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Glucose intolerance during pregnancy – a major driver of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) – has significant short- and long-term health consequences for both the mother and child. As GDM prevalence continues to escalate, there is growing need for preventative strategies. There is limited but suggestive evidence that myo-inositol (MI) and probiotics (PB) could improve glucose tolerance during pregnancy. The present study tested the hypothesis that MI and/or PB supplementation would reduce the risk of glucose intolerance during pregnancy. Female C57BL/6 mice were randomised to receive either no treatment, MI, PB (Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis) or both (MIPB) for 5 weeks. They were then provided with a high-fat diet for 1 week before mating commenced and throughout mating/gestation, while remaining on their respective treatments. An oral glucose tolerance test occurred at gestational day (GD) 16·5 and tissue collection at GD 18·5. Neither MI nor PB, separately or combined, improved glucose tolerance. However, MI and PB both independently increased adipose tissue expression of Ir, Irs1, Akt2 and Pck1, and PB also increased Pparγ. MI was associated with reduced gestational weight gain, whilst PB was associated with increased maternal fasting glucose, total cholesterol and pancreas weight. These results suggest that MI and PB may improve insulin intracellular signalling in adipose tissue but this did not translate to meaningful differences in glucose tolerance. The absence of fasting hyperglycaemia or insulin resistance suggests this is a very mild model of GDM, which may have affected our ability to assess the impact of these nutrients.
Maternal obesity is associated with obesity and metabolic disorders in offspring. However, there remains a paucity of data on strategies to reverse the effects of maternal obesity on maternal and offspring health. With maternal undernutrition, taurine supplementation improves outcomes in offspring mediated in part via improved glucose–insulin homeostasis. The efficacy of taurine supplementation in the setting of maternal obesity on health and well-being of offspring is unknown. We examined the effects of taurine supplementation on outcomes related to growth and metabolism in offspring in a rat model of maternal obesity.
Wistar rats were randomised to: 1) control diet during pregnancy and lactation (CON); 2) CON with 1.5% taurine in drinking water (CT); 3) maternal obesogenic diet (MO); or 4) MO with taurine (MOT). Offspring were weaned onto the control diet for the remainder of the study.
At day 150, offspring body weights and adipose tissue weights were increased in MO groups compared to CON. Adipose tissue weights were reduced in MOT versus MO males but not females. Plasma fasting leptin and insulin were increased in MO offspring groups but were not altered by maternal taurine supplementation. Plasma homocysteine concentrations were reduced in all maternal taurine-supplemented offspring groups. There were significant interactions across maternal diet, taurine supplementation and sex for response to an oral glucose tolerance test , a high-fat dietary preference test and pubertal onset in offspring.
These results demonstrate that maternal taurine supplementation can partially ameliorate adverse developmental programming effects in offspring in a sex-specific manner.
All Fire and Emergency Services (FES) personnel must balance FES work with their other responsibilities. Given that women tend to take on a greater responsibility for management of household/domestic activities than men, the on-call component of their FES work may be associated with very different challenges. Despite this, women have rarely been the focus of on-call research.
To explore women’s on-call experiences in the FES by examining coping styles and strategies, with the goal of helping to innovate the way women are supported in FES roles.
Relevant findings from two studies are included. The first study involved FES personnel from two agencies in Australia (n=24) who participated in a semi-structured interview. The second study was an anonymous online survey to determine work characteristics, sleep, stress, and coping in on-call workers more broadly, with workers from all industries across Australia (n=228) invited to participate.
Interview data identified two major themes in terms of coping with on-call work. Support (from family, social, and work), planning, and preparation were identified as important in helping women cope in the context of on-call unpredictability. Results from the survey (43% women) showed that on-call workers were an engaged group in terms of their coping, with 67% classified as having a positive coping style and 58% of women indicating that they agreed/strongly agreed with the statement, “I cope well with on-call work.”
Taken together, these data highlight engagement with positive coping by women who do on-call work, including in the FES. Importantly, positive coping strategies, such as talking about emotions, problem-solving, and seeking support have been linked to increased shift work tolerance in other populations. Coping style and strategies represent modifiable variables which could be specifically applied to assist women to manage the unique challenges associated with on-call work in the FES.
