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Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
TAOS II is a next-generation occultation survey with the goal of measuring the size distribution of the small end of the Kuiper Belt (objects with diameters 0.5–30 km). Such objects have magnitudes r > 30, and are thus undetectable by direct imaging. The project will operate three telescopes at San Pedro Mártir Observatory in Baja California, México. Each telescope will be equipped with a custom-built camera comprised of a focal-plane array of CMOS imagers. The cameras will be capable of reading out image data from 10,000 stars at a cadence of 20 Hz. The telescopes will monitor the same set of stars simultaneously to search for coincident occultation detections, thus minimising the false-positive rate. This talk described the project, and reported on the progress of the development of the survey infrastructure.
Introduction: A novel bladder stimulation technique has been described for midstream urine (MSU) collection in well-feeding, inpatient newborns. We sought to determine the performance of this technique amongst infants presenting to the Emergency Department (ED). Methods: Our prospective ED-based study enrolled a convenience cohort of infants aged ≤ 90 days who required urine testing. Infants with significant feeding issues, moderate to severe dehydration, or critical illness were excluded. Bladder stimulation consisted of finger tapping on the lower abdomen with or without lower back massage while holding the child upright. Healthcare providers received standardized training in the technique. Primary outcome was the proportion of infants with successful MSU collection via the technique. Success was defined as adequate sample collection (≥ 1 mL urine) within 5 minutes of initiating stimulation. Secondary outcomes included the proportion of contaminated MSU samples, time required for MSU collection and full protocol completion, and patient discomfort as perceived by parent/guardian using a 100 mm visual analog scale [VAS]. Assuming success a priori in 50% of infants, a sample size of 115 allowed a 95% confidence interval of +/- 9.1% around the point estimate. Results: We enrolled 115 infants. Mean age was 53.0 days old (interquartile range [IQR] 26.7-68.0); 58.3% were male (69.2% uncircumcised). Midstream urine was successfully collected in 61 infants (53.0%; 95% CI 0.44,0.62). Thirty-one MSU samples (50.8%) were contaminated; uncircumcised males held the highest proportion (55.0%). Most contaminated samples (83.9%) were reported as “non-significant growth” or “growth of ≥ 3 organisms” and were easily identifiable as contaminants with minimal impact on clinical care. Only 4 (8.5%) of the 47 patients discharged home after successful MSU collection had a repeat ED visit for urine testing. Median stimulation time for MSU collection was 45 seconds (IQR 20-99 secs). Median time for full protocol completion was 30.83 minutes (IQR 24.42-46.83 mins). Mean VAS for infant discomfort was 20.2 mm (SD +/- 20.4 mm). Conclusion: Our pragmatic, ED-based study found the success rate of this bladder stimulation technique to be significantly lower (53%) than its published rate (86%). The contamination rate was high but most contaminated specimens were easily identifiable as such and had minimal clinical impact.
High precision photographic photometry indicates that two stars lying on the giant branch in the C-M diagram of M15 are small amplitude (~0.2 mag) variables. The two stars are Kustner 64 and 152. This investigation is based on plates taken with three telescopes: the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory 1.8-metre reflector, the David Dunlap 1.9-metre reflector and the Yunnan 1-metre reflector in China. The existing data is not sufficient for period determination.
This study examined the temporal and spatial patterns of diarrhoea in relation to hydro-meteorological factors in the Mekong Delta area in Vietnam. A time-series design was applied to examine the temporal pattern of the climate–diarrhoea relationship using Poisson regression models. Spatial analysis was applied to examine the spatial clusters of diarrhoea using Global Moran's I and local indicators of spatial autocorrelation (LISA). The temporal pattern showed that the highest peak of diarrhoea was from weeks 30–42 corresponding to August–October annually. A 1 cm increase in river water level at a lag of 1 week was associated with a small [0·07%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·01–0·1] increase in the diarrhoeal rate. A 1 °C increase in temperature at lag of 2 and 4 weeks was associated with a 1·5% (95% CI 0·3−2·7) and 1·1% (95% CI 0·1−2·3) increase in diarrhoeal risk, respectively. Relative humidity and diarrhoeal risk were in nonlinear relationship. The spatial analysis showed significant clustering of diarrhoea, and the LISA map shows three multi-centred diarrhoeal clusters and three single-centred clusters in the research location. The findings suggest that climatic conditions projected to be associated with climate change have important implication for human health impact in the Mekong Delta region.
Loss of cortical volume in frontotemporal regions occurs in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) and longitudinal studies have reported progressive brain volume changes at different stages of the disease, even if cognitive deficits remain stable over time. We investigated cortical changes in patients over the 2 years following their FEP and their associations with clinical and cognitive measures.
