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Depression and coronary heart disease (CHD) are highly comorbid conditions. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in cardiovascular processes. Depressed patients typically show decreased BDNF concentrations. We analysed the relationship between BDNF and depression in a sample of patients with CHD and additionally distinguished between cognitive-affective and somatic depression symptoms. We also investigated whether BDNF was associated with somatic comorbidity burden, acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or congestive heart failure (CHF).
The following variables were assessed for 225 hospitalised patients with CHD: BDNF concentrations, depression [Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)], somatic comorbidity (Charlson Comorbidity Index), CHF, ACS, platelet count, smoking status and antidepressant treatment.
Regression models revealed that BDNF was not associated with severity of depression. Although depressed patients (PHQ-9 score >7) had significantly lower BDNF concentrations compared to non-depressed patients (p = 0.04), this was not statistically significant after controlling for confounders (p = 0.15). Cognitive-affective symptoms and somatic comorbidity burden each closely missed a statistically significant association with BDNF concentrations (p = 0.08, p = 0.06, respectively). BDNF was reduced in patients with CHF (p = 0.02). There was no covariate-adjusted, significant association between BDNF and ACS.
Serum BDNF concentrations are associated with cardiovascular dysfunction. Somatic comorbidities should be considered when investigating the relationship between depression and BDNF.
Schizotypy is a putative risk phenotype for psychosis liability, but the overlap of its genetic architecture with schizophrenia is poorly understood.
We tested the hypothesis that dimensions of schizotypy (assessed with the SPQ-B) are associated with a polygenic risk score (PRS) for schizophrenia in a sample of 623 psychiatrically healthy, non-clinical subjects from the FOR2107 multi-centre study and a second sample of 1133 blood donors.
We did not find correlations of schizophrenia PRS with either overall SPQ or specific dimension scores, nor with adjusted schizotypy scores derived from the SPQ (addressing inter-scale variance). Also, PRS for affective disorders (bipolar disorder and major depression) were not significantly associated with schizotypy.
This important negative finding demonstrates that despite the hypothesised continuum of schizotypy and schizophrenia, schizotypy might share less genetic risk with schizophrenia than previously assumed (and possibly less compared to psychotic-like experiences).
The consistent association between therapeutic alliance and outcome underlines the importance of identifying factors which predict the development of a positive alliance. However, only few studies have examined the association between pretreatment characteristics and alliance formation in patients with schizophrenia.
The study examined whether symptoms and insight would predict the therapeutic alliance in psychotherapy of schizophrenia. Further, the associations and differences between patient and therapist alliance ratings were studied.
Eighty patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders received manual-based psychotherapy. Assessment of symptoms and insight was conducted at baseline, and questionnaire-based alliance ratings were obtained three weeks into treatment. Patient and therapist alliance ratings were examined separately.
Patient and therapist alliance ratings were not significantly correlated (r = 0.17). Patient ratings of the alliance were significantly higher than the ratings of their therapists (d = 0.73). More insight in psychosis significantly predicted higher patient ratings of the alliance. Less positive and negative symptoms were significant predictors of higher therapist alliance ratings.
The findings indicate that symptoms and insight have an influence on the therapeutic alliance in the treatment of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Patients' and therapists' perceptions of the alliance do not seem to demonstrate much convergence.
Different models of frameworks for dietetic care are used in Europe. There is a substantial need for a consistent framework to compare research results and to cooperate on an international level. Therefore, one of the goals of the EU-funded project IMPECD was the development of a unified framework Dietetic Care Process (DCP) in order to foster a shared understanding of process-driven dietetic counselling.
Materials and Methods:
Based on a literature review and in-depth analysis of different frameworks an iterative and incremental development process of finding solutions for decision-making within the consortium consisting of dietetic experts from 5 European HEI was passed. The developed DCP model was integrated in an online training course including 9 clinical cases (MOOC) to train students. The draft versions and the concluding final version DCP model were evaluated and re-evaluated by teachers and 25 students at two Intensive Study Programmes.
The DCP model consists of five distinct, interrelated steps which the consortium agreed on: Dietetic Assessment, Dietetic Diagnosis, Planning Dietetic Intervention, Implementing Dietetic Intervention, Dietetic Outcome Evaluation. A standardized scheme was developed to define the process steps: dedication, central statement, aim and principles, and operationalization.
For example, Dietetic Assessment is the first step of the DCP (dedication). It is a systematic process to gather dietetically adequate and relevant information about the client by using state-of-the-art methods (central statement). The aim is to identify nature and cause of dietetic related problems of the client (aim and principles). The gathered information are documented in types of categories (client history, diet history, behavioural-environmental, clinical status) or following the ICF-model (operationalization). The clinical cases used within the MOOC proved that the DCP model is suitable to be put into practice.
Existing different process models were analyzed to create a new and consistent concept of a unified framework DCP. The variety within the European countries represented by the consortium proved to be both a challenge in decision-making and an opportunity to integrate multinational perspectives and intensify the scientific discourse. The development of a standardized scheme with precise definitions is a prerequisite for planning study designs in health services research. Besides, clarification is essential for establishing process-guided work in practice. The evaluated MOOC is now implemented in study programmes used by 5 European HEI in order to keep approaches and process-driven action comparable. The MOOC promotes the exchange of ideas between future professionals on an international level.
The design of government portfolios – that is, the distribution of competencies among government ministries and office holders – has been largely ignored in the study of executive and coalition politics. This article argues that portfolio design is a substantively and theoretically relevant phenomenon that has major implications for the study of institutional design and coalition politics. The authors use comparative data on portfolio design reforms in nine Western European countries since the 1970s to demonstrate how the design of government portfolios changes over time. Specifically, they show that portfolios are changed frequently (on average about once a year) and that such shifts are more likely after changes in the prime ministership or the party composition of the government. These findings suggest a political logic behind these reforms based on the preferences and power of political parties and politicians. They have major implications for the study of institutional design and coalition politics.
