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Over the last two decades, heart centres have developed strategies to meet the neurodevelopmental needs of children with congenital heart disease. Since the publication of guidelines in 2012, cardiac neurodevelopmental follow-up programmes have become more widespread. Local neurodevelopmental programmes, however, have been developed independently in widely varying environments. We sought to characterise variation in structure and personnel in cardiac neurodevelopmental programmes. A 31-item survey was sent to all member institutions of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative. Multidisciplinary teams at each centre completed the survey. Responses were compiled in a descriptive fashion. Of the 29 invited centres, 23 responded to the survey (79%). Centres reported more anticipated neurodevelopment visits between birth and 5 years of age (median 5, range 2–8) than 5–18 years (median 2, range 0–10) with 53% of centres lacking any standard for routine neurodevelopment evaluations after 5 years of age. Estimated annual neurodevelopment clinic volume ranged from 85 to 428 visits with a median of 16% of visits involving children >5 years of age. Among responding centres, the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development and Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence were the most routinely used tests. Neonatal clinical assessment was more common (64%) than routine neonatal brain imaging (23%) during hospitalisation. In response to clinical need and published guidelines, centres have established formal cardiac neurodevelopment follow-up programmes. Centres vary considerably in their approaches to routine screening and objective testing, with many centres currently focussing their resources on evaluating younger patients.
Depression is characterised by negative views of the self. Antidepressant treatment may remediate negative self-schema through increasing processing of positive information about the self. Changes in affective processing during social interactions may increase expression of prosocial behaviours, improving interpersonal communications.
To examine whether acute administration of citalopram is associated with an increase in positive affective learning biases about the self and prosocial behaviour.
Healthy volunteers (n = 41) were randomised to either an acute 20 mg dose of citalopram or matched placebo in a between-subjects double-blind design. Participants completed computer-based cognitive tasks designed to measure referential affective processing, social cognition and expression of prosocial behaviours.
Participants administered citalopram made more cooperative choices than those administered placebo in a prisoner's dilemma task (β = 20%, 95% CI: 2%, 37%). Exploratory analyses indicated that participants administered citalopram showed a positive bias when learning social evaluations about a friend (β = 4.06, 95% CI: 0.88, 7.24), but not about the self or a stranger. Similarly, exploratory analyses found evidence of increased recall of positive words and reduced recall of negative words about others (β = 2.41, 95% CI: 0.89, 3.93), but not the self, in the citalopram group.
Participants administered citalopram showed greater prosocial behaviours, increased positive recall and increased positive learning of social evaluations towards others. The increase in positive affective bias and prosocial behaviours towards others may, at least partially, be a mechanism of antidepressant effect. However, we found no evidence that citalopram influenced self-referential processing.
A survey of acute-care hospitals found that rapid molecular diagnostic tests (RMDTs) have been widely adopted. Although many hospitals use their antimicrobial stewardship team and/or guidelines to help clinicians interpret results and optimize treatment, opportunities to more fully achieve the potential benefits of RMDTs remain.
Hair cortisol concentration (HCC) can be used to periodically assess hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis function, and appears correlated with prolonged exposure to stress.
Serial assessment (at Baseline, Week 6 and Week 12) of participants (n=35) with anxiety disorders by psychopathological rating scales, with assays of HCC and levels of peripheral anti- and pro- inflammatory cytokines. Patients underwent antidepressant treatment for an initial six weeks, followed by COX-2 inhibitor (celecoxib) augmentation or ‘treatment as usual’ for a further six weeks.
At Baseline (n=35), HCC was elevated in patients with single-episode but not recurrent-episode anxiety disorders, mean IL-12p70 levels were low, and mean TNF-α levels were elevated. Following 6 weeks of antidepressant treatment (n=33), mean HCC was within the normal range but mean IL-2 level was low. Celecoxib augmentation (n=18) was associated with reduction in anxiety symptoms and normalisation of mean IL-2 levels.
Small sample size. Not all participants were assessed at all time points.
Serial assessment of hair cortisol concentration is practicable in patients with anxiety disorders. These preliminary findings warrant further investigation in larger samples.
Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) tend to lack insight, which is linked to poor outcomes. The effect size of previous treatments on insight changes in SSD has been small. Metacognitive interventions may improve insight in SSD, although this remains unproved.
We carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to examine the effects of metacognitive interventions designed for SSD, namely Metacognitive Training (MCT) and Metacognitive Reflection and Insight Therapy (MERIT), on changes in cognitive and clinical insight at post-treatment and at follow-up.
Twelve RCTs, including 10 MCT RCTs (n = 717 participants) and two MERIT trials (n = 90), were selected, totalling N = 807 participants. Regarding cognitive insight six RCTs (n = 443) highlighted a medium effect of MCT on self-reflectiveness at post-treatment, d = 0.46, p < 0.01, and at follow-up, d = 0.30, p < 0.01. There was a small effect of MCT on self-certainty at post-treatment, d = −0.23, p = 0.03, but not at follow-up. MCT was superior to controls on an overall Composite Index of cognitive insight at post-treatment, d = 1.11, p < 0.01, and at follow-up, d = 0.86, p = 0.03, although we found evidence of heterogeneity. Of five MCT trials on clinical insight (n = 244 participants), which could not be meta-analysed, four of them favoured MCT compared v. control. The two MERIT trials reported conflicting results.
Metacognitive interventions, particularly Metacognitive Training, appear to improve insight in patients with SSD, especially cognitive insight shortly after treatment. Further long-term RCTs are needed to establish whether these metacognitive interventions-related insight changes are sustained over a longer time period and result in better outcomes.
Basal melt of ice shelves is not only an important part of Antarctica's ice sheet mass budget, but it is also the origin of platelet ice, one of the most distinctive types of sea ice. In many coastal Antarctic regions, ice crystals form and grow in supercooled plumes of Ice Shelf Water. They usually rise towards the surface, becoming trapped under an ice shelf as marine ice or forming a semi-consolidated layer, known as the sub-ice platelet layer, below an overlying sea ice cover. In the latter, sea ice growth consolidates loose crystals to form incorporated platelet ice. These phenomena have numerous and profound impacts on the physical properties, biological processes and biogeochemical cycles associated with Antarctic fast ice: platelet ice contributes to sea ice mass balance and may indicate the extent of ice-shelf basal melting. It can also host a highly productive and uniquely adapted ecosystem. This paper clarifies the terminology and reviews platelet ice formation, observational methods as well as the geographical and seasonal occurrence of this ice type. The physical properties and ecological implications are presented in a way understandable for physicists and biologists alike, thereby providing the background for much needed interdisciplinary research on this topic.
Placebos are not inert, but exert measurable biological effects. The placebo response in psychiatric illness is important and clinically relevant, but remains poorly understood. In this paper, we review current knowledge about the placebo response in psychiatric medicine and identify research directions for the future. We argue that more research is needed into the placebo response in psychiatric medicine for three broad reasons. First, awareness of factors that cause placebo response, for whom, and when, within clinical trials will allow us to better evidence efficacy of new treatments. Second, by understanding how placebo mechanisms operate in the clinic, we can take advantage of these to optimise the effects of current treatments. Finally, exploring the biological mechanisms of placebo effects might reveal tractable targets for novel treatment development.
An observational study was conducted to characterize high-touch surfaces in emergency departments and hemodialysis facilities. Certain surfaces were touched with much greater frequency than others. A small number of surfaces accounted for the majority of touch episodes. Prioritizing disinfection of these surfaces may reduce pathogen transmission within healthcare environments.
Rapid right ventricular pacing during balloon aortic valvuloplasty is commonly used to achieve balloon stability in children and adults. There is no consensus for the use of the technique in neonates and infants. We sought to review our institutional experience with rapid right ventricular pacing-assisted balloon aortic valvuloplasty across all age groups and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the technique in the sub-group of neonates and infants <12months.
Retrospective study between February, 2011 and February, 2020.