An adverse early life environment is associated with increased cardiovascular disease in offspring. Work in animal models has shown that maternal undernutrition (UN) during pregnancy leads to hypertension in adult offspring, with effects thought to be mediated in part via altered renal function. We have previously shown that growth hormone (GH) treatment of UN offspring during the pre-weaning period can prevent the later development of cardiometabolic disorders. However, the mechanistic basis for these observations is not well defined. The present study examined the impact of GH treatment on renal inflammatory markers in adult male offspring as a potential mediator of these reversal effects. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed either a chow diet fed ad libitum (CON) or at 50% of CON intake (UN) during pregnancy. All dams were fed the chow diet ad libitum during lactation. CON and UN pups received saline (CON-S/UN-S) or GH (2.5 µg/g/day; CON-GH/UN-GH) from postnatal day 3 until weaning (p21). Post-weaning males were fed a standard chow diet for the remainder of the study (150 days). Histological analysis was performed to examine renal morphological characteristics, and gene expression of inflammatory and vascular markers were assessed. There was evidence of renal hypotrophy and reduced nephron number in the UN-S group. Tumour necrosis factor-α, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), intercellular adhesion molecular-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 gene expression was increased in UN-S offspring and normalized in the UN-GH group. These findings indicate that pre-weaning GH treatment has the potential to normalize some of the adverse renal and cardiovascular sequelae that arise as a consequence of poor maternal nutrition.
The prevalence of sleep problems among pregnant women is over 50%, and daytime sleepiness is among the most common sleep problems. Previous studies have associated antenatal sleep problems with adverse maternal health and neonatal outcomes, but the consequences of antenatal sleep problems and particularly daytime sleepiness on child psychological development have not been assessed prospectively.
In this prospective cohort study including 111 mother-child dyads, we examined the associations of maternal daytime sleepiness during pregnancy, assessed at 17 and 28 weeks of gestation using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, with child neuropsychiatric problems and neuropsychological development, assessed with mother-rated questionnaires and individually administered neuropsychological tests, at child age 2.6–5.7 years (mean = 4.3 years).
Independently of sociodemographic and perinatal covariates and maternal depressive and anxiety symptoms during and/or after pregnancy, maternal antenatal daytime sleepiness was associated with increased total [unstandardized regression coefficient (B) = 0.25 standard deviation (s.d.) units; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.01–0.48] and internalizing (B = 0.25 s.d.s: 95% CI 0.01–0.49) psychiatric problems and ADHD symptoms (B = 0.27 s.d.s: 95% CI 0.04–0.50) in children, and with poorer executive function, particularly in the areas of attention, working memory and inhibitory control (B = −0.39 s.d.s: 95% CI −0.69 to −0.10).
Maternal antenatal daytime sleepiness carries adverse consequences for offspring psychological development. The assessment of sleep problems may be an important addition to standard antenatal care.
Credibility and trustworthiness are the bedrock upon which any science is built. The strength of these foundations has been increasingly questioned across the sciences as instances of research misconduct and mounting concerns over the prevalence of detrimental research practices have been identified. Consequently, the purpose of this article is to encourage our scientific community to positively and proactively engage in efforts that foster a healthy and robust industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology. We begin by advancing six defining principles that we believe reflect the values of robust science and offer criteria for evaluating proposed efforts to change scientific practices. Recognizing that the contemporary scientific enterprise is a complex and diverse network of actors and institutions, we then conclude by identifying 12 stakeholders who play important roles in achieving a culture of robust science in I-O psychology and offer recommendations for actions we can take as members of these groups to strengthen our science.
Measurements of current rates of core-collapse supernovæ (CCSNe) suffer from significant uncertainties, probably due to the large fraction of CCSNe that explode in crowded regions which have bright background emission and significant dust extinction. Conventional optical (seeing-limited) SN surveys generally fail to detect them, but including them is crucial to the accurate determination of CCSN rates. Project SUNBIRD aims to tighten the present constraints on the fraction of CCSNe that are missed by conventional SN surveys. We are monitoring more than 25 dusty luminous infrared galaxies that are actively star-forming, for evidence of dust-obscured CCSNe, in an effort to characterise the population of CCSNes exploding in those nuclear regions of dusty LIRGs. We observe in the near-infrared, which is less affected by dust extinction compared to the optical; we are using Gemini South and Keck, and we make use of state-of-the-art laser guide-star adaptive optics instruments to achieve a spatial resolution <0’.1, which is sufficient to resolve close to the galactic nucleus.
