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Objective. To identify clinically useful predictors of adherence to medication among persons with schizophrenia. Method. We evaluated levels of compliance with neuroleptic medication among 32 consecutive admissions with DSM-III-R schizophrenia from a geographically defined catchment area using a compliance interview. We also assessed symptomatology, insight, neurological status and memory. Results. Less than 25% of consecutive admissions reported being fully compliant. Drug attitudes were the best predictor of regular compliance, symptomatology the best predictor of noncompliance, and memory the best predictor of partial compliance with neuroleptic medication. Conclusions. These data emphasise the complexity of factors that influence whether a person adheres to his medication regimen. Furthermore, they suggest that these factors may vary within the same person over time.
Psychotic symptoms and psychotic disorders occur at increased rates in adults with intellectual disability, including borderline intellectual functioning, compared with the general population. Little is known about the development of such symptoms in this population.
To examine whether clinical factors predictive of psychotic disorder in a familial study of schizophrenia also apply to those with intellectual disability.
Adolescents with special educational needs (SEN) were assessed with the Structured Interview for Schizotypy (SIS) and Childhood Behavioural Checklist (CBCL). These scores were used to prospectively divide participants based on their anticipated risk for psychotic disorder. A subsample were reassessed three times over 6 years, using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS).
The SEN group were more symptomatic than controls throughout (Cohen's d range for PANSS subscale scores: 0.54–1.4, all P < 0.007). Over 6 years of follow-up, those above the SIS and CBCL cut-off values at baseline were more likely than those below to display morbid positive psychotic symptoms (odds ratio, 3.5; 95% CI 1.3–9.0) and develop psychotic disorder (odds ratio, 11.4; 95% CI 2.6–50.1). Baseline SIS and CBCL cut-off values predicted psychotic disorder with sensitivity of 0.67, specificity of 0.85, positive predictive value of 0.26 and negative predictive value of 0.97.
Adolescents with SEN have increased psychotic and non-psychotic symptoms. The personality and behavioural features associated with later psychotic disorder in this group are similar to those in people with familial loading. Relatively simple screening measures may help identify those in this vulnerable group who do and do not require monitoring for psychotic symptoms.
The longstanding association between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus and schizophrenia (SZ) risk has recently been accounted for, partially, by structural variation at the complement component 4 (C4) gene. This structural variation generates varying levels of C4 RNA expression, and genetic information from the MHC region can now be used to predict C4 RNA expression in the brain. Increased predicted C4A RNA expression is associated with the risk of SZ, and C4 is reported to influence synaptic pruning in animal models.
Based on our previous studies associating MHC SZ risk variants with poorer memory performance, we tested whether increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with reduced memory function in a large (n = 1238) dataset of psychosis cases and healthy participants, and with altered task-dependent cortical activation in a subset of these samples.
We observed that increased predicted C4A RNA expression predicted poorer performance on measures of memory recall (p = 0.016, corrected). Furthermore, in healthy participants, we found that increased predicted C4A RNA expression was associated with a pattern of reduced cortical activity in middle temporal cortex during a measure of visual processing (p < 0.05, corrected).
These data suggest that the effects of C4 on cognition were observable at both a cortical and behavioural level, and may represent one mechanism by which illness risk is mediated. As such, deficits in learning and memory may represent a therapeutic target for new molecular developments aimed at altering C4’s developmental role.
Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder, linked to several structural abnormalities of the brain. More specifically, previous findings have suggested that increased gyrification in frontal and temporal regions are implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
The current study included participants at high familial risk of schizophrenia who remained well (n = 31), who developed sub-diagnostic symptoms (n = 28) and who developed schizophrenia (n = 9) as well as healthy controls (HC) (n = 16). We first tested whether individuals at high familial risk of schizophrenia carried an increased burden of trait-associated alleles using polygenic risk score analysis. We then assessed the extent to which polygenic risk was associated with gyral folding in the frontal and temporal lobes.
We found that individuals at high familial risk of schizophrenia who developed schizophrenia carried a significantly greater burden of risk-conferring variants for the disorder compared to those at high risk (HR) who developed sub-diagnostic symptoms or remained well and HC. Furthermore, within the HR cohort, there was a significant and positive association between schizophrenia polygenic risk score and bilateral frontal gyrification.
