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The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is related to dopamine degradation and has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, how this gene affects brain function properties in MDD is still unclear.
Fifty patients with MDD and 35 cognitively normal participants underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. A voxelwise and data-drive global functional connectivity density (gFCD) analysis was used to investigate the main effects and the interactions of disease states and COMT rs4680 gene polymorphism on brain function.
We found significant group differences of the gFCD in bilateral fusiform area (FFA), post-central and pre-central cortex, left superior temporal gyrus (STG), rectal and superior temporal gyrus and right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC); abnormal gFCDs in left STG were positively correlated with severity of depression in MDD group. Significant disease × COMT interaction effects were found in the bilateral calcarine gyrus, right vlPFC, hippocampus and thalamus, and left SFG and FFA. Further post-hoc tests showed a nonlinear modulation effect of COMT on gFCD in the development of MDD. Interestingly, an inverted U-shaped modulation was found in the prefrontal cortex (control system) but U-shaped modulations were found in the hippocampus, thalamus and occipital cortex (processing system).
Our study demonstrated nonlinear modulation of the interaction between COMT and depression on brain function. These findings expand our understanding of the COMT effect underlying the pathophysiology of MDD.
Psychomotor retardation (PMR) in depression is analogous to the hypokinesia in Parkinson's disease, which is associated with the unbalanced direct and indirect pathways of cortico-basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical (CBTC) circuitry. This study hypothesized PMR in major depressive disorder (MDD) should be associated with the hyperactivity of CBTC indirect pathways.
To substantiate the hypothesis that the PMR symptom of MDD might attribute to the hyperactivity of the ortico-basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical indirect pathway which could inhibit psychomotor performance.
We investigated the intrinsic stiato-subthalamic nucleus (STN)-thalamic functional connectivity (FC), three pivotal hubs of the indirect pathway, in 30 MDD patients with PMR (PMR group) and well matched 30 patients without PMR (NPMR group) at baseline, and 11 patients of each group at follow-up who remitted after antidepressant treatment.
The results showed increased STN-striatum FC of PMR group at baseline and no more discrepancy at follow-up, and significant correlation between PMR severity and thalamo-STN FC.
Our findings suggested the increased STN- striatum FC should be considered as a state biomarker to distinguish MDD patients with PMR from patients without PMR at acute period, and thalamo-STN FC could be identified as the predictor of the PMR severity for MDD patients.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Studies in countries with high immunisation coverage suggest that the re-emergence of pertussis may be caused by a decreased duration of protection resulting from the replacement of whole-cell pertussis vaccine (WPV) with the acellular pertussis vaccine (APV). In China, WPV was introduced in 1978. The pertussis vaccination schedule advanced from an all-WPV schedule (1978–2007), to a mixed WPV/APV schedule (2008–2009), then to an all-APV schedule (2010–2016). Increases in the incidence of pertussis have been reported in recent years in Jinan and other cities in China. However, there have been few Chinese-population-based studies focused on the impact of schedule changes. We obtained annual pertussis incidences from 1956 to 2016 from the Jinan Notifiable Conditions Database. We used interrupted time series and segmented regression analyses to assess changes in pertussis incidence at the beginning of each year, and average annual changes during the intervention. Pertussis incidence decreased by 1.11 cases per 100 000 population (P = 0.743) immediately following WPV introduction in 1978 and declined significantly by 1.21 cases per 100 000 population per year (P < 0.0001) between 1978 and 2001. Immediately after APV replaced the fourth dose of WPV in 2008, the second and third doses in 2009, then replaced all four doses in 2010, pertussis incidence declined by 1.98, 1.98 and 1.08 cases per 100 000 population, respectively. However, the results were not statistically significant. There were significant increasing trends in pertussis incidence after APV replacements: 1.63, 1.77 and 1.78 cases/year in 2008–2016, 2009–2016 and 2010–2016, respectively. Our study shows that the impact of an all-WPV schedule may be less than the impacts of the sequential WPV/APV schedules. The short-term impact of APV was better than that of WPV; however, the duration of APV-induced protection was not ideal. The impact and duration of protective immunity resulting from APVs produced in China need further evaluation. Further research on the effectiveness of pertussis vaccination programme in Jinan, China is also necessary.