During the project’s first year we discovered three CCSNe and one candidate one, with nuclear offsets as small as 200 pc, as cited in the poster. Aggregating the new discoveries with the CCSNe found in previous programmes employing AO, we compared the distribution of nuclear offsets of AO CCSN discoveries with all other documented CCSNe discovered in LIRGs. The poster showed that our method is singularly effective at uncovering CCSNe in the nuclear regions of LIRGs, and that while optical surveys dominate SNe discoveries far from a galaxy’s centre, near infra-red AO observations are needed to probe the regions within 1 kpc of the nucleus.
Elevated birth weight is linked to glucose intolerance and obesity health-related complications later in life. No studies have examined if infant birth weight is associated with gene expression markers of obesity and inflammation in a tissue that comes directly from the infant following birth. We evaluated the association between birth weight and gene expression on fetal programming of obesity. Foreskin samples were collected following circumcision, and gene expression analyzed comparing the 15% greatest birth weight infants (n=7) v. the remainder of the cohort (n=40). Multivariate linear regression models were fit to relate expression levels on differentially expressed genes to birth weight group with adjustment for variables selected from a list of maternal and infant characteristics. Glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4), insulin receptor substrate 2 (IRS2), leptin receptor (LEPR), lipoprotein lipase (LPL), low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1), matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) were significantly upregulated and histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) and thioredoxin (TXN) downregulated in the larger birth weight neonates v. controls. Multivariate modeling revealed that the estimated adjusted birth weight group difference exceeded one standard deviation of the expression level for eight of the 10 genes. Between 25 and 50% of variation in expression level was explained by multivariate modeling for eight of the 10 genes. Gene expression related to glycemic control, appetite/energy balance, obesity and inflammation were altered in tissue from babies with elevated birth weight, and these genes may provide important information regarding fetal programming in macrosomic babies.
We present results from a multiwavelength study of the blazar PKS 1954–388 at radio, UV, X-ray, and gamma-ray energies. A RadioAstron observation at 1.66 GHz in June 2012 resulted in the detection of interferometric fringes on baselines of 6.2 Earth-diameters. This suggests a source frame brightness temperature of greater than 2 × 1012 K, well in excess of both equipartition and inverse Compton limits and implying the existence of Doppler boosting in the core. An 8.4-GHz TANAMI VLBI image, made less than a month after the RadioAstron observations, is consistent with a previously reported superluminal motion for a jet component. Flux density monitoring with the Australia Telescope Compact Array confirms previous evidence for long-term variability that increases with observing frequency. A search for more rapid variability revealed no evidence for significant day-scale flux density variation. The ATCA light-curve reveals a strong radio flare beginning in late 2013, which peaks higher, and earlier, at higher frequencies. Comparison with the Fermi gamma-ray light-curve indicates this followed ~ 9 months after the start of a prolonged gamma-ray high-state—a radio lag comparable to that seen in other blazars. The multiwavelength data are combined to derive a Spectral Energy Distribution, which is fitted by a one-zone synchrotron-self-Compton (SSC) model with the addition of external Compton (EC) emission.
Obesity is a global epidemic, affecting both developed and developing countries. The related metabolic consequences that arise from being overweight or obese are a paramount global health concern, and represent a significant burden on healthcare systems. Furthermore, being overweight or obese during pregnancy increases the risk of offspring developing obesity and other related metabolic complications in later life, which can therefore perpetuate a transgenerational cycle of obesity. Obesity is associated with a chronic state of low-grade metabolic inflammation. However, the role of maternal obesity-mediated alterations in inflammatory processes as a mechanism underpinning developmental programming in offspring is less understood. Further, the use of anti-inflammatory agents as an intervention strategy to ameliorate or reverse the impact of adverse developmental programming in the setting of maternal obesity has not been well studied. This review will discuss the impact of maternal obesity on key inflammatory pathways, impact on pregnancy and offspring outcomes, potential mechanisms and avenues for intervention.
Numerous factors influence late-life depressive symptoms in adults, many not thoroughly characterized. We addressed whether genetic and environmental influences on depressive symptoms differed by age, sex, and physical illness.
The analysis sample included 24 436 twins aged 40–90 years drawn from the Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) Consortium. Biometric analyses tested age, sex, and physical illness moderation of genetic and environmental variance in depressive symptoms.
Women reported greater depressive symptoms than men. After age 60, there was an accelerating increase in depressive symptom scores with age, but this did not appreciably affect genetic and environmental variances. Overlap in genetic influences between physical illness and depressive symptoms was greater in men than in women. Additionally, in men extent of overlap was greater with worse physical illness (the genetic correlation ranged from near 0.00 for the least physical illness to nearly 0.60 with physical illness 2 s.d. above the mean). For men and women, the same environmental factors that influenced depressive symptoms also influenced physical illness.
