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With the shift from deinstitutionalization to community care in mental health services, relatives of persons with severe and enduring mental illnesses have had to take over the role as primary caregivers. Disturbed family dynamics have been observed within families with an ‘ill’ member. Although schizophrenia and related mental illnesses are biologically based disorders, environmental stress (including stress within family relationships) plays a major role in the onset and maintenance of symptoms. With this study, we assume that family dynamics play a central role in the course of severe psychiatric illness and hypothesized that dysfunction within family systems is a prognostic indicator of hospitalization in the course of schizophrenia/bipolar and schizoaffective disorders.
Prospective, observational cohort study evaluating family functioning of 121 patients (schizophrenia/bipolar and schizoaffective disorder) from community at baseline and followed-up over 12-month period after recruitment. Measurements included demographics, diagnosis, Family Assessment Device – General Functioning, Perceived Criticism Scale, Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, Global Assessment of Functioning and Social Support Questionnaire-6.
Significant differences found between patients admitted and not admitted during the 12-month time period for age (p = 0.003), Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS; p = 0.026), Family Assessment Device – General Functioning (FAD-GF; p = 0.007) and Social Support Questionnaire total satisfaction level (p = 0.042) at baseline. Bivariate analysis showed that those admitted into hospital were younger with a higher BPRS score, less social satisfaction and disturbed family dynamics. FAD-GF (p = 0.006) and age (p = 0.022) were significant independent predictors for admission.
This provides further evidence supporting importance of promoting better family functioning through modified family dynamics, integrating and involving family into the care of such patients.
Gut cell losses contribute to overall feed efficiency due to the energy requirement for cell replenishment. Intestinal epithelial cells are sloughed into the intestinal lumen as digesta passes through the gastrointestinal tract, where cells are degraded by endonucleases. This leads to fragmented DNA being present in faeces, which may be an indicator of gut cell loss. Therefore, measuring host faecal DNA content could have potential as a non-invasive marker of gut cell loss and result in a novel technique for the assessment of how different feed ingredients impact upon gut health. Faecal calprotectin (CALP) is a marker of intestinal inflammation. This was a pilot study designed to test a methodology for extracting and quantifying DNA from pig faeces, and to assess whether any differences in host faecal DNA and CALP could be detected. An additional aim was to determine whether any differences in the above measures were related to the pig performance response to dietary yeast-enriched protein concentrate (YPC). Newly weaned (∼26.5 days of age) Large White × Landrace × Pietrain piglets (8.37 kg ±1.10, n = 180) were assigned to one of four treatment groups (nine replicates of five pigs), differing in dietary YPC content: 0% (control), 2.5%, 5% and 7.5% (w/w). Pooled faecal samples were collected on days 14 and 28 of the 36-day trial. Deoxyribonucleic acid was extracted and quantitative PCR was used to assess DNA composition. Pig genomic DNA was detected using primers specific for the pig cytochrome b (CYTB) gene, and bacterial DNA was detected using universal 16S primers. A pig CALP ELISA was used to assess gut inflammation. Dietary YPC significantly reduced feed conversion ratio (FCR) from weaning to day 14 (P<0.001), but not from day 14 to day 28 (P = 0.220). Pig faecal CYTB DNA content was significantly (P = 0.008) reduced in YPC-treated pigs, with no effect of time, whereas total faecal bacterial DNA content was unaffected by diet or time (P>0.05). Faecal CALP levels were significantly higher at day 14 compared with day 28, but there was no effect of YPC inclusion and no relationship with FCR. In conclusion, YPC reduced faecal CYTB DNA content and this correlated positively with FCR, but was unrelated to gut inflammation, suggesting that it could be a non-invasive marker of gut cell loss. However, further validation experiments by an independent method are required to verify the origin of pig faecal CYTB DNA as being from sloughed intestinal epithelial cells.
To date, there are no recent studies identifying the prevalence of parasites of human and veterinary importance in dogs and cats in Ireland. The interaction between pets and wildlife species in the environment is an important source of parasite exposure to canids and felines, and one likely to be heightened in the stray animal population. This study aimed to establish the prevalence of endoparasites in unowned dogs and cats in County Dublin, Ireland. Feces from stray dogs (n = 627) and cats (n = 289) entering a rehoming centre were collected immediately after defecation. The main parasitic agents detected were ascarids (15.52 and 30.26%), Cystoisospora (3.27 and 3.69%), Giardia spp. (6.02 and 1.84%) and lungworms (0.64 and 2.08%), in dogs and cats respectively. Animals younger than 3 months of age were more likely to be infected with ascarids (P < 0.001) and Cystoisospora spp. (P = 0.008 and P = 0.014) than older animals. All lungworms were morphologically identified and dogs were infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum (0.48%) and Crenosoma vulpis (0.16%) whereas cats were only infected with Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (2.08%). This represents the first prevalence study of stray animals in Ireland. Data collected will inform the treatment and in addition, the future monitoring and control studies of parasite populations.
