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There is evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected mental health, but most studies have been conducted in the general population.
To identify factors associated with mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in individuals with pre-existing mental illness.
Participants (N = 2869, 78% women, ages 18–94 years) from a UK cohort (the National Centre for Mental Health) with a history of mental illness completed a cross-sectional online survey in June to August 2020. Mental health assessments were the GAD-7 (anxiety), PHQ-9 (depression) and WHO-5 (well-being) questionnaires, and a self-report question on whether their mental health had changed during the pandemic. Regressions examined associations between mental health outcomes and hypothesised risk factors. Secondary analyses examined associations between specific mental health diagnoses and mental health.
A total of 60% of participants reported that mental health had worsened during the pandemic. Younger age, difficulty accessing mental health services, low income, income affected by COVID-19, worry about COVID-19, reduced sleep and increased alcohol/drug use were associated with increased depression and anxiety symptoms and reduced well-being. Feeling socially supported by friends/family/services was associated with better mental health and well-being. Participants with a history of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or eating disorder were more likely to report that mental health had worsened during the pandemic than individuals without a history of these diagnoses.
We identified factors associated with worse mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic in individuals with pre-existing mental illness, in addition to specific groups potentially at elevated risk of poor mental health during the pandemic.
The Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (RACS) is the first large-area survey to be conducted with the full 36-antenna Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope. RACS will provide a shallow model of the ASKAP sky that will aid the calibration of future deep ASKAP surveys. RACS will cover the whole sky visible from the ASKAP site in Western Australia and will cover the full ASKAP band of 700–1800 MHz. The RACS images are generally deeper than the existing NRAO VLA Sky Survey and Sydney University Molonglo Sky Survey radio surveys and have better spatial resolution. All RACS survey products will be public, including radio images (with
15 arcsec resolution) and catalogues of about three million source components with spectral index and polarisation information. In this paper, we present a description of the RACS survey and the first data release of 903 images covering the sky south of declination
made over a 288-MHz band centred at 887.5 MHz.
Lichens are widely acknowledged to be a key component of high latitude ecosystems. However, the time investment needed for full inventories and the lack of taxonomic identification resources for crustose lichen and lichenicolous fungal diversity have hampered efforts to fully gauge the depth of species richness in these ecosystems. Using a combination of classical field inventory and extensive deployment of chemical and molecular analysis, we assessed the diversity of lichens and associated fungi in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska (USA), a mixed landscape of coastal boreal rainforest and early successional low elevation habitats deglaciated after the Little Ice Age. We collected nearly 5000 specimens and found a total of 947 taxa, including 831 taxa of lichen-forming and 96 taxa of lichenicolous fungi together with 20 taxa of saprotrophic fungi typically included in lichen studies. A total of 98 species (10.3% of those detected) could not be assigned to known species and of those, two genera and 27 species are described here as new to science: Atrophysma cyanomelanos gen. et sp. nov., Bacidina circumpulla, Biatora marmorea, Carneothele sphagnicola gen. et sp. nov., Cirrenalia lichenicola, Corticifraga nephromatis, Fuscidea muskeg, Fuscopannaria dillmaniae, Halecania athallina, Hydropunctaria alaskana, Lambiella aliphatica, Lecania hydrophobica, Lecanora viridipruinosa, Lecidea griseomarginata, L. streveleri, Miriquidica gyrizans, Niesslia peltigerae, Ochrolechia cooperi, Placynthium glaciale, Porpidia seakensis, Rhizocarpon haidense, Sagiolechia phaeospora, Sclerococcum fissurinae, Spilonema maritimum, Thelocarpon immersum, Toensbergia blastidiata and Xenonectriella nephromatis. An additional 71 ‘known unknown’ species are cursorily described. Four new combinations are made: Lepra subvelata (G. K. Merr.) T. Sprib., Ochrolechia minuta (Degel.) T. Sprib., Steineropsis laceratula (Hue) T. Sprib. & Ekman and Toensbergia geminipara (Th. Fr.) T. Sprib. & Resl. Thirty-eight taxa are new to North America and 93 additional taxa new to Alaska. We use four to eight DNA loci to validate the placement of ten of the new species in the orders Baeomycetales, Ostropales, Lecanorales, Peltigerales, Pertusariales and the broader class Lecanoromycetes with maximum likelihood analyses. We present a total of 280 new fungal DNA sequences. The lichen inventory from Glacier Bay National Park represents the second largest number of lichens and associated fungi documented from an area of comparable size and the largest to date in North America. Coming from almost 60°N, these results again underline the potential for high lichen diversity in high latitude ecosystems.
Longitudinal studies of first episode of psychosis (FEP) patients are critical to understanding the dynamic clinical factors influencing functional outcomes; negative symptoms and verbal memory (VM) deficits are two such factors that remain a therapeutic challenge. This study uses white-gray matter contrast at the inner edge of the cortex, in addition to cortical thickness, to probe changes in microstructure and their relation with negative symptoms and possible intersections with verbal memory.
T1-weighted images and clinical data were collected longitudinally for patients (N = 88) over a two-year period. Cognitive data were also collected at baseline. Relationships between baseline VM (immediate/delayed recall) and rate of change in two negative symptom dimensions, amotivation and expressivity, were assessed at the behavioral level, as well as at the level of brain structure.
VM, particularly immediate recall, was significantly and positively associated with a steeper rate of expressivity symptom decline (r = 0.32, q = 0.012). Significant interaction effects between baseline delayed recall and change in expressivity were uncovered in somatomotor regions bilaterally for both white-gray matter contrast and cortical thickness. Furthermore, interaction effects between immediate recall and change in expressivity on cortical thickness rates were uncovered across higher-order regions of the language processing network.
This study shows common neural correlates of language-related brain areas underlying expressivity and VM in FEP, suggesting deficits in these domains may be more linked to speech production rather than general cognitive capacity. Together, white-gray matter contrast and cortical thickness may optimally inform clinical investigations aiming to capture peri-cortical microstructural changes.