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To identify genetic risk loci for major depressive disorder (MDD), two broad study design approaches have been applied: (1) to maximize sample size by combining data from different phenotype assessment modalities (e.g. clinical interview, self-report questionnaires) and (2) to reduce phenotypic heterogeneity through selecting more homogenous MDD subtypes. The value of these strategies has been debated. In this review, we summarize the most recent findings of large genomic studies that applied these approaches, and we highlight the merits and pitfalls of both approaches with particular attention to methodological and psychometric issues. We also discuss the results of analyses that investigated the heterogeneity of MDD. We conclude that both study designs are essential for further research. So far, increasing sample size has led to the identification of a relatively high number of genomic loci linked to depression. However, part of the identified variants may be related to a phenotype common to internalizing disorders and related traits. As such, samples containing detailed clinical information are needed to dissect depression heterogeneity and enable the potential identification of variants specific to a more restricted MDD phenotype. A balanced portfolio reconciling both study design approaches is the optimal approach to progress further in unraveling the genetic architecture of depression.
Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) data analysis requires unprecedented levels of accuracy in radio interferometer pipelines. We have developed an imaging power spectrum analysis to meet these requirements and generate robust 21 cm EoR measurements. In this work, we build a signal path framework to mathematically describe each step in the analysis, from data reduction in the Fast Holographic Deconvolution (FHD) package to power spectrum generation in the εppsilon package. In particular, we focus on the distinguishing characteristics of FHD/εppsilon: highly accurate spectral calibration, extensive data verification products, and end-to-end error propagation. We present our key data analysis products in detail to facilitate understanding of the prominent systematics in image-based power spectrum analyses. As a verification to our analysis, we also highlight a full-pipeline analysis simulation to demonstrate signal preservation and lack of signal loss. This careful treatment ensures that the FHD/εppsilon power spectrum pipeline can reduce radio interferometric data to produce credible 21 cm EoR measurements.
Despite established clinical associations among major depression (MD), alcohol dependence (AD), and alcohol consumption (AC), the nature of the causal relationship between them is not completely understood. We leveraged genome-wide data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and UK Biobank to test for the presence of shared genetic mechanisms and causal relationships among MD, AD, and AC.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression and Mendelian randomization (MR) were performed using genome-wide data from the PGC (MD: 135 458 cases and 344 901 controls; AD: 10 206 cases and 28 480 controls) and UK Biobank (AC-frequency: 438 308 individuals; AC-quantity: 307 098 individuals).
Positive genetic correlation was observed between MD and AD (rgMD−AD = + 0.47, P = 6.6 × 10−10). AC-quantity showed positive genetic correlation with both AD (rgAD−AC quantity = + 0.75, P = 1.8 × 10−14) and MD (rgMD−AC quantity = + 0.14, P = 2.9 × 10−7), while there was negative correlation of AC-frequency with MD (rgMD−AC frequency = −0.17, P = 1.5 × 10−10) and a non-significant result with AD. MR analyses confirmed the presence of pleiotropy among these four traits. However, the MD-AD results reflect a mediated-pleiotropy mechanism (i.e. causal relationship) with an effect of MD on AD (beta = 0.28, P = 1.29 × 10−6). There was no evidence for reverse causation.
This study supports a causal role for genetic liability of MD on AD based on genetic datasets including thousands of individuals. Understanding mechanisms underlying MD-AD comorbidity addresses important public health concerns and has the potential to facilitate prevention and intervention efforts.
A 15-month-old child underwent percutaneous expansion of a Melody transcatheter pulmonary valve in the mitral position to accommodate growth after initial surgical implantation during infancy, but transiently decompensated after valvuloplasty owing to stent malformation. The Melody valve in the mitral position of small patients can be further expanded by percutaneous dilation, but there are a number of potential complications and technical improvements to consider.
Most studies underline the contribution of heritable factors for psychiatric disorders. However, heritability estimates depend on the population under study, diagnostic instruments, and study designs that each has its inherent assumptions, strengths, and biases. We aim to test the homogeneity in heritability estimates between two powerful, and state of the art study designs for eight psychiatric disorders.