There is renewed interest in the inverse association between psychiatric hospital and prison places, with reciprocal time trends shown in more than one country. We hypothesised that the numbers of admissions to psychiatric hospitals and committals to prisons in Ireland would also correlate inversely over time (i.e. dynamic measures of admission and committal rather than static, cross-sectional numbers of places).
Publicly available activity statistics for psychiatric hospitals and prisons in Ireland were collated from 1986 to 2010.
There was a reciprocal association between psychiatric admissions and prison committals (Pearson r=−0.788, p<0.001), an increase of 91 prison committals for every 100 psychiatric hospital admissions foregone.
Penrose’s hypothesis applies to admissions to psychiatric hospitals and prisons in Ireland over time (dynamic measures), just as it does to the numbers of places in psychiatric hospitals and prisons in Ireland and elsewhere (static, cross-sectional measures). Although no causal connection can be definitively established yet, mentally disordered prisoners are usually known to community mental health services. Psychiatric services for prisons and the community should be linked to ensure that the needs of those currently accessing care through prisons can also be met in the community.
The Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) is an 18000 m2 radio telescope located 40 km from Canberra, Australia. Its operating band (820–851 MHz) is partly allocated to telecommunications, making radio astronomy challenging. We describe how the deployment of new digital receivers, Field Programmable Gate Array-based filterbanks, and server-class computers equipped with 43 Graphics Processing Units, has transformed the telescope into a versatile new instrument (UTMOST) for studying the radio sky on millisecond timescales. UTMOST has 10 times the bandwidth and double the field of view compared to the MOST, and voltage record and playback capability has facilitated rapid implementaton of many new observing modes, most of which operate commensally. UTMOST can simultaneously excise interference, make maps, coherently dedisperse pulsars, and perform real-time searches of coherent fan-beams for dispersed single pulses. UTMOST operates as a robotic facility, deciding how to efficiently target pulsars and how long to stay on source via real-time pulsar folding, while searching for single pulse events. Regular timing of over 300 pulsars has yielded seven pulsar glitches and three Fast Radio Bursts during commissioning. UTMOST demonstrates that if sufficient signal processing is applied to voltage streams, innovative science remains possible even in hostile radio frequency environments.
Research on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) course finds a substantial proportion of cases remit within 6 months, a majority within 2 years, and a substantial minority persists for many years. Results are inconsistent about pre-trauma predictors.
The WHO World Mental Health surveys assessed lifetime DSM-IV PTSD presence-course after one randomly-selected trauma, allowing retrospective estimates of PTSD duration. Prior traumas, childhood adversities (CAs), and other lifetime DSM-IV mental disorders were examined as predictors using discrete-time person-month survival analysis among the 1575 respondents with lifetime PTSD.
20%, 27%, and 50% of cases recovered within 3, 6, and 24 months and 77% within 10 years (the longest duration allowing stable estimates). Time-related recall bias was found largely for recoveries after 24 months. Recovery was weakly related to most trauma types other than very low [odds-ratio (OR) 0.2–0.3] early-recovery (within 24 months) associated with purposefully injuring/torturing/killing and witnessing atrocities and very low later-recovery (25+ months) associated with being kidnapped. The significant ORs for prior traumas, CAs, and mental disorders were generally inconsistent between early- and later-recovery models. Cross-validated versions of final models nonetheless discriminated significantly between the 50% of respondents with highest and lowest predicted probabilities of both early-recovery (66–55% v. 43%) and later-recovery (75–68% v. 39%).
We found PTSD recovery trajectories similar to those in previous studies. The weak associations of pre-trauma factors with recovery, also consistent with previous studies, presumably are due to stronger influences of post-trauma factors.
Although mental disorders are significant predictors of educational attainment throughout the entire educational career, most research on mental disorders among students has focused on the primary and secondary school years.
The World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys were used to examine the associations of mental disorders with college entry and attrition by comparing college students (n = 1572) and non-students in the same age range (18–22 years; n = 4178), including non-students who recently left college without graduating (n = 702) based on surveys in 21 countries (four low/lower-middle income, five upper-middle-income, one lower-middle or upper-middle at the times of two different surveys, and 11 high income). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence and age-of-onset of DSM-IV anxiety, mood, behavioral and substance disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
One-fifth (20.3%) of college students had 12-month DSM-IV/CIDI disorders; 83.1% of these cases had pre-matriculation onsets. Disorders with pre-matriculation onsets were more important than those with post-matriculation onsets in predicting subsequent college attrition, with substance disorders and, among women, major depression the most important such disorders. Only 16.4% of students with 12-month disorders received any 12-month healthcare treatment for their mental disorders.
Mental disorders are common among college students, have onsets that mostly occur prior to college entry, in the case of pre-matriculation disorders are associated with college attrition, and are typically untreated. Detection and effective treatment of these disorders early in the college career might reduce attrition and improve educational and psychosocial functioning.