A total of 37 patients (Group I: 21 neonates/infants <12months and Group II: 16 children 12 months–16 years) were analysed. Catheter-measured left ventricular to aortic gradient reduced from median of 66 mmHg (with a range from 30 to 125 mmHg) to 14 mmHg (with a range from 5 to 44 mmHg) in Group I and 44 mmHg (with a range from 28 to 93 mmHg) to 18 mmHg (with a range from 2 to 65 mmHg) in Group II (p < 0.001). Procedure and fluoroscopy times were identical in the two groups. Balloon:annulus ratio was 0.94 and 0.88 in Groups I and II, respectively. Freedom from reintervention was 100% for Group I at a median time of 3.2 years and 81% at 2.7 years for Group II. Reinterventions in Group II (3/16 pts) were performed predominantly for complex left ventricular outflow tract stenosis. At follow-up echocardiogram, 45% of patients in Group I had no aortic regurgitation, 30% trace-mild, 20% mild-moderate, and 5% moderate aortic regurgitation, whereas in Group II, 50% of patients had no aortic regurgitation, 32% had mild aortic regurgitation, and 18% mild-moderate aortic regurgitation. Unicuspid valves were only encountered in Group 1 (2/21 pts, 10%) and they were predictive of mild-aortic regurgitation during follow-up (p = 0.003). Ventricular fibrillation occurred in three neonates with suspicion of myocardial ischemia on the pre-procedure echocardiogram. All were successfully defibrillated.
Rapid right ventricular pacing can be expanded in neonates and infants to potentially decrease the incidence of aortic regurgitation and reintervention rates, hence avoiding high-risk surgical bail-out procedures for severe aortic regurgitation in the first year of life. Myocardial ischemia may predispose to ventricular dysrhythmias during rapid right ventricular pacing.
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.
Advanced imaging techniques are enhancing research capacity focussed on the developmental origins of adult health and disease (DOHaD) hypothesis, and consequently increasing awareness of future health risks across various subareas of DOHaD research themes. Understanding how these advanced imaging techniques in animal models and human population studies can be both additively and synergistically used alongside traditional techniques in DOHaD-focussed laboratories is therefore of great interest. Global experts in advanced imaging techniques congregated at the advanced imaging workshop at the 2019 DOHaD World Congress in Melbourne, Australia. This review summarizes the presentations of new imaging modalities and novel applications to DOHaD research and discussions had by DOHaD researchers that are currently utilizing advanced imaging techniques including MRI, hyperpolarized MRI, ultrasound, and synchrotron-based techniques to aid their DOHaD research focus.
Choline plays a crucial role in lipid metabolism for fish, and its deficiency in aquafeed has been linked to compromised health and growth performance. A 56-d experiment was conducted to examine the effects of dietary choline on lipid composition, histology, and plasma biochemistry of yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi; YTK; 156 g initial body weight). The dietary choline content ranged from 0.59 to 6.22 g/kg diet. Three grams of 2-amino-2-methyl-1-propanol (AMP)/kg was added to diets, except for a control diet, to limit de novo choline synthesis. The results showed that the liver lipid content of YTK was similar among diets containing AMP and dominated by free fatty acids (FFA). In contrast, fish fed the control diet had significantly elevated liver triacylglycerol (TAG). Generally, the saturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) content of liver lipid in fish fed diets containing AMP was not influenced by choline content. The SFA and MUFA of liver lipid in fish fed the control diet was similar to other diets except for a decrease in PUFA. The linear relationship between lipid digestibility and plasma cholesterol was significant, otherwise most parameters were unaffected. When AMP is present, higher dietary choline reduced the severity of some hepatic lesions. This study demonstrated that choline-deficiency affects some plasma and liver histology parameters in juvenile YTK which might be useful fish health indicators. Importantly, this study elucidated potential reasons for lower growth in choline-deficient YTK and increased the knowledge on choline metabolism in the fish.
A growing number of developments in biology and materials chemistry highlight the notion of bioinspiration – in which biological concepts, mechanisms, functions, and design are the starting points toward new synthetic materials and devices with advanced structures and functions . There is no doubt that emerging and reemerging infectious diseases caused and transmitted by viruses have significantly impacted human health worldwide [2,3]. Clearly, the virus exhibits elegant architectures that could occasionally be cellular macromolecules with structures that are beautifully adapted to the functions of the virion . Virus particles exist in many sizes and shapes, and they vary considerably in the number and nature of the molecules from which they are built. Most viruses show a characteristic size, in the range of tens to hundreds of nanometers . Viruses are intracellular parasites that enter a host cell/body to deliver their genetic material to initiate infection. Usually, the first step in the life cycle of a virus is the attachment to host cells/bodies. These may include their abilities to interact with lipids, proteins, and sugar moieties on the surface of cells and tissue .