We assessed heritability based on data of Swedish siblings (N = 4 408 646 full and maternal half-siblings), and based on summary data of eight samples with measured genotypes (N = 125 533 cases and 208 215 controls). All data were based on standard diagnostic criteria. Eight psychiatric disorders were studied: (1) alcohol dependence (AD), (2) anorexia nervosa, (3) attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), (4) autism spectrum disorder, (5) bipolar disorder, (6) major depressive disorder, (7) obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and (8) schizophrenia.
Heritability estimates from sibling data varied from 0.30 for Major Depression to 0.80 for ADHD. The estimates based on the measured genotypes were lower, ranging from 0.10 for AD to 0.28 for OCD, but were significant, and correlated positively (0.19) with national sibling-based estimates. When removing OCD from the data the correlation increased to 0.50.
Given the unique character of each study design, the convergent findings for these eight psychiatric conditions suggest that heritability estimates are robust across different methods. The findings also highlight large differences in genetic and environmental influences between psychiatric disorders, providing future directions for etiological psychiatric research.
Children reared in impoverished environments are at risk for enduring psychological and physical health problems. Mechanisms by which poverty affects development, however, remain unclear. To explore one potential mechanism of poverty's impact on social–emotional and cognitive development, an experimental examination of a rodent model of scarcity-adversity was conducted and compared to results from a longitudinal study of human infants and families followed from birth (N = 1,292) who faced high levels of poverty-related scarcity-adversity. Cross-species results supported the hypothesis that altered caregiving is one pathway by which poverty adversely impacts development. Rodent mothers assigned to the scarcity-adversity condition exhibited decreased sensitive parenting and increased negative parenting relative to mothers assigned to the control condition. Furthermore, scarcity-adversity reared pups exhibited decreased developmental competence as indicated by disrupted nipple attachment, distress vocalization when in physical contact with an anesthetized mother, and reduced preference for maternal odor with corresponding changes in brain activation. Human results indicated that scarcity-adversity was inversely correlated with sensitive parenting and positively correlated with negative parenting, and that parenting fully mediated the association of poverty-related risk with infant indicators of developmental competence. Findings are discussed from the perspective of the usefulness of bidirectional–translational research to inform interventions for at-risk families.
Family history is a long-standing and readily obtainable risk factor for schizophrenia (SCZ). Low-cost genotyping technologies have enabled large genetic studies of SCZ, and the results suggest the utility of genetic risk scores (GRS, direct assessments of inherited common variant risk). Few studies have evaluated family history and GRS simultaneously to ask whether one can explain away the other.
We studied 5959 SCZ cases and 8717 controls from four Nordic countries. All subjects had family history data from national registers and genome-wide genotypes that were processed through the quality control procedures used by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. Using external training data, GRS were estimated for SCZ, bipolar disorder (BIP), major depression, autism, educational attainment, and body mass index. Multivariable modeling was used to estimate effect sizes.
Using harmonized genomic and national register data from Denmark, Estonia, Norway, and Sweden, we confirmed that family history of SCZ and GRS for SCZ and BIP were risk factors for SCZ. In a joint model, the effects of GRS for SCZ and BIP were essentially unchanged, and the effect of family history was attenuated but remained significant. The predictive capacity of a model including GRS and family history neared the minimum for clinical utility.
Combining national register data with measured genetic risk factors represents an important investigative approach for psychotic disorders. Our findings suggest the potential clinical utility of combining GRS and family history for early prediction and diagnostic improvements.
Universal screening for postpartum depression is recommended in many countries. Knowledge of whether the disclosure of depressive symptoms in the postpartum period differs across cultures could improve detection and provide new insights into the pathogenesis. Moreover, it is a necessary step to evaluate the universal use of screening instruments in research and clinical practice. In the current study we sought to assess whether the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the most widely used screening tool for postpartum depression, measures the same underlying construct across cultural groups in a large international dataset.