Twenty-seven patients after their FEP (20 with schizophrenia, seven with schizo-affective disorder) and 25 healthy controls matched for age and gender participated in this study. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed on a 1.5-T scanner both at baseline and after 2 years. Area and thickness of the cortex were measured using surface-based morphometry (SBM). Patients also underwent neuropsychological testing at these two time points.
Progressive cortical thinning in the superior and inferior frontal and, to a lesser extent, superior temporal cortex was observed in patients. Cortical area remained constant. Cortical thinning was associated with duration of treatment at a trend level and was predicted by baseline measures of IQ and working memory. Cortical thinning occurred in the absence of clinical or cognitive deterioration.
The clinical implications of these cortical changes remain uncertain, but patients with less cognitive reserve may be more vulnerable to developing cortical abnormalities when exposed to medication or other disease-related biological factors.
Mesa and planar geometry GaN Schottky rectifiers were fabricated on 3-12µm thick epitaxial layers. In planar diodes utilizing resistive GaN, a reverse breakdown voltage of 3.1 kV was achieved in structures containing p-guard rings and employing extension of the Schottky contact edge over an oxide layer. In devices without edge termination, the reverse breakdown voltage was 2.3 kV. Mesa diodes fabricated on conducting GaN had breakdown voltages in the range 200-400 V, with on-state resistances as low as 6m Ω·cm−2.
Undoped, 4µm thick GaN layers grown by Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition were used for fabrication of high stand off voltage (356 V) Schottky diode rectifiers. The figure of merit VRB2/RON, where VRB is the reverse breakdown voltage and RON is the on-resistance, was ~ 4.53 MW-cm−2 at 25°C. The reverse breakdown voltage displayed a negative temperature coefficient, due to an increase in carrier concentration with increasing temperature. Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry measurements showed that Si and O were the most predominant electrically active impurities present in the GaN.
Mesa and planar geometry GaN Schottky rectifiers were fabricated on 3-12µm thick epitaxial layers. In planar diodes utilizing resistive GaN, a reverse breakdown voltage of 3.1 kV was achieved in structures containing p-guard rings and employing extension of the Schottky contact edge over an oxide layer. In devices without edge termination, the reverse breakdown voltage was 2.3 kV. Mesa diodes fabricated on conducting GaN had breakdown voltages in the range 200-400 V, with on-state resistances as low as 6m Ωcm−2.
Previous studies have suggested that Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) has antioxidant effects and possibly beneficial effects on blood pressure, plasma lipids and glucose, but these have not been confirmed in subjects with mild hypertension or hyperlipidaemia. The objective of the present study was to assess the cardiovascular, metabolic, antioxidant and immunomodulatory responses to therapy with Lingzhi in patients with borderline elevations of blood pressure and/or cholesterol in a controlled cross-over trial. A total of twenty-six patients received 1·44 g Lingzhi daily or matching placebo for 12 weeks in a randomised, double-blind, cross-over study with placebo-controlled run-in and cross-over periods. Body weight, blood pressure, metabolic parameters, urine catecholamines and cortisol, antioxidant status and lymphocyte subsets were measured after each period. Lingzhi was well tolerated and data from twenty-three evaluable subjects showed no changes in BMI or blood pressure when treated with Lingzhi or placebo. Plasma insulin and homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance were lower after treatment with Lingzhi than after placebo. TAG decreased and HDL-cholesterol increased with Lingzhi but not with placebo in the first treatment period, but significant carry-over effects prevented complete analysis of these parameters. Urine catecholamines and cortisol, plasma antioxidant status and blood lymphocyte subsets showed no significant differences across treatments. Results indicate that Lingzhi might have mild antidiabetic effects and potentially improve the dyslipidaemia of diabetes, as shown previously in some animal studies. Further studies are desirable in patients with hyperglycaemia.
Background: The Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (CERAD-NAB) offers information on the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and gives a profile of cognitive functioning. This study explores the effects of age, education and gender on participants' performance on eight subtests in the Chinese-Cantonese version of the CERAD-NAB.
Methods: The original English version of the CERAD-NAB was translated and content-validated into a Chinese-Cantonese version to suit the Hong Kong Chinese population. The battery was administered to 187 healthy volunteers aged 60 to 94 years. Participants were excluded if they had neurological, medical or psychiatric disorders (including dementia). Stepwise multiple linear regression analyses were performed to assess the relative contribution of the demographic variables to the scores on each subtest.
Results: The Cantonese version of CERAD-NAB was shown to have good content validity and excellent inter-rater reliability. Stepwise multiple regression analyses revealed that performances on seven and four out of eight subtests in the CERAD-NAB were significantly influenced by education level and age, respectively. Age and education had significant effects on participants' performance on many tests. Gender also showed a significant effect on one subtest.