Antarctica's ice shelves modulate the grounded ice flow, and weakening of ice shelves due to climate forcing will decrease their ‘buttressing’ effect, causing a response in the grounded ice. While the processes governing ice-shelf weakening are complex, uncertainties in the response of the grounded ice sheet are also difficult to assess. The Antarctic BUttressing Model Intercomparison Project (ABUMIP) compares ice-sheet model responses to decrease in buttressing by investigating the ‘end-member’ scenario of total and sustained loss of ice shelves. Although unrealistic, this scenario enables gauging the sensitivity of an ensemble of 15 ice-sheet models to a total loss of buttressing, hence exhibiting the full potential of marine ice-sheet instability. All models predict that this scenario leads to multi-metre (1–12 m) sea-level rise over 500 years from present day. West Antarctic ice sheet collapse alone leads to a 1.91–5.08 m sea-level rise due to the marine ice-sheet instability. Mass loss rates are a strong function of the sliding/friction law, with plastic laws cause a further destabilization of the Aurora and Wilkes Subglacial Basins, East Antarctica. Improvements to marine ice-sheet models have greatly reduced variability between modelled ice-sheet responses to extreme ice-shelf loss, e.g. compared to the SeaRISE assessments.
Smoking rates in people with depression and anxiety are twice as high as in the general population, even though people with depression and anxiety are motivated to stop smoking. Most healthcare professionals are aware that stopping smoking is one of the greatest changes that people can make to improve their health. However, smoking cessation can be a difficult topic to raise. Evidence suggests that smoking may cause some mental health problems, and that the tobacco withdrawal cycle partly contributes to worse mental health. By stopping smoking, a person's mental health may improve, and the size of this improvement might be equal to taking antidepressants. In this article we outline ways in which healthcare professionals can compassionately and respectfully raise the topic of smoking to encourage smoking cessation. We draw on evidence-based methods such as cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) and outline approaches that healthcare professionals can use to integrate these methods into routine care to help their patients stop smoking.
The value of services for those with the ‘At Risk Mental State for Psychosis’ (ARMS) continues to be disputed. ARMS services have provided a valuable stimulus to academic research into the transition into psychosis. Furthermore, there is currently a welcome trend to transform such clinics into youth mental health services catering for the broader clientele of young people suffering from anxiety and depression, who already constitute the bulk of those seen at ARMS clinics. However, such services are never likely to make major inroads into preventing psychosis because they only reach a small proportion of those at risk. Evidence from medicine shows that avoiding exposure to factors which increase the risk of disease (e.g. poor nutrition, transmission of infection, tobacco smoking), produces greater public benefit than focussing efforts on individuals with, or about to develop, disease. We consider that the most productive approach for psychosis prevention is avoiding exposure to risk-increasing factors. The best-established risk factors for psychosis are obstetric events, childhood abuse, migration, city living, adverse life events and cannabis use. Some as city living, are likely proxies for an unknown causal factor(s) while preventing others such as childhood abuse is currently beyond our powers. The risk factor for psychosis which is most readily open to this approach is the use of cannabis. Therefore, as an initial step towards a strategy for universal primary prevention, we advocate public health campaigns to educate young people about the harms of regular use of high potency cannabis.
The symptoms of functional neurological disorder (FND) are a product of its pathophysiology. The pathophysiology of FND is reflective of dysfunction within and across different brain circuits that, in turn, affects specific constructs. In this perspective article, we briefly review five constructs that are affected in FND: emotion processing (including salience), agency, attention, interoception, and predictive processing/inference. Examples of underlying neural circuits include salience, multimodal integration, and attention networks. The symptoms of each patient can be described as a combination of dysfunction in several of these networks and related processes. While we have gained a considerable understanding of FND, there is more work to be done, including determining how pathophysiological abnormalities arise as a consequence of etiologic biopsychosocial factors. To facilitate advances in this underserved and important area, we propose a pathophysiology-focused research agenda to engage government-sponsored funding agencies and foundations.