Ordinal regression and measurement invariance were used to explore the association between culture, operationalized as education, ethnicity/race and continent, and endorsement of depressive symptoms using the EPDS on 8209 new mothers from Europe and the USA.
Education, but not ethnicity/race, influenced the reporting of postpartum depression [difference between robust comparative fit indexes (∆*CFI) < 0.01]. The structure of EPDS responses significantly differed between Europe and the USA (∆*CFI > 0.01), but not between European countries (∆*CFI < 0.01).
Investigators and clinicians should be aware of the potential differences in expression of phenotype of postpartum depression that women of different educational backgrounds may manifest. The increasing cultural heterogeneity of societies together with the tendency towards globalization requires a culturally sensitive approach to patients, research and policies, that takes into account, beyond rhetoric, the context of a person's experiences and the context in which the research is conducted.
A review of the MOA (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics) project is presented. MOA is a collaboration of approximately 30 astronomers from New Zealand and Japan established with the aim of finding and detecting microlensing events towards the Magellanic Clouds and the Galactic bulge, which may be indicative of either dark matter or of planetary companions. The observing program commenced in 1995, using very wide band blue and red filters and a nine-chip mosaic CCD camera.
As a by-product of these observations a large database of CCD photometry for 1.4 million stars towards both LMC and SMC has been established. In one preliminary analysis 576 bright variable stars were confirmed, nearly half of them being Cepheids. Another analysis has identified large numbers of blue variables, and 205 eclipsing binaries are included in this sample. In addition 351 red variables (AGB stars) have been found. Light curves have been obtained for all these stars. The observations are carried out on a 61-cm f/6.25 telescope at Mt John University Observatory where a new larger CCD camera was installed in 1998 July. From this latitude (44° S) the Magellanic Clouds can be monitored throughout the year.
The red variables whose amplitude is larger than 1.3 mag in the MOA database are studied for the LMC. Among 3 196 such stars, 532 stars are likely to be Miras or red semiregular variables. The period–colour relation of these stars is shown.
A large database of CCD photometry for 1.4 million stars towards both the LMC and the SMC, which has been established by the MOA project, is a useful resource to study variable stars. In our preliminary study, variables identified as β Lyrae type stars and Herbig Ae/Be stars have been found amongst blue stars.
The aim of the present study was to determine the outcomes of using the Valeo stent (Bard Peripheral Vascular, Tempe, Arizona, United States of America) in small children with CHD.
Stenting vascular stenoses is safe and effective in adults and older children with CHD but is limited in smaller children. The design of the Valeo stent addresses these limitations but has not been extensively described.
Bench testing was conducted to determine the maximum diameter of the stent, foreshortening, and side-cell diameter. A retrospective analysis of Valeo stents implanted between October, 2012 and October, 2014 was performed. Patient profile, pre-implant/post-implant catheterization data, and stent geometry were reviewed.
Bench testing: medium and large Valeo stents can be dilated up to 13 mm and 20 mm diameters, respectively. Side-cells are dilatable up to 12 mm. Valeo stents are of low profile – delivered through 6- or 7-Fr sheaths – and show minimal foreshortening. Retrospective analysis: a total of 81 stents were implanted in 61 patients with CHD. The median weight was 15.3 kg, and the median age was 58.9 months. Stents were implanted in the pulmonary artery, systemic vein, aorta, and pulmonary vein. Overall, mean vessel diameters increased from 4.1 to 7.7 mm (121.7%). There was effective mean gradient reduction: 3.7–0.5 mmHg (63%) in the venous systems, 28.2–12.5 mmHg (63.7%) in the pulmonary arteries, and 17.4–4 mmHg (77.1%) in the aorta. The mean stent foreshortening was 2.5%, and the mean recoil was 5.9%. Side-cells that crossed other vessels were dilated in four cases, and stents were re-mounted onto different-sized balloons in seven cases.
The features of the Valeo stent, such as low profile, large maximum diameter, open-cell design, minimal foreshortening, and recoil, make it suitable for treating vascular stenoses in small children with CHD.