Conclusions: The preliminary data will serve as an initial phase for clinical interpretation of the CERAD-NAB for Cantonese-speaking Chinese elders.
We are presently using the Chandra X-ray Observatory to conduct the first systematic X-ray survey of planetary nebulae (PNe) in the solar neighborhood. The Chandra Planetary Nebula Survey (ChanPlaNS) is a 570 ks Chandra Cycle 12 Large Program targeting 21 high-excitation PNe within ~1.5 kpc of Earth. When complete, this survey will provide a suite of new X-ray diagnostics that will inform the study of late stellar evolution, binary star astrophysics, and wind interactions. Among the early results of ChanPlaNS (when combined with archival Chandra data) is a surprisingly high detection rate of relatively hard X-ray emission from CSPNe. Specifically, X-ray point sources are clearly detected in roughly half of the ~30 high-excitation PNe observed thus far by Chandra, and all but one of these X-ray-emitting CSPNe display evidence for a hard (few MK) component in their Chandra spectra. Only the central star of the Dumbbell appears to display “pure” hot blackbody emission from a ~200 kK hot white dwarf photosphere in the X-ray band. Potential explanations for the“excess” hard X-ray emission detected from the other CSPNe include late-type companions (heretofore undetected, in most cases) whose coronae have been rejuvenated by recent interactions with the mass-losing WD progenitor, non-LTE effects in hot white dwarf photospheres, self-shocking variable winds from the central star, and slow (re-)accretion of previously ejected red giant envelope mass.
The cathodic kinetic processes on a highly oriented LSCO thin film electrode supported on YSZ(100) surface were studied with a 3-probe ac impedance method under varying bias potential and annealing temperatures. Three distinctive features observed in the impedance spectra were assigned to contributions from the ionic conduction of the YSZ electrolyte, the ionic transfer at the LSCO/YSZ interface, and the oxygen exchange on the LSCO electrode surface. The changes of the three features with respect to the annealing history and bias potential were measured. The impedance data were analyzed using an equivalent circuit model: (RelCel)(RinterfaceQinterface)(RsurfCsurf).
Magnetotransport properties of Al0.22Ga0.78N/GaN modulation-doped heterostructures have been studied at low temperatures and high magnetic fields. The inter-subband scattering of the two-dimensional electron gas was observed. The inter-subband scattering is very weak and depends weakly on temperature when temperature is between 1.3 K and 10 K and becomes stronger with increasing temperature when temperature is higher than 10 K. The strain relaxation of the Al0.22Ga0.78N layer influences the inter-subband scattering. It is suggested that the inter-subband scattering is dominant by the elastic scattering when temperature is lower than 10 K, and changes to be dominant by the inelastic scattering of the acoustic phonons when temperature is higher than 10 K.
We have studied the kinetics of the chemical reaction between Mg and B by differential thermal analysis. There are two exothermal peaks observed at 500 and 650 °C. We speculate that the first exothermal peak is mainly related to the chemical reaction between Mg and oxygen, forming MgO. The second exothermal peak, which coincides with the melting point of Mg, clearly indicates the chemical reaction between Mg and B. The effect of synthesis conditions and defects on the transport property of MgB2 has been investigated. A correlation between the microstrain, the lattice parameters, and the Mg concentration were observed and are discussed.
A novel chemical etchant for the high temperature superconducting material YBa2Cu3O7‐x is demonstrated. The etching solution which consists of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) in water does not degrade the properties of the superconducting films and is suitable for applications with standard photolithography. We have etched 2‐200 μm wide wires which show no degradation of Tc ( within 1 K accuracy of the measurements) and show zero‐resistance temperature ≥90 K. The etchant exhibits a polishing effect by selectively removing the porous and semiconducting surface layers which are formed during high temperature annealing process. The dense bulk of the films are etched at a rate of 1400 Å/min which provides control for fine‐line patterning of thin film material. The critical current densities of the unpatterned films which are polished by reactions with EDTA remain unaffected and are measured to be about 5 x 106 A/cm2.
We have measured the infrared (IR) reflectance and Raman spectra of electron doped and undoped Nd2CuO4 and Pr2CuO4. Utilizing the results from doped ceramics and undoped ab plane oriented single crystals, we observe and assign all the IR active phonons (3A2u + 4Eu) predicted by group theory. We have also observed the Raman active modes involving atom motion along the c axis. We compare our results to those found in the related hole superconductors based upon La2CuO4.
Polycrystalline Si crystals grown by gas-assistedsolidification have been characterized by chemical and physical techniques with particular emphasis on carbon determination. The life time of this material appears to be not correlated with  or [C].