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The design of government portfolios – that is, the distribution of competencies among government ministries and office holders – has been largely ignored in the study of executive and coalition politics. This article argues that portfolio design is a substantively and theoretically relevant phenomenon that has major implications for the study of institutional design and coalition politics. The authors use comparative data on portfolio design reforms in nine Western European countries since the 1970s to demonstrate how the design of government portfolios changes over time. Specifically, they show that portfolios are changed frequently (on average about once a year) and that such shifts are more likely after changes in the prime ministership or the party composition of the government. These findings suggest a political logic behind these reforms based on the preferences and power of political parties and politicians. They have major implications for the study of institutional design and coalition politics.
As demonstrated by neuroimaging data, the human brain contains systems that control responses to threat. The revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of personality predicts that individual differences in the reactivity of these brain systems produce anxiety and fear-related personality traits. Here we discuss some of the challenges in testing this theory and, as an example, present a pilot study that aimed to dissociate brain activity during pursuit by threat and goal conflict. We did this by translating the Mouse Defense Test Battery for human fMRI use. In this version, dubbed the Joystick Operated Runway Task (JORT), we repeatedly exposed 24 participants to pursuit and goal conflict, with and without threat of electric shock. The runway design of JORT allowed the effect of threat distance on brain activation to be evaluated independently of context. Goal conflict plus threat of electric shock caused deactivation in a network of brain areas that included the fusiform and middle temporal gyri, as well as the default mode network core, including medial frontal regions, precuneus and posterior cingulate gyrus, and laterally the inferior parietal and angular gyri. Consistent with earlier research, we also found that imminent threat activated the midbrain and that this effect was significantly stronger during the simple pursuit condition than during goal conflict. Also consistent with earlier research, we found significantly greater hippocampal activation during goal conflict than pursuit by imminent threat. In conclusion, our results contribute knowledge to theories linking anxiety disorders to altered functioning in defensive brain systems and also highlight challenges in this research domain.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) are the most frequently used observer-rated and self-report scales of depression, respectively. It is important to know what a given total score or a change score from baseline on one scale means in relation to the other scale.
We obtained individual participant data from the randomised controlled trials of psychological and pharmacological treatments for major depressive disorders. We then identified corresponding scores of the HAMD and the BDI (369 patients from seven trials) or the BDI-II (683 patients from another seven trials) using the equipercentile linking method.
The HAMD total scores of 10, 20 and 30 corresponded approximately with the BDI scores of 10, 27 and 42 or with the BDI-II scores of 13, 32 and 50. The HAMD change scores of −20 