of Gerard de Borgo San Donnino), an authorial hypostasis takes place (or a supposition according to Scholastic terminology), which is expressed through the triad ‘Guillaume de Lorris’ – ‘God of Love’ – ‘Jean Chopinel’, and which provides the romance’s underlying unity, its allegorical mysteries, and its modalities of enunciation.
In this article, I introduce the aims and scope of a project examining other-repetition in natural conversation. This introduction provides the conceptual and methodological background for the five language-specific studies contained in this special issue, focussing on other-repetition in English, Finnish, French, Italian, and Swedish. Other-repetition is a recurrent conversational phenomenon in which a speaker repeats all or part of what another speaker has just said, typically in the next turn. Our project focusses particularly on other-repetitions that problematise what is being repeated and typically solicit a response. Previous research has shown that such repetitions can accomplish a range of conversational actions. But how do speakers of different languages distinguish these actions? In addressing this question, we put at centre stage the resources of prosody—the nonlexical acoustic-auditory features of speech—and bring its systematic analysis into the growing field of pragmatic typology—the comparative study of language use and conversational structure. (Repetition, conversation, prosody, pragmatics, typology)*
Bovine trypanosomosis has been spreading in Brazil. In the present study, we evaluated the spatial distribution, prevalence and risk factors of this disease in the state of Goiás, Brazil, and performed both molecular and phylogenetical analyses of Trypanosoma vivax. A total of 4049 blood samples were collected from cattle for a period of 2 years. The parasitological diagnosis was performed using the Woo method and a questionnaire was administered to the farmers to document risk factors associated with the disease in the herd. Positive samples were DNA sequenced and compared to GenBank codes. The prevalence of T. vivax was 8.84%, occurring on 24 ranches only in dairy cattle and mainly in the central and southern portions of the state. The acquisition of new animals infected with T. vivax and the administration of exogenous oxytocin to cows using the same syringe and needle were the main associated factors (P ≤ 0.05). After an outbreak, milk production decreased by 39.62%. The presence of biting flies (tabanids, Haematobia irritans and Stomoxys calcitrans) was not a risk factor (P > 0.05) for the occurrence of T. vivax. The epidemiological data demonstrate the importance of restricting the practice of auctions as well as eliminating the use of exogenous oxytocin in animals during milking. The samples tested by polymerase chain reaction were positive for T. vivax and were genetically homologous with T. vivax found in different states of Brazil and west Africa based on the 18S rRNA gene.
Greater levels of insight may be linked with depressive symptoms among patients with schizophrenia, however, it would be useful to characterize this association at symptom-level, in order to inform research on interventions.
Data on depressive symptoms (Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia) and insight (G12 item from the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale) were obtained from 921 community-dwelling, clinically-stable individuals with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia, recruited in a nationwide multicenter study. Network analysis was used to explore the most relevant connections between insight and depressive symptoms, including potential confounders in the model (neurocognitive and social-cognitive functioning, positive, negative and disorganization symptoms, extrapyramidal symptoms, hostility, internalized stigma, and perceived discrimination). Bayesian network analysis was used to estimate a directed acyclic graph (DAG) while investigating the most likely direction of the putative causal association between insight and depression.
After adjusting for confounders, better levels of insight were associated with greater self-depreciation, pathological guilt, morning depression and suicidal ideation. No difference in global network structure was detected for socioeconomic status, service engagement or illness severity. The DAG confirmed the presence of an association between greater insight and self-depreciation, suggesting the more probable causal direction was from insight to depressive symptoms.
In schizophrenia, better levels of insight may cause self-depreciation and, possibly, other depressive symptoms. Person-centered and narrative psychotherapeutic approaches may be particularly fit to improve patient insight without dampening self-esteem.
Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a major health problem in many countries and its current treatment involves multiple parenteral injections with toxic drugs and requires intensive health services. Previously, the efficacy of a single subcutaneous injection with a slow-release formulation consisting of poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) microparticles loaded with an antileishmanial 3-nitro-2-hydroxy-4,6-dimethoxychalcone (CH8) was demonstrated in mice model. In the search for more easily synthesized active chalcone derivatives, and improved microparticle loading, CH8 analogues were synthesized and tested for antileishmanial activity in vitro and in vivo. The 3-nitro-2′,4′,6′-trimethoxychalcone (NAT22) analogue was chosen for its higher selectivity against intracellular amastigotes (selectivity index = 1489, as compared with 317 for CH8) and more efficient synthesis (89% yield, as compared with 18% for CH8). NAT22 was loaded into PLGA / polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) polymeric blend microspheres (NAT22-PLGAk) with average diameter of 1.9 μm. Although NAT22-PLGAk showed similar activity to free NAT22 in killing intracellular parasites in vitro (IC50 ~ 0.2 μm), in vivo studies in Leishmania amazonensis – infected mice demonstrated the significant superior efficacy of NAT22-PLGAk to reduce the parasite load. A single intralesional injection with NAT22-PLGAk was more effective than eight injections with free NAT22. Together, these results show that NAT22-PLGAk is a promising alternative for single-dose localized treatment of CL.
The ‘jumping to conclusions’ (JTC) bias is associated with both psychosis and general cognition but their relationship is unclear. In this study, we set out to clarify the relationship between the JTC bias, IQ, psychosis and polygenic liability to schizophrenia and IQ.
A total of 817 first episode psychosis patients and 1294 population-based controls completed assessments of general intelligence (IQ), and JTC, and provided blood or saliva samples from which we extracted DNA and computed polygenic risk scores for IQ and schizophrenia.
The estimated proportion of the total effect of case/control differences on JTC mediated by IQ was 79%. Schizophrenia polygenic risk score was non-significantly associated with a higher number of beads drawn (B = 0.47, 95% CI −0.21 to 1.16, p = 0.17); whereas IQ PRS (B = 0.51, 95% CI 0.25–0.76, p < 0.001) significantly predicted the number of beads drawn, and was thus associated with reduced JTC bias. The JTC was more strongly associated with the higher level of psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) in controls, including after controlling for IQ (B = −1.7, 95% CI −2.8 to −0.5, p = 0.006), but did not relate to delusions in patients.
Our findings suggest that the JTC reasoning bias in psychosis might not be a specific cognitive deficit but rather a manifestation or consequence, of general cognitive impairment. Whereas, in the general population, the JTC bias is related to PLEs, independent of IQ. The work has the potential to inform interventions targeting cognitive biases in early psychosis.
To identify factors associated with suicide attempts using data from a large, 3-year, multinational follow-up study of schizophrenia (SOHO study).
All baseline characteristics of 8,871 adult patients with schizophrenia collected in patients included in the SOHO study were included in a GEE logistic regression post-hoc analysis comparing patients who attempted suicide during the study with those who did not.
A total of 384 (4.3%) patients attempted or committed suicide. The risk factors that resulted statistically associated with suicide attempt were a lifetime history of suicide attempts (OR 3.6 [95% CI 2.8, 4.6; p< 0.0001]), suicide attempts in the last 6 months (OR 2.5 [95% CI 1.8, 3.4; p< 0.0001]), prolactin-related side effects (OR 2.0 [95%CI 1.4, 2.9; p=0.0002]), CGI depression (OR 1.2 [95% CI 1.1, 1.3; p=0.0004]) and history of hospitalization for schizophrenia (OR 1.4 [95% CI 1.1, 1.8; p=0.009]).
In view of the observational design of the study and the post-hoc nature of the analysis, the identified risk factors should be confirmed by ad-hoc specifically designed studies.