The public health burden of alcohol is unevenly distributed across the life course, with levels of use, abuse, and dependence increasing across adolescence and peaking in early adulthood. Here, we leverage this temporal patterning to search for common genetic variants predicting developmental trajectories of alcohol consumption. Comparable psychiatric evaluations measuring alcohol consumption were collected in three longitudinal community samples (N = 2,126, obs = 12,166). Consumption-repeated measurements spanning adolescence and early adulthood were analyzed using linear mixed models, estimating individual consumption trajectories, which were then tested for association with Illumina 660W-Quad genotype data (866,099 SNPs after imputation and QC). Association results were combined across samples using standard meta-analysis methods. Four meta-analysis associations satisfied our pre-determined genome-wide significance criterion (FDR < 0.1) and six others met our ‘suggestive’ criterion (FDR <0.2). Genome-wide significant associations were highly biological plausible, including associations within GABA transporter 1, SLC6A1 (solute carrier family 6, member 1), and exonic hits in LOC100129340 (mitofusin-1-like). Pathway analyses elaborated single marker results, indicating significant enriched associations to intuitive biological mechanisms, including neurotransmission, xenobiotic pharmacodynamics, and nuclear hormone receptors (NHR). These findings underscore the value of combining longitudinal behavioral data and genome-wide genotype information in order to study developmental patterns and improve statistical power in genomic studies.
The Murchison Widefield Array is a new low-frequency interferometric radio telescope built in Western Australia at one of the locations of the future Square Kilometre Array. We describe the automated radio-frequency interference detection strategy implemented for the Murchison Widefield Array, which is based on the aoflagger platform, and present 72–231 MHz radio-frequency interference statistics from 10 observing nights. Radio-frequency interference detection removes 1.1% of the data. Radio-frequency interference from digital TV is observed 3% of the time due to occasional ionospheric or atmospheric propagation. After radio-frequency interference detection and excision, almost all data can be calibrated and imaged without further radio-frequency interference mitigation efforts, including observations within the FM and digital TV bands. The results are compared to a previously published Low-Frequency Array radio-frequency interference survey. The remote location of the Murchison Widefield Array results in a substantially cleaner radio-frequency interference environment compared to Low-Frequency Array’s radio environment, but adequate detection of radio-frequency interference is still required before data can be analysed. We include specific recommendations designed to make the Square Kilometre Array more robust to radio-frequency interference, including: the availability of sufficient computing power for radio-frequency interference detection; accounting for radio-frequency interference in the receiver design; a smooth band-pass response; and the capability of radio-frequency interference detection at high time and frequency resolution (second and kHz-scale respectively).
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and autistic traits often occur together. The pattern and etiology of co-occurrence are largely unknown, particularly in adults. This study investigated the co-occurrence between both traits in detail, and subsequently examined the etiology of the co-occurrence, using two independent adult population samples.
Data on ADHD traits (Inattention and Hyperactivity/Impulsivity) were collected in a population sample (S1, n = 559) of unrelated individuals. Data on Attention Problems (AP) were collected in a population-based family sample of twins and siblings (S2, n = 560). In both samples five dimensions of autistic traits were assessed (social skills, routine, attentional switching, imagination, patterns).
Hyperactive traits (S1) did not correlate substantially with the autistic trait dimensions. For Inattention (S1) and AP (S2), the correlations with the autistic trait dimensions were low, apart from a prominent correlation with the attentional switching scale (0.47 and 0.32 respectively). Analyses in the genetically informative S2 revealed that this association could be explained by a shared genetic factor.
Our findings suggest that the co-occurrence of ADHD traits and autistic traits in adults is not determined by problems with hyperactivity, social skills, imagination or routine preferences. Instead, the association between those traits is due primarily to shared attention-related problems (inattention and attentional switching capacity). As the etiology of this association is purely genetic, biological pathways involving attentional control could be a promising focus of future studies aimed at unraveling the genetic causes of these disorders.