Social media research during natural disasters has been presented as a tool to guide response and relief efforts in the disciplines of geography and computer sciences. This systematic review highlights the public health implications of social media use in the response phase of the emergency, assessing (1) how social media can improve the dissemination of emergency warning and response information during and after a natural disaster, and (2) how social media can help identify physical, medical, functional, and emotional needs after a natural disaster. We surveyed the literature using 3 databases and included 44 research articles. We found that analyses of social media data were performed using a wide range of spatiotemporal scales. Social media platforms were identified as broadcasting tools presenting an opportunity for public health agencies to share emergency warnings. Social media was used as a tool to identify areas in need of relief operations or medical assistance by using self-reported location, with map development as a common method to visualize data. In retrospective analyses, social media analysis showed promise as an opportunity to reduce the time of response and to identify the individuals’ location. Further research for misinformation and rumor control using social media is needed.
The coronal heating problem is a long-standing perplexing issue. In this study, 13 solar activity indexes are used to investigate their phase relation with the sunspot number (SSN). Only three of them are found to statistically significantly lag the SSN (large-scale magnetic activity) by about one solar rotation period; the three indexes are total solar irradiance (TSI), the modified coronal index, and the solar wind velocity; the former two indexes may represent the long-term variation of energy quantity of the heated photosphere and corona, respectively. The Mount Wilson Sunspot Index (MWSI) and the Magnetic Plage Strength Index (MPSI), which reflect the large- and small-scale magnetic field activities, respectively, are also utilised to investigate their phase relations with the three indexes. The three indexes are found to be much more intimately related to MPSI than to MWSI, and MWSI statistically significantly leads TSI by about one rotation period. The heated corona is found to pulse perfectly in step with the small-scale magnetic activity rather than the large-scale magnetic activity; furthermore, combined with observations, our statistical evidence should thus attribute coronal heating firmly to small-scale magnetic activity phenomena, such as spicules, micro-flares, nano-flares, and others. The photosphere and the corona are synchronously heated, which should seemingly prefer magnetic reconnection heating to wave heating. In the long term, such a coronal heating way is inferred effective. Statistically, it is also small-scale magnetic activity phenomena that produce TSI enhancement. Coronal heating and solar wind acceleration are found to be synchronous, as standard models require.
Previous chapters in this book have focused on domestic (or municipal) law within Hong Kong. This chapter examines the interface between Hong Kong law and international law and Chinese law (PRC law). It looks at the distinct international legal personality that Hong Kong possesses, Hong Kong’s engagement with international entities and the application of international law in Hong Kong. Previous chapters have discussed certain aspects of the interface between Hong Kong and the PRC legal system, and this chapter builds on this by focusing on mutual legal assistance between the two legal systems, access to the Mainland market for legal services from Hong Kong and cross-border crime.
With the increasing popularity of alternative methods of resolving disputes to lessen the burden on courts, a separate chapter must be dedicated to this topic. One may not typically think of alternative methods of resolving disputes as part of the legal system, but this chapter shows otherwise. Particularly with the Civil Justice Reform, alternative dispute resolution has played and will continue to play an even larger role in solving legal disputes in Hong Kong. The two main methods of alternative dispute resolution, namely mediation and arbitration, are examined.
This chapter looks at law at an abstract level and the fundamental questions of ‘What is law?’ and ‘Why have laws?’ are explored by discussing the functions and concepts of law. This chapter examines the macro and micro functions of law, as well as the major perspectives of law including natural law, legal positivism, sociology of law and critical legal theory. It concludes by exploring various classifications of legal systems and the way in which the law is divided within them, such as the difference between the common law and civil law systems, national and international law, substantive and procedural law, and public and private law.
