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Cognitive impairment associated with lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD) is well-supported by meta-analytic studies, but population-based estimates remain scarce. Previous UK Biobank studies have only shown limited evidence of cognitive differences related to probable MDD. Using updated cognitive and clinical assessments in UK Biobank, this study investigated population-level differences in cognitive functioning associated with lifetime MDD.
Associations between lifetime MDD and cognition (performance on six tasks and general cognitive functioning [g-factor]) were investigated in UK Biobank (N-range 7,457–14,836, age 45–81 years, 52% female), adjusting for demographics, education, and lifestyle. Lifetime MDD classifications were based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Within the lifetime MDD group, we additionally investigated relationships between cognition and (a) recurrence, (b) current symptoms, (c) severity of psychosocial impairment (while symptomatic), and (d) concurrent psychotropic medication use.
Lifetime MDD was robustly associated with a lower g-factor (β = −0.10, PFDR = 4.7 × 10−5), with impairments in attention, processing speed, and executive functioning (β ≥ 0.06). Clinical characteristics revealed differential profiles of cognitive impairment among case individuals; those who reported severe psychosocial impairment and use of psychotropic medication performed worse on cognitive tests. Severe psychosocial impairment and reasoning showed the strongest association (β = −0.18, PFDR = 7.5 × 10−5).
Findings describe small but robust associations between lifetime MDD and lower cognitive performance within a population-based sample. Overall effects were of modest effect size, suggesting limited clinical relevance. However, deficits within specific cognitive domains were more pronounced in relation to clinical characteristics, particularly severe psychosocial impairment.
In this article, we lay out the basic case for wellbeing as the goal of government. We briefly review the history of this idea, which goes back to the ancient Greeks and was the acknowledged ideal of the Enlightenment. We then discuss possible measures on which a wellbeing orientation could be based, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging the political agency of citizens and thus their own evaluations of their lives. We then turn to practicalities and consequences: how would one actually set up wellbeing-oriented decision-making and what difference should we expect from current practice? We end by discussing the current barriers to the adoption of wellbeing as the goal of government, both in terms of what we need to know more about and where the ideological barriers lie.
Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
Relapse prevention strategies based on monitoring of early warning signs (EWS) are advocated for the management of psychosis. However, there has been a lack of research exploring how staff, carers and patients make sense of the utility of EWS, or how these are implemented in context.
To develop a multiperspective theory of how EWS are understood and used, which is grounded in the experiences of mental health staff, carers and patients.
Twenty-five focus groups were held across Glasgow and Melbourne (EMPOWER Trial, ISRCTN: 99559262). Participants comprised 88 mental health staff, 21 patients and 40 carers from UK and Australia (total n = 149). Data were analysed using constructivist grounded theory.
All participants appeared to recognise EWS and acknowledged the importance of responding to EWS to support relapse prevention. However, recognition of and acting on EWS were constructed in a context of uncertainty, which appeared linked to risk appraisals that were dependent on distinct stakeholder roles and experiences. Within current relapse management, a process of weighted decision-making (where one factor was seen as more important than others) described how stakeholders weighed up the risks and consequences of relapse alongside the risks and consequences of intervention and help-seeking.
Mental health staff, carers and patients speak about using EWS within a weighted decision-making process, which is acted out in the context of relationships that exist in current relapse management, rather than an objective response to specific signs and symptoms.
Major depressive disorder and neuroticism (Neu) share a large genetic basis. We sought to determine whether this shared basis could be decomposed to identify genetic factors that are specific to depression.
We analysed summary statistics from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of depression (from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 23andMe and UK Biobank) and compared them with GWAS of Neu (from UK Biobank). First, we used a pairwise GWAS analysis to classify variants as associated with only depression, with only Neu or with both. Second, we estimated partial genetic correlations to test whether the depression's genetic link with other phenotypes was explained by shared overlap with Neu.
We found evidence that most genomic regions (25/37) associated with depression are likely to be shared with Neu. The overlapping common genetic variance of depression and Neu was genetically correlated primarily with psychiatric disorders. We found that the genetic contributions to depression, that were not shared with Neu, were positively correlated with metabolic phenotypes and cardiovascular disease, and negatively correlated with the personality trait conscientiousness. After removing shared genetic overlap with Neu, depression still had a specific association with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, coronary artery disease and age of first birth. Independent of depression, Neu had specific genetic correlates in ulcerative colitis, pubertal growth, anorexia and education.
Our findings demonstrate that, while genetic risk factors for depression are largely shared with Neu, there are also non-Neu-related features of depression that may be useful for further patient or phenotypic stratification.
The extent of social isolation experienced by people living with dementia who reside in the community has been well acknowledged, yet little is known about how people living alone with dementia maintain neighbourhood-based connections. The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences of people with dementia who live alone, focusing upon how they establish social networks and relationships in a neighbourhood context, and how they are supported to maintain this social context within everyday life. Multiple data collection methods were used including, semi-structured interviews, walking interviews, guided home tours and social network mapping, which were conducted with 14 community-dwelling people living alone with dementia (11 women and three men) situated across the three international study sites in England, Scotland and Sweden. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. The analysis revealed four main themes: (a) making the effort to stay connected; (b) befriending by organisations and facilitated friendships; (c) the quiet neighbourhood atmosphere; and (d) changing social connections. The analysis suggests that people with dementia who live alone were active agents who took control to find and maintain relationships and social networks in the neighbourhood. Our findings indicate the need to raise awareness about this specific group in both policy and practice, and to find creative ways to help people connect through everyday activities and by spontaneous encounters in the neighbourhood.