Findings suggested that genetic factors play a larger part in the association between depressive symptoms and physical illness for men than for women. For both sexes, across all ages, physical illness may similarly trigger social and health limitations that contribute to depressive symptoms.
The direct involvement of patients and carers in psychiatric education is driven by policy in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The benefits of this involvement are well known, however, it is important to consider the ethical aspects. This paper suggests how further research could explore and potentially mitigate adverse outcomes.
A literature search evaluating the role of patients and carer involvement in psychiatric education was undertaken to summarise existing evidence relating to the following: methods of involvement, evidence of usefulness, patient’s/carer’s views and learners’ views.
The Medline search produced 231 articles of which 31 were included in the literature review based on the key themes addressed in the paper.
The available evidence is generally positive regarding the use of patients and carers in psychiatric education. However, available research is varied in approach and outcome with little information on the ethical consequences. More research is required to inform policies on teaching regarding potential adverse effects of service user involvement.
Persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD) is a protracted form of grief included in DSM Section 3 indicating a need for more research. Two other criteria sets [prolonged grief disorder (PGD) and complicated grief (CG) disorder] are also currently in use by researchers. This study evaluates rates of diagnosis of each proposed criteria set in a clinical sample of bereaved individuals participating in clinical research.
Two groups in which persistent grief was judged to be present or absent completed an assessment instrument that included items needed to diagnose PCBD as well as PGD and CG. One group included grief treatment-seeking participants in our multicenter National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-sponsored study who scored ⩾30 on the Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG) and the other comprised bereaved adults enrolled in clinical research studies who scored <20 on the ICG. Rates of diagnosis were determined for proposed PCBD, PGD and CG criteria.
PCBD criteria diagnosed 70 [95% confidence interval (CI) 64.2–75.8] % of the grief treatment-seeking group, PGD criteria identified 59.6 (95% CI 53.4–65.8) % of these individuals and CG criteria identified 99.6 (95% CI 98.8–100.0) %. None of the three proposed criteria identified any cases in the bereaved comparison group.
Both proposed DSM-5 criteria for PCBD and criteria for PGD appear to be too restrictive as they failed to identify substantial numbers of treatment-seeking individuals with clinically significant levels of grief-related distress and impairment. Use of CG criteria or a similar algorithm appears to be warranted.
Prenatal maternal obesity has been linked to adverse childhood neuropsychiatric outcomes, including increased symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), internalizing and externalizing problems, affective disorders and neurodevelopmental problems but few studies have studied neuropsychiatric outcomes among offspring born to very severely obese women or assessed potential familial confounding by maternal psychological distress.
We evaluated neuropsychiatric symptoms in 112 children aged 3–5 years whose mothers had participated in a longitudinal study of obesity in pregnancy (50 very severe obesity, BMI ⩾40 kg/m2, obese class III and 62 lean, BMI 18.5–25 kg/m2). The mothers completed the Conners’ Hyperactivity Scale, Early Symptomatic Syndrome Eliciting Neurodevelopmental Clinical Examination Questionnaire (ESSENCE-Q), Child's Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) to assess child neuropsychiatric symptoms. Covariates included child's sex, age, birthweight, gestational age, socioeconomic deprivation levels, maternal age, parity, smoking status during pregnancy, gestational diabetes and maternal concurrent symptoms of anxiety and depression assessed using State Anxiety of Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Index (STAI) and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), respectively.
Children exposed to prenatal maternal very severe obesity had significantly higher scores in the Conners’ Hyperactivity Scale; ESSENCE-Q; total sleep problems in CSHQ; hyperactivity, conduct problems and total difficulties scales of the SDQ; higher externalizing and total problems, anxious/depressed, aggressive behaviour and other problem syndrome scores and higher DSM-oriented affective, anxiety and ADHD problems in CBCL. Prenatal maternal very severe obesity remained a significant predictor of child neuropsychiatric problems across multiple scales independent of demographic factors, prenatal factors and maternal concurrent symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Prenatal maternal very severe obesity is a strong predictor of increased neuropsychiatric problems in early childhood.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
Alongside impulsive suicide attempts, clinicians encounter highly premeditated suicidal acts, particularly in older adults. We have previously found that in contrast to the more impulsive suicide attempters’ inability to delay gratification, serious and highly planned suicide attempts were associated with greater willingness to wait for larger rewards. This study examined neural underpinnings of intertemporal preference in suicide attempters. We expected that impulsivity and suicide attempts, particularly poorly planned ones, would predict altered paralimbic subjective value representations. We also examined lateral prefrontal and paralimbic correlates of premeditation in suicidal behavior.