Geometrical work piece deviations are unavoidable and directly affect the function and quality of technological products. Tolerance management is regarded as a crucial subtask of the development of technological products, because it ensures the function as well as a sufficient product quality while maintaining reasonable production costs. That means, that geometric tolerances as an essential part of the product description greatly affect the functional capability, manufacturability, mountability, verifiability and the costs of the final product. The research group FOR 2271 was founded to enable the computer-aided specification of tolerances, which meet the requirements of production, assembly, verification and function by close cooperation between the departments responsible for product design, assembly and metrology. The aim of this contribution is to determine the manufacturing process scatter as well as the measurement uncertainty and establish ways and means to include that information into efficient meta-models, ultimately enabling improved and accurate tolerance analyses.
The genus Aegilops belongs to the secondary gene pool of wheat and has great importance for wheat cultivar improvement. As a genus with only annual species, regeneration from seeds in Aegilops is crucial. In several species in Aegilops, spikes produce different seed morphs, both in size and germination patterns. However, little is known about the ecology of seed germination, nor about the seed longevity in this genus. Here we investigated the germination phenology of Ae. neglecta under laboratory and field conditions and assessed longevity of different seed morphs of five additional Aegilops species using controlled ageing tests. Large seeds were short-lived and germinated faster than small seeds in most of the species. Field experiments with Ae. neglecta showed that large seeds of the dimorphic pair germinated 3 months after dispersal in contrast to 14 months for smaller seeds. Differences in longevity were detected not only in dimorphic seed pairs, but also among seeds from different positions on the spike. Our results indicate that different longevities in seed morphs of Aegilops may reflect a different soil seed bank persistence, with smaller seeds able to maintain a higher viability after dispersal than larger ones, thereby spreading seedling emergence over two years. Differences of seed germination and longevities between seed morphs in Aegilops may have important implications for ex situ seed conservation and reinforce the hypothesis of a bet-hedging strategy in the germination ecology of this genus.
Modeling the instantaneous kinematics of lower pair linkages using joint screws and the finite kinematics with Lie group concepts is well established on a solid theoretical foundation. This allows for modeling the forward kinematics of mechanisms as well the loop closure constraints of kinematic loops. Yet there is no established approach to the modeling of complex mechanisms possessing multiple kinematic loops. For such mechanisms, it is crucial to incorporate the kinematic topology within the modeling in a consistent and systematic way. To this end, in this paper a kinematic model graph is introduced that gives rise to an ordering of the joints within a mechanism and thus allows to systematically apply established kinematics formulations. It naturally gives rise to topologically independent loops and thus to loop closure constraints. Geometric constraints as well as velocity and acceleration constraints are formulated in terms of joint screws. An extension to higher order loop constraints is presented. It is briefly discussed how the topology representation can be used to amend structural mobility criteria.
Multidimensional effects are essential for the success of the neutrino-driven explosion mechanism of core-collapse supernovae. Although astrophysical phenomena in nature involve three spatial dimensions, the huge computational demands still allow only for a few self-consistent, three-dimensional (3D) simulations focusing on specific aspects of the explosion physics, whereas systematic studies of larger sets of progenitor models or detailed investigations of different explosion parameters are restricted to the axisymmetric (2D) modeling approach at the moment. Employing state-of-the-art neutrino physics, we present the results of self-consistent core-collapse supernova simulations performed with the Prometheus-Vertex code in 2D and 3D. The 2D study of 18 successfully exploding pre-supernova models in the range of 11 to 28 solar masses shows the progenitor dependence of the explosion dynamics: if the progenitor exhibits a pronounced decline of the density at the Si/Si-O composition shell interface, the rapid drop of the mass-accretion rate at the time the interface arrives at the shock induces a steep reduction of the accretion ram pressure. This causes a strong shock expansion supported by neutrino heating and thus favors an early explosion. In case of a more gradually decreasing accretion rate, it takes longer for the neutrino heating to overcome the accretion ram pressure and explosions set in later. By considering the effects of turbulent pressure in the gain layer, we derive a generalized condition for the critical neutrino luminosity that captures the explosion behavior of all models very well. We show that this concept can also be extended to describe the effects of rotation as well as the behavior of recent 3D simulations and that the conditions necessary for the onset of explosion can be defined in a similar way.
We present the first successful simulations of neutrino-driven supernova explosions in three dimensions (3D) using the Vertex-Prometheus code including sophisticated energy-dependent neutrino transport. The simulated models of 9.6 and 20 solar-mass iron-core stars demonstrate that successful explosions can be obtained in self-consistent 3D simulations, where previous models have failed. New insights into the supernova mechanism can be gained from these explosions. The first 3D model (Melson et al. 2015a) explodes at the same time but more energetically than its axially symmetric (2D) counterpart. Turbulent energy cascading reduces the kinetic energy dissipation in the cooling layer and therefore suppresses neutrino cooling. The consequent inward shift of the gain radius increases the gain layer mass, whose recombination energy provides the surplus for the explosion energy.
The second explosion (Melson et al. 2015b) is obtained through a moderate reduction of the neutral-current neutrino opacity motivated by strange-quark contributions to the nucleon spin. A corresponding reference model without these corrections failed, which demonstrates how close current 3D models are to explosion. The strangeness adjustment is meant as a prototype for remaining neutrino opacity uncertainties.