While legislation is enacted by the Legislative Council (or under its authority), the courts have a role in the interpretation of legislation. This chapter discusses the various common law approaches to statutory interpretation that are likely to be adopted by Hong Kong courts. Moreover, this chapter goes through the aids to interpretation within an ordinance, external aids to interpretation, presumptions which protect basic values, interpretation of the Basic Law and resolving conflicts found in bilingual legislation. A case study is used to illustrate how the courts balance different interpretive considerations. Recognising how judges interpret laws will help hone the skills of legal reasoning (thinking like a judge).
Where do lawyers look to when they wish to ascertain what the law is on a particular matter? This chapter goes over the various sources of law in Hong Kong. It starts at the top with the Basic Law, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘mini-constitution’ of Hong Kong. It covers the five interpretations of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress (NPCSC). It then takes readers through legislation, including primary and secondary legislation, and through the different parts of a statue. Case law is then examined, along with the different parts of a reported case, highlighting the parts of a judgment that constitute law. Lastly, Chinese customary law and national laws of the People’s Republic of China that are applied in Hong Kong are discussed.
This chapter outlines the system and structure of the courts in Hong Kong and discusses the concept of judicial precedent. It leads readers through the hierarchical structure of the courts and its historical development during the pre- and post-1997 periods. The different levels of the courts are examined including the Court of Final Appeal (CFA), the High Court, the District Court and Magistrates’ Courts. Different tribunals that exercise judicial power are also reviewed. The second section of this chapter deals with judicial precedents, an essential feature of the common law. The doctrine of precedent as it applies in Hong Kong is detailed, taking readers through vertical and horizontal stare decisis for each level of the courts. The status of English and overseas decisions, including Privy Council decisions in present-day Hong Kong, is discussed.
This chapter provides a general picture of the criminal justice system in Hong Kong. It highlights the roles and powers of key criminal justice agencies including the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the prosecution. It includes discussion of police powers and prosecutorial decision-making. This chapter also goes through the criminal procedure, drawing attention to key decision points such as bail, court venue, the plea and the standard of proof. It concludes by looking at the various sentencing options at the court’s disposal.
This chapter provides an overview of the system of governance in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). It introduces readers to the fundamental concepts of ‘one country, two systems’ and ‘high degree of autonomy’ under the Basic Law, which provide the framework for the allocation and exercise of responsibilities over Hong Kong by the central authorities and the Hong Kong government. Within the sphere of Hong Kong’s autonomy, the Basic Law provides for the exercise of governmental powers by three arms of government: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The powers and functions of these three arms are outlined in this chapter, together with discussion of the doctrine of ‘separation of powers’.
This chapter discusses how laws are made in Hong Kong by studying the process of legislation. Issues are discussed surrounding how the Basic Law limits the scope of certain legislation and who has the authority to create legislation. Readers are taken through the step-by-step process of lawmaking in Hong Kong from the proposal to how a bill achieves status as law in Hong Kong. Both the passage of primary legislation and secondary legislation are illustrated. The interactions and balance between branches of government and between governments (the HKSAR and the PRC) are exemplified in the process of legislation.
The first chapter outlines the aims of the book, which is to provide an introduction to the Hong Kong legal system especially for first-year law students, but also for students of other disciplines, and practitioners and scholars from other jurisdictions who are looking for a comprehensive and user-friendly overview of Hong Kong’s legal system. It also highlights the key elements of that system, discussing its rules and principles, namely the rule of law, separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary, as well as legal institutions and legal personnel. This chapter traces the historical development of Hong Kong’s legal system, from the acquisition of Hong Kong by the British and the importation of English law (including common law) into colonial Hong Kong to the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1997 and the present-day legal framework under ‘one country, two systems’.