A total of 48 participants aged 46–90 years underwent extensive clinical and cognitive characterization and completed the delay discounting task in the scanner: 26 individuals with major depression (13 with and 13 without history of suicide attempts) and 22 healthy controls.
More impulsive individuals displayed greater activation in the precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) to value difference favoring the delayed option. Suicide attempts, particularly better-planned ones, were associated with deactivation of the lateral prefrontal cortex (lPFC) in response to value difference favoring the immediate option. Findings were robust to medication exposure, depression severity and possible brain damage from suicide attempts, among other confounders. Finally, in suicide attempters longer reward delays were associated with diminished parahippocampal responses.
Impulsivity was associated with an altered paralimbic (precuneus/PCC) encoding of value difference during intertemporal choice. By contrast, better-planned suicidal acts were associated with altered lPFC representations of value difference. The study provides preliminary evidence of impaired decision processes in both impulsive and premeditated suicidal behavior.
Visual hallucinations are a common phenomenon, among the older adult population. They can be functional or organic in aetiology. However, new onset visual hallucinations in this population are strongly suggestive of organic brain disease. Visual impairment, cerebrovascular disease and Parkinson’s disease are three causes of visual hallucinations, considered in this case series. The evidence in the literature, for the treatment of these conditions is scant at best. There is a paucity of randomised controlled trials available concerning possible therapeutic options.
We describe three case reports of visual hallucinations due to diverse underlying aetiologies. We then discuss the aetiologies of visual hallucinations in general and then in these particular cases and finally include results of a literature search examining the available evidence for any therapeutic options proposed.
Our three cases have different, underlying aetiologies. One case is of Charles Bonnet syndrome. The next is of visual hallucinations associated with vascular dementia. The final case is of visual hallucinations associated with Parkinson’s disease. The first two cases are of particular interest due to the efficacy of Amisulpride in both clinical scenarios.
Visual hallucinations are a common phenomenon in the elderly population
They can be due to a myriad of underlying causes. There are a number of neurochemical factors and neuroanatomical structures implicated. The evidence for psychopharmacological interventions is scanty. Randomised controlled trials are lacking in the area. An interesting finding in this case series, was of the clinical utility of Amisulpiride. Given this agent’s unique psychopharmacological profile it is possible that it may be efficacious in other cases of visual hallucinations associated with particular neurochemical factors.
Both maternal obesity and disordered mood have adverse effects on pregnancy outcome. We hypothesized that maternal very severe obesity (SO) is associated with increased anxiety and depression (A&D) symptoms during pregnancy, with adverse effects on gestational weight gain (GWG), postpartum mood and postpartum weight retention (PPWR) and explored any mediation by circulating glucocorticoids.
We measured A&D symptoms with validated questionnaires at weeks 17 and 28 of pregnancy and 3 months postpartum in 135 lean [body mass index (BMI) ⩽25 kg/m2] and 222 SO (BMI ⩾40 kg/m2) pregnant women. Fasting serum cortisol was measured by radioimmunoassay; GWG and PPWR were recorded.
A&D symptoms were higher in the SO group during pregnancy and postpartum despite adjusting for multiple confounders including previous mental health diagnosis (p < 0.05), and were non-linearly correlated with total GWG (anxiety R2 = 0.06, p = 0.037; depression R2 = 0.09, p = 0.001). In the SO group only, increased maternal anxiety (β = 0.33, p = 0.03) and depression (β = 0.19, p = 0.04) symptoms at week 17 of pregnancy were associated with increased PPWR, independent of total GWG and breastfeeding. Anxiety symptoms at week 28 of pregnancy, but not depression, were non-linearly correlated with serum cortisol level at week 36 of pregnancy (R2 = 0.06, p = 0.02). Cortisol did not mediate the link between A&D symptoms and GWG.
Maternal SO was associated with increased A&D symptoms, and with adverse effects on GWG and PPWR independent of circulating glucocorticoids. Strategies to optimize GWG and postpartum weight management in SO women should include assessment and management of maternal mood in early pregnancy.