These results suggest that polygenic risk for schizophrenia impacts upon early neurodevelopment to confer greater gyral folding in adulthood and an increased risk of developing the disorder.
To achieve their conservation goals individuals, communities and organizations need to acquire a diversity of skills, knowledge and information (i.e. capacity). Despite current efforts to build and maintain appropriate levels of conservation capacity, it has been recognized that there will need to be a significant scaling-up of these activities in sub-Saharan Africa. This is because of the rapid increase in the number and extent of environmental problems in the region. We present a range of socio-economic contexts relevant to four key areas of African conservation capacity building: protected area management, community engagement, effective leadership, and professional e-learning. Under these core themes, 39 specific recommendations are presented. These were derived from multi-stakeholder workshop discussions at an international conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2015. At the meeting 185 delegates (practitioners, scientists, community groups and government agencies) represented 105 organizations from 24 African nations and eight non-African nations. The 39 recommendations constituted six broad types of suggested action: (1) the development of new methods, (2) the provision of capacity building resources (e.g. information or data), (3) the communication of ideas or examples of successful initiatives, (4) the implementation of new research or gap analyses, (5) the establishment of new structures within and between organizations, and (6) the development of new partnerships. A number of cross-cutting issues also emerged from the discussions: the need for a greater sense of urgency in developing capacity building activities; the need to develop novel capacity building methodologies; and the need to move away from one-size-fits-all approaches.
Objectives: This study examined whether children with distinct brain disorders show different profiles of strengths and weaknesses in executive functions, and differ from children without brain disorder. Methods: Participants were children with traumatic brain injury (N=82; 8–13 years of age), arterial ischemic stroke (N=36; 6–16 years of age), and brain tumor (N=74; 9–18 years of age), each with a corresponding matched comparison group consisting of children with orthopedic injury (N=61), asthma (N=15), and classmates without medical illness (N=68), respectively. Shifting, inhibition, and working memory were assessed, respectively, using three Test of Everyday Attention: Children’s Version (TEA-Ch) subtests: Creature Counting, Walk-Don’t-Walk, and Code Transmission. Comparison groups did not differ in TEA-Ch performance and were merged into a single control group. Profile analysis was used to examine group differences in TEA-Ch subtest scaled scores after controlling for maternal education and age. Results: As a whole, children with brain disorder performed more poorly than controls on measures of executive function. Relative to controls, the three brain injury groups showed significantly different profiles of executive functions. Importantly, post hoc tests revealed that performance on TEA-Ch subtests differed among the brain disorder groups. Conclusions: Results suggest that different childhood brain disorders result in distinct patterns of executive function deficits that differ from children without brain disorder. Implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed. (JINS, 2017, 23, 529–538)
The fragmented ecosystems along the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve provide important habitats for biota including lichens. Nonetheless, the Reserve is disturbed by dense human populations and associated air pollution. Here we investigated patterns of lichen diversity within urban and rural sites at three different locations (Niagara, Hamilton, and Owen Sound) along the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario, Canada. Our results indicate that both lichen species richness and community composition are negatively correlated with increasing human population density and air pollution. However, our quantitative analysis of community composition using canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) indicates that human population density and air pollution is more independent than might be assumed. The CCA analysis suggests that the strongest environmental gradient (CCA1) associated with lichen community composition includes regional pollution load and climatic variables; the second gradient (CCA2) is associated with local pollution load and human population density factors. These results increase the knowledge of lichen biodiversity for the Niagara Escarpment and urban and rural fragmented ecosystems as well as along gradients of human population density and air pollution; they suggest a differential influence of regional and local pollution loads and population density factors. This study provides baseline knowledge for further research and conservation initiatives along the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve.
Negative symptoms are perhaps the most disabling feature of schizophrenia. Their pathogenesis remains poorly understood and it has been difficult to assess their development over time with imaging techniques.
To examine, using tensor-based structural imaging techniques, whether there are regions of progressive grey matter volume change associated with the development of negative symptoms.
A total of 43 adolescents at risk of psychosis were examined using magnetic resonance imaging and whole brain tensor-based morphometry at two time points, 6 years apart.
When comparing the individuals with significant negative symptoms with the remaining participants, we identified five regions of significant grey matter tissue loss over the 6-year period. These regions included the left temporal lobe, the left cerebellum, the left posterior cingulate and the left inferior parietal sulcus.
Negative symptoms are associated with longitudinal grey matter tissue loss. The regions identified include areas associated with psychotic symptoms more generally but also include regions uniquely associated with negative symptoms.
There is now a well-established link between childhood adversity (CA) and schizophrenia. Similar structural abnormalities to those found in schizophrenia including alterations in grey-matter volume have also been shown in those who experience CA.
We examined whether global estimates of cortical thickness or surface area were altered in those familial high-risk subjects who had been referred to a social worker or the Children's Panel compared to those who had not.
We found that the cortical surface area of those who were referred to the Children's Panel was significantly smaller than those who had not been referred, but cortical thickness was not significantly altered. There was also an effect of social work referral on cortical surface area but not on thickness.
Cortical surface area increases post-natally more than cortical thickness. Our findings suggest that CA can influence structural changes in the brain and it is likely to have a greater impact on cortical surface area than on cortical thickness.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common and disabling condition with well-established heritability and environmental risk factors. Gene–environment interaction studies in MDD have typically investigated candidate genes, though the disorder is known to be highly polygenic. This study aims to test for interaction between polygenic risk and stressful life events (SLEs) or childhood trauma (CT) in the aetiology of MDD.
The RADIANT UK sample consists of 1605 MDD cases and 1064 controls with SLE data, and a subset of 240 cases and 272 controls with CT data. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were constructed using results from a mega-analysis on MDD by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. PRS and environmental factors were tested for association with case/control status and for interaction between them.
PRS significantly predicted depression, explaining 1.1% of variance in phenotype (p = 1.9 × 10−6). SLEs and CT were also associated with MDD status (p = 2.19 × 10−4 and p = 5.12 × 10−20, respectively). No interactions were found between PRS and SLEs. Significant PRSxCT interactions were found (p = 0.002), but showed an inverse association with MDD status, as cases who experienced more severe CT tended to have a lower PRS than other cases or controls. This relationship between PRS and CT was not observed in independent replication samples.
CT is a strong risk factor for MDD but may have greater effect in individuals with lower genetic liability for the disorder. Including environmental risk along with genetics is important in studying the aetiology of MDD and PRS provide a useful approach to investigating gene–environment interactions in complex traits.
A segment of the debate surrounding the commercialization and use of glyphosate-resistant (GR) crops focuses on the theory that the implementation of these traits is an extension of the intensification of agriculture that will further erode the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes. A large field-scale study was initiated in 2006 in the United States on 156 different field sites with a minimum 3-yr history of GR-corn, -cotton or -soybean in the cropping system. The impact of cropping system, crop rotation, frequency of using the GR crop trait, and several categorical variables on seedbank weed population density and diversity was analyzed. The parameters of total weed population density of all species in the seedbank, species richness, Shannon's H′ and evenness were not affected by any management treatment. The similarity between the seedbank and aboveground weed community was more strongly related to location than management; previous year's crops and cropping systems were also important while GR trait rotation was not. The composition of the weed flora was more strongly related to location (geography) than any other parameter. The diversity of weed flora in agricultural sites with a history of GR crop production can be influenced by several factors relating to the specific method in which the GR trait is integrated (cropping system, crop rotation, GR trait rotation), the specific weed species, and the geographical location. Continuous GR crop, compared to fields with other cropping systems, only had greater species diversity (species richness) of some life forms, i.e., biennials, winter annuals, and prostrate weeds. Overall diversity was related to geography and not cropping system. These results justify further research to clarify the complexities of crops grown with herbicide-resistance traits to provide a more complete characterization of their culture and local adaptation to the weed seedbank.
Strategies to dissect phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) have mainly relied on subphenotypes, such as age at onset (AAO) and recurrence/episodicity. Yet, evidence on whether these subphenotypes are familial or heritable is scarce. The aims of this study are to investigate the familiality of AAO and episode frequency in MDD and to assess the proportion of their variance explained by common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP heritability).
For investigating familiality, we used 691 families with 2–5 full siblings with recurrent MDD from the DeNt study. We fitted (square root) AAO and episode count in a linear and a negative binomial mixed model, respectively, with family as random effect and adjusting for sex, age and center. The strength of familiality was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). For estimating SNP heritabilities, we used 3468 unrelated MDD cases from the RADIANT and GSK Munich studies. After similarly adjusting for covariates, derived residuals were used with the GREML method in GCTA (genome-wide complex trait analysis) software.
Significant familial clustering was found for both AAO (ICC = 0.28) and episodicity (ICC = 0.07). We calculated from respective ICC estimates the maximal additive heritability of AAO (0.56) and episodicity (0.15). SNP heritability of AAO was 0.17 (p = 0.04); analysis was underpowered for calculating SNP heritability of episodicity.
AAO and episodicity aggregate in families to a moderate and small degree, respectively. AAO is under stronger additive genetic control than episodicity. Larger samples are needed to calculate the SNP heritability of episodicity. The described statistical framework could be useful in future analyses.
Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) is an organic conducting polymer that has been the focus of significant research over the last decade, in both energy and biological applications. Most commonly, PEDOT is doped by the artificial polymer polystyrene sulfonate due to the excellent electrical characteristics yielded by this pairing. The biopolymer dextran sulphate (DS) has been recently reported as a promising alternative to PEDOT:PSS for biological application, having electrical properties rivaling PEDOT:PSS, complimented by the potential bioactivity of the polysaccharide. In this work we compared chemical and electrochemical polymerisations of PEDOT:DS in terms of their impact on the electrical, morphological and biological properties of the resultant PEDOT:DS films. Post-growth cyclic voltammograms and UV-Vis analyses revealed comparable redox behaviour and absorbance profiles for the two synthesis approaches. Despite good intrinsic conductivity of particles, the addition of chemically produced PEDOT:DS did not markedly enhance the bulk conductivity of aqueous solutions due to the lack of interconnectivity between adjacent PEDOT:DS particles at achievable concentrations. Scanning electron microscopy revealed significantly greater roughness in films cast from chemically produced PEDOT:DS compared to electropolymerised samples, attributable to the formation of solution phase nanoparticles prior to casting. In cell studies with the L929 cell line, electrochemical polymerisation of PEDOT:DS afforded better integrity of resultant films for surface seeding, whilst chemically polymerised PEDOT:DS appeared to localised at the proliferating cells, suggesting possible applications in drug delivery.
Interfacing organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) with biological systems holds considerable promise for building-sensitive biosensors and diagnostic tools. We present a simple model that describes the performance of biosensors in which an OECT is integrated with a biological barrier layer. Using experimentally derived parameters we explore the limits of sensitivity and find that it is dependent on the resistance of the barrier layer. This work provides guidelines on how to optimize biosensors in which OECTs transduce changes in the impedance of biological layers, including lipid bilayer membranes and confluent cell layers.
We present new, deep VLA 327 MHz, GALEX Far-UV, and Hα images of the inner ~50 kpc of Centaurus A. We find the structure identified by Morganti et al. 1999 as a possible “large scale jet” is part of a knotty, linear feature within a broader region of diffuse radio emission. The linear feature is coincident with a narrow ribbon of Far-UV and Hα emission that extends 6-35 kpc from the galaxy core, as well with a similar ridge of soft X-ray emission. The Far-UV image also shows that a strong starburst is occurring in the central dusty disk, with a star-formation rate of ~ 2M⊙ yr−1. We suggest that the various peculiar phenomena seen to the NE of the galaxy can be explained by a wind from the starburst disk, enhanced by energy input from the AGN.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions associated with urine nitrogen (N) deposition during grazing are a major component of greenhouse gas emissions from domestic livestock. The present study investigated the relationship between urine N loading rate and the efficacy of a nitrification inhibitor, dicyandiamide (DCD), on cumulative N2O emissions from a grassland soil in Ireland over 80 and 360-day periods in 2009/10 and 2010/11. A diminishing curvilinear relationship between urine N rate and cumulative N2O emissions was observed in both years. Despite this increase in cumulative N2O emissions, the emission factor (EF3) for N2O decreased with increasing urine N rate from, on average, 0·24 to 0·10% (urine applied at 300 and 1000 kg N/ha, respectively), during an 80-day measurement period. This was probably the result of a factor other than N, such as carbon (C), limiting the production of N2O. The efficacy of DCD varied with urine N loading rate, and inter-annual variability in efficacy was also observed. Dicyandiamide was effective at reducing N2O production for 50–80 days after urine application, which accounted for the major period of elevated daily flux. However, DCD was ineffective at reducing N2O production after this period, which was likely a result of its removal from the soil via degradation and leaching.