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Evidence suggests that early trauma may have a negative effect on cognitive functioning in individuals with psychosis, yet the relationship between childhood trauma and cognition among those at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis remains unexplored. Our sample consisted of 626 CHR children and 279 healthy controls who were recruited as part of the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study 2. Childhood trauma up to the age of 16 (psychological, physical, and sexual abuse, emotional neglect, and bullying) was assessed by using the Childhood Trauma and Abuse Scale. Multiple domains of cognition were measured at baseline and at the time of psychosis conversion, using standardized assessments. In the CHR group, there was a trend for better performance in individuals who reported a history of multiple types of childhood trauma compared with those with no/one type of trauma (Cohen d = 0.16). A history of multiple trauma types was not associated with greater cognitive change in CHR converters over time. Our findings tentatively suggest there may be different mechanisms that lead to CHR states. Individuals who are at clinical high risk who have experienced multiple types of childhood trauma may have more typically developing premorbid cognitive functioning than those who reported minimal trauma do. Further research is needed to unravel the complexity of factors underlying the development of at-risk states.
Acute rheumatic fever (ARF), an auto-immune response to a group A Streptococcus infection and precursor to rheumatic heart disease (RHD), remains endemic in many socio-economically disadvantaged settings. A Global Resolution on ARF and RHD was recently adopted at the 71st World Health Assembly where governments committed to improving efforts to prevent and control ARF and RHD. To inform these efforts, the objectives of this study were to examine associations between childhood ARF in the UK between 1958 and 1969 and a range of environmental and social factors. Of 17 416 children from the nationally representative birth cohort of the National Child Development Study, ARF was reported in 23 children during early childhood (between birth and the 7-year follow-up) and in 29 additional children during middle childhood (between the 7- and 11-year follow-ups). Risk factors associated with ARF in both early and middle childhood were: a large family size; attendance at a private nursery or class; a history of nephritis, kidney or urinary tract infections; and a history of throat or ear infections. Risk factors for ARF in early childhood alone were families with fathers in a professional or semi-professional occupation and families who moved out of their local neighbourhood. Risk factors in late childhood alone included overcrowding and free school meals. These data suggest that prevention strategies in ARF endemic settings may be enhanced by targeting, for example, new members entering a community and children in environments of close contact, such as a nursery or shared bedrooms.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
Although repeatedly associated with white matter microstructural alterations, bipolar disorder (BD) has been relatively unexplored using complex network analysis. This method combines structural and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to model the brain as a network and evaluate its topological properties. A group of highly interconnected high-density structures, termed the ‘rich-club’, represents an important network for integration of brain functioning. This study aimed to assess structural and rich-club connectivity properties in BD through graph theory analyses.
We obtained structural and diffusion MRI scans from 42 euthymic patients with BD type I and 43 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. Weighted fractional anisotropy connections mapped between cortical and subcortical structures defined the neuroanatomical networks. Next, we examined between-group differences in features of graph properties and sub-networks.
Patients exhibited significantly reduced clustering coefficient and global efficiency, compared with controls globally and regionally in frontal and occipital regions. Additionally, patients displayed weaker sub-network connectivity in distributed regions. Rich-club analysis revealed subtly reduced density in patients, which did not withstand multiple comparison correction. However, hub identification in most participants indicated differentially affected rich-club membership in the BD group, with two hubs absent when compared with controls, namely the superior frontal gyrus and thalamus.
This graph theory analysis presents a thorough investigation of topological features of connectivity in euthymic BD. Abnormalities of global and local measures and network components provide further neuroanatomically specific evidence for distributed dysconnectivity as a trait feature of BD.
In July 1967 and June 1968 observations of the central intensity variation in several chromospheric lines were obtained by P. R. Wilson and myself at Sacramento Peak Observatory, New Mexico using the 16-inch coronagraph coupled with the high-dispersion Littrow Spectrograph. Observations in the MgB lines (λ5184, 5173, 5167 Å) were obtained the first summer whilst the NaD lines (λ5889, 5896 Å) were studied in the second. Table I shows the mean heights in the solar atmosphere at which it is thought these lines are formed.
Our knowledge of the universe comes from recording the photon and particle fluxes incident on the Earth from space. We thus require sensitive measurement across the entire energy spectrum, using large telescopes with efficient instrumentation located on superb sites. Technological advances and engineering constraints are nearing the point where we are recording as many photons arriving at a site as is possible. Major advances in the future will come from improving the quality of the site. The ultimate site is, of course, beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, such as on the Moon, but economic limitations prevent our exploiting this avenue to the degree that the scientific community desires. Here we describe an alternative, which offers many of the advantages of space for a fraction of the cost: the Antarctic Plateau.