We determined how pasture and grazing management practices affected the number of days hay was fed to cattle by season. Data were collected from a survey of Tennessee cattle producers. Days of cattle on hay varied across seasons because of variations in forage production and weather. The number of days hay was fed to cattle varied with pasture-animal management practices such as rotating pastures, forage mixtures, and weed management strategies. Having mixtures of cool- and warm-season grasses reduced the number of days on hay in the winter, spring, and summer months indicating benefits from diversified forages.
Substantial clinical heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) suggests it may group together individuals with diverse aetiologies. Identifying distinct subtypes should lead to more effective diagnosis and treatment, while providing more useful targets for further research. Genetic and clinical overlap between MDD and schizophrenia (SCZ) suggests an MDD subtype may share underlying mechanisms with SCZ.
The present study investigated whether a neurobiologically distinct subtype of MDD could be identified by SCZ polygenic risk score (PRS). We explored interactive effects between SCZ PRS and MDD case/control status on a range of cortical, subcortical and white matter metrics among 2370 male and 2574 female UK Biobank participants.
There was a significant SCZ PRS by MDD interaction for rostral anterior cingulate cortex (RACC) thickness (β = 0.191, q = 0.043). This was driven by a positive association between SCZ PRS and RACC thickness among MDD cases (β = 0.098, p = 0.026), compared to a negative association among controls (β = −0.087, p = 0.002). MDD cases with low SCZ PRS showed thinner RACC, although the opposite difference for high-SCZ-PRS cases was not significant. There were nominal interactions for other brain metrics, but none remained significant after correcting for multiple comparisons.
Our significant results indicate that MDD case-control differences in RACC thickness vary as a function of SCZ PRS. Although this was not the case for most other brain measures assessed, our specific findings still provide some further evidence that MDD in the presence of high genetic risk for SCZ is subtly neurobiologically distinct from MDD in general.
Australia’s laid-back, sun-drenched beach lifestyle has been a celebrated and prominent part of its official popular culture for nigh on a century, and the images and motifs associated with this culture have become hallmarks of the country’s collective identity. Though these representations tend towards stereotype, for many Australians the idea of a summer holiday at the beach is one that is intensely personal and romanticised – its image is not at all urbanised. As Douglas Booth observed, for Australians the beach has become a ‘sanctuary at which to abandon cares – a place to let down one’s hair, remove one’s clothes […] a paradise where one could laze in peace, free from guilt, drifting between the hot sand and the warm sea, and seek romance’.1 Beach holidays became popular in the interwar years of the twentieth century, but the most intense burst of activity – both in touristic promotion and in the development of tourism infrastructure – accompanied the postwar economic boom, when family incomes were able to meet the cost of a car and, increasingly, a cheap block of land by the beach upon which a holiday home could be erected with thrift and haste. In subtropical southeast Queensland, the postwar beach holiday became the hallmark of the state’s burgeoning tourism industry; the state’s southeast coastline in particular benefiting from its warm climate and proximity to the capital, Brisbane. It was here – along the evocatively named Gold Coast (to Brisbane’s south) and Sunshine Coast (to its north)  – that many families experienced their first taste of what is now widely celebrated as the beach lifestyle . As one reflection has it:
In the era before motels and resorts, a holiday at the Gold and Sunshine coasts usually meant either pitching a tent and camping by the beach or staying in a simple cottage owned by family or friends […] Simplicity, informality, individuality […] were the hallmarks of these humble places.2
Children with prenatal tobacco exposure (PTE) exhibit early self-regulatory impairments, reflecting a life-course persistent propensity toward behavioral disinhibition. Previously, we demonstrated the protective role of parental responsiveness for reducing the risk of exposure-related disruptive behavior in adolescence. Here, we expanded this line of inquiry, examining whether responsiveness moderates the relation of PTE to a broader set of behavioral disinhibition features in early childhood and testing alternative diathesis-stress versus differential susceptibility explanatory models. PTE was assessed prospectively using interviews and bioassays in the Midwestern Infant Development Study (MIDS). Mother-child dyads (N = 276) were re-assessed at approximately 5 years of age in a preschool follow-up. We quantified maternal responsiveness and child behavioral disinhibition using a combination of directly observed activities in the lab and developmentally sensitive questionnaires. Results supported a diathesis-stress pattern. Children with PTE and less responsive mothers showed increased disruptive behavior and lower effortful control compared with children without PTE. In contrast, exposed children with more responsive mothers had self-regulatory profiles similar to their non-exposed peers. We did not observe sex differences. Findings provide greater specification of the protective role of maternal responsiveness for self-regulation in children with PTE and help clarify mechanisms that may underscore trajectories of exposure-related behavioral disinhibition.
I analyse the relative influence of lawmakers before and after a watershed moment in the development of faction institutions: the abolition of legislative service organizations. Blocs of lawmakers in the House of Representatives were afforded official resources to advance their policy agendas between 1979 and 1995. In the wake of the “Republican Revolution,” however, these groups were categorically dismantled. Using a difference-in-difference design, I estimate the individual-level effect of losing congressional resources on relative legislative effectiveness. The results inform our understanding of faction power, legislative bargaining and evolving congressional institutions.