This study was undertaken to determine the optimum approach to screening for head and neck cancer based on international experiences.
To determine whether or not head and neck cancer is suitable for screening, and, if so, what the ideal approach should be.
An electronic search of online databases up to and including May 2014 was conducted. Key search terms included ‘head and neck’, ‘cancer’, ‘screening’, ‘larynx’, ‘oropharynx’ and ‘oral’.
Subset analysis of high-risk cohorts showed statistically significant improvements in early detection of head and neck cancer via screening.
Current levels of public awareness regarding head and neck cancers are suboptimal, despite increased incidence and mortality. Scheduled and opportunistic screening, coupled with efforts to enhance education and health behaviour modification, are highly recommended for pre-defined, high-risk, targeted populations. This can enable early detection and therefore improve morbidity and mortality.
To examine barriers to initiation and continuation of mental health treatment among individuals with common mental disorders.
Data were from the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) surveys. Representative household samples were interviewed face to face in 24 countries. Reasons to initiate and continue treatment were examined in a subsample (n = 636 78) and analyzed at different levels of clinical severity.
Among those with a DSM-IV disorder in the past 12 months, low perceived need was the most common reason for not initiating treatment and more common among moderate and mild than severe cases. Women and younger people with disorders were more likely to recognize a need for treatment. A desire to handle the problem on one's own was the most common barrier among respondents with a disorder who perceived a need for treatment (63.8%). Attitudinal barriers were much more important than structural barriers to both initiating and continuing treatment. However, attitudinal barriers dominated for mild-moderate cases and structural barriers for severe cases. Perceived ineffectiveness of treatment was the most commonly reported reason for treatment drop-out (39.3%), followed by negative experiences with treatment providers (26.9% of respondents with severe disorders).
Low perceived need and attitudinal barriers are the major barriers to seeking and staying in treatment among individuals with common mental disorders worldwide. Apart from targeting structural barriers, mainly in countries with poor resources, increasing population mental health literacy is an important endeavor worldwide.
The World Mental Health Survey Initiative (WMHSI) has advanced our understanding of mental disorders by providing data suitable for analysis across many countries. However, these data have not yet been fully explored from a cross-national lifespan perspective. In particular, there is a shortage of research on the relationship between mood and anxiety disorders and age across countries. In this study we used multigroup methods to model the distribution of 12-month DSM-IV/CIDI mood and anxiety disorders across the adult lifespan in relation to determinants of mental health in 10 European Union (EU) countries.
Logistic regression was used to model the odds of any mood or any anxiety disorder as a function of age, gender, marital status, urbanicity and employment using a multigroup approach (n = 35500). This allowed for the testing of specific lifespan hypotheses across participating countries.
No simple geographical pattern exists with which to describe the relationship between 12-month prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders and age. Of the adults sampled, very few aged ⩾80 years met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for these disorders. The associations between these disorders and key sociodemographic variables were relatively homogeneous across countries after adjusting for age.
Further research is required to confirm that there are indeed stages in the lifespan where the reported prevalence of mental disorders is low, such as among younger adults in the East and older adults in the West. This project illustrates the difficulties in conducting research among different age groups simultaneously.
Adaptation, speciation and extinction
A. Donnelly, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland,
A. Caffarra, Istituto Agrario San Michele all'Adige, Italy,
E. Diskin, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland,
C. T. Kelleher, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin, Ireland,
A. Pletsers, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland,
H. Proctor, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland,
R. Stirnemann, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland,
M. B. Jones, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland,
J. O'Halloran, University College Cork, Ireland,
B. F. O'Neill, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland,
J. Peñuelas, Campus Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain,
T. Sparks, Technische Universität München, Germany and Institute of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK
The impact of climate change, in particular increasing spring temperatures, on life-cycle events of plants and animals has gained scientific attention in recent years. Leafing of trees, appearance and abundance of insects, and migration of birds, across a range of species and countries, have been cited as phenotrends that are advancing in response to warmer spring temperatures. The ability of organisms to acclimate to variations in environmental conditions is known as phenotypic plasticity. Plasticity allows organisms to time developmental stages to coincide with optimum availability of environmental resources. There may, however, come a time when the limit of this plasticity is reached and the species needs to adapt genetically to survive. Here we discuss evidence of the impact of climate warming on plant, insect and bird phenology through examination of: (1) phenotypic plasticity in (a) bud burst in trees, (b) appearance of insects and (c) migration of birds; and (2) genetic adaptation in (a) gene expression during bud burst in trees, (b) the timing of occurrence of phenological events in insects and (c) arrival and breeding times of migratory birds. Finally, we summarise the potential consequences of future climatic changes for plant, insect and bird phenology.
The recent resurgence of interest in phenology (the timing of recurring life-cycle events in plants and animals) has stemmed from research on the impact of climate change, in particular, global warming.