One of the quantities usually required when solving the equation of radiative transfer is the intensity of radiation emerging from the surface of the medium under consideration. For multi-dimensional situations however, the methods presented to date have been numerical, and these first calculate the so-called source function Sv (r, Ω) as a function of position r, angle Ω and frequency v. This is generally the most difficult part of the exercise since an integro-difierential equation must be solved. The emergent intensity is then determined by solving a relatively simple first order differential equation by any of the well known numerical integration schemes. However, if the emergent intensity is required at a large number of angles, frequencies, and positions on the surface of the medium, and this is usually the case, the amount of computing needed may be considerable.
There exists a large number of varying methods of solution in radiative transfer theory. House and Avery have recendy published an exposition of the Monte-Carlo technique and the very nature of this solution makes it readily amenable, in theory, to the study of any transfer problem. Grant and Hunt have developed a method involving the invariant Sn matrix transformation and this also appears quite general in its application. Further, the Riccati transformation technique, developed by Rybicki and Hummer, has already been used in solving several different transfer problems. However, these methods have certain disadvantages. The equations are of first order and thus stability difficulties arise. Also, the finer details of the method rely, to a large extent, on the particular problem under consideration, and experience with such a method is required for the efficient computation of solutions.
We present the results of a multi-wavelength investigation of the dwarf galaxy populations in three interacting galaxy groups: NGC 871/6/7, NGC 3166/9, NGC 4725/47. Using degree-scale Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope Hi mosaics and deep optical photometry from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, we measured the Hi and stellar properties of the gas-rich low-mass group members to classify each one as a classical dwarf galaxy, a short-lived tidal knot or a tidal dwarf galaxy (TDG). Our observations detect several dwarf irregulars and various tidal knots. We identify four potentially long-lived tidal objects in the three groups, implying that TDGs are not readily produced. The tidal objects examined in this small survey also appear to have a wider variety of properties than TDGs formed in current simulations.
A series of research reports has indicated that the use of substances such as cannabis, alcohol and tobacco are higher in youth at clinical high risk (CHR) of developing psychosis than in controls. Little is known about the longitudinal trajectory of substance use, and findings on the relationship between substance use and later transition to psychosis in CHR individuals are mixed.
At baseline and 6- and 12-month follow-ups, 735 CHR and 278 control participants completed the Alcohol and Drug Use Scale and a cannabis use questionnaire. The longitudinal trajectory of substance use was evaluated with linear mixed models.
CHR participants endorsed significantly higher cannabis and tobacco use severity, and lower alcohol use severity, at baseline and over a 1-year period compared with controls. CHR youth had higher lifetime prevalence and frequency of cannabis, and were significantly younger upon first use, and were more likely to use alone and during the day. Baseline substance use did not differentiate participants who later transitioned to psychosis (n = 90) from those who did not transition (n = 272). Controls had lower tobacco use than CHR participants with a prodromal progression clinical outcome and lower cannabis use than those with a psychotic clinical outcome at the 2-year assessment.
In CHR individuals cannabis and tobacco use is higher than in controls and this pattern persists across 1 year. Evaluation of clinical outcome may provide additional information on the longitudinal impact of substance use that cannot be detected through evaluation of transition/non-transition to psychosis alone.
Forecasting the maize yield of China's Jilin province from 1962 to 2004, with climate conditions and fertilizer as predictors, was investigated using multiple linear regression (MLR) and non-linear artificial neural network (ANN) models. Yield was set to be a function of precipitation from July to August, precipitation in September and the amount of fertilizer used. Fertilizer emerged as the dominant predictor and was non-linearly related to yield in the ANN model. Given the difficulty of acquiring fertilizer data for maize, the current study was also tested using the previous year's yield in the place of fertilizer data. Forecast skill scores computed under both cross-validation and retroactive validation showed ANN models to significantly outperform MLR and persistence (i.e. forecast yield is identical to last year's observed yield). As the data were non-stationary, cross-validation was found to be less reliable than retroactive validation in assessing the forecast skill.
A 10-year-old boy with polyvalvular dysplasia and severe involvement of both atrioventricular valves presented with palpitations. Concern was raised for atrial tachyarrhythmia due to biatrial enlargement; however, ambulatory monitoring discovered a reentrant mechanism. Electrophysiology study revealed atypical atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia involving two components of the slow pathway, with inputs in the posterior septum around his dysplastic tricuspid valve. He underwent successful modification of the slow pathway using cryoablation.
White matter (WM) abnormalities are proposed as potential endophenotypic markers of bipolar disorder (BD). In a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) voxel-based analysis (VBA) study of families multiply affected with BD, we previously reported that widespread abnormalities of fractional anisotropy (FA) are associated with both BD and genetic liability for illness. In the present study, we further investigated the endophenotypic potential of WM abnormalities by applying DTI tractography to specifically investigate tracts implicated in the pathophysiology of BD.
Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data were acquired from 19 patients with BD type I from multiply affected families, 21 of their unaffected first-degree relatives and 18 healthy volunteers. DTI tractography was used to identify the cingulum, uncinate fasciculus (UF), arcuate portion of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF), corpus callosum, and the anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC). Regression analyses were conducted to investigate the effect of participant group and genetic liability on FA and radial diffusivity (RD) in each tract.
We detected a significant effect of group on both FA and RD in the cingulum, SLF, callosal splenium and ILF driven by reduced FA and increased RD in patients compared to controls and relatives. Increasing genetic liability was associated with decreased FA and increased RD in the UF, and decreased FA in the SLF, among patients.
WM microstructural abnormalities in limbic, temporal and callosal pathways represent microstructural abnormalities associated with BD whereas alterations in the SLF and UF may represent potential markers of endophenotypic risk.
Recent community-based research has suggested that psychotic experiences act as markers of severity of psychopathology. There has, however, been a lack of clinic-based research. We wished to investigate, in a clinical sample of adolescents referred to a state-funded mental health service, the prevalence of (attenuated or frank) psychotic experiences and the relationship with (i) affective, anxiety and behavioural disorders, (ii) multimorbid psychopathology, (iii) global functioning, and (iv) suicidal behaviour.
The investigation was a clinical case–clinical control study using semi-structured research diagnostic psychiatric assessments in 108 patients newly referred to state adolescent mental health services.
Psychotic experiences were prevalent in a wide range of (non-psychotic) disorders but were strong markers of risk in particular for multimorbid psychopathology (Z = 3.44, p = 0.001). Young people with psychopathology who reported psychotic experiences demonstrated significantly poorer socio-occupational functioning than young people with psychopathology who did not report psychotic experiences, which was not explained by multimorbidity. Psychotic experiences were strong markers of risk for suicidal behaviour. Stratified analyses showed that there was a greatly increased odds of suicide attempts in patients with a major depressive disorder [odds ratio (OR) 8.89, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.59–49.83], anxiety disorder (OR 15.4, 95% CI 1.85–127.94) or behavioural disorder (OR 3.13, 95% CI 1.11–8.79) who also had psychotic experiences compared with patients who did not report psychotic experiences.
Psychotic experiences (attenuated or frank) are an important but under-recognized marker of risk for severe psychopathology, including multimorbidity, poor functioning and suicidal behaviour in young people who present to mental health services.
We present montage, a post-processing nucleosynthesis code that combines a traditional network for isotopes lighter than calcium with a rapid algorithm for calculating the s-process nucleosynthesis of the heavier isotopes. The separation of those parts of the network where only neutron-capture and beta-decay reactions are significant provides a substantial advantage in computational efficiency. We present the yields for a complete set of s-process isotopes for a 3-M⊙, Z = 0.02 stellar model, as a demonstration of the utility of the approach. Future work will include a large grid of models suitable for use in calculations of Galactic chemical evolution.
We present the first results from a study of the radio continuum properties of galaxies in the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey, (2dFGRS) based on thirty 2dF fields covering a total area of about 100 deg2. About 1·5% of galaxies with bJ < 19·4 mag. are detected as radio continuum sources in the NRAO VLA Sky Survey (NVSS). Of these, roughly 40% are star-forming galaxies and 60% are active galaxies (mostly low-power radio galaxies and a few Seyferts). The combination of 2dFGRS and NVSS will eventually yield a homogeneous set of around 4000 radio-galaxy spectra, which will be a powerful tool for studying the distribution and evolution of both AGN and starburst galaxies out to z ∼ 0·3.
Psychotic symptoms, also termed psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) in the absence of psychotic disorder, are common in adolescents and are associated with increased risk of schizophrenia-spectrum illness in adulthood. At the same time, schizophrenia is associated with deficits in social cognition, with deficits particularly documented in facial emotion recognition (FER). However, little is known about the relationship between PLEs and FER abilities, with only one previous prospective study examining the association between these abilities in childhood and reported PLEs in adolescence. The current study was a cross-sectional investigation of the association between PLEs and FER in a sample of Irish adolescents.
The Adolescent Psychotic-Like Symptom Screener (APSS), a self-report measure of PLEs, and the Penn Emotion Recognition-40 Test (Penn ER-40), a measure of facial emotion recognition, were completed by 793 children aged 10–13 years.
Children who reported PLEs performed significantly more poorly on FER (β=−0.03, p=0.035). Recognition of sad faces was the major driver of effects, with children performing particularly poorly when identifying this expression (β=−0.08, p=0.032).
The current findings show that PLEs are associated with poorer FER. Further work is needed to elucidate causal relationships with implications for the design of future interventions for those at risk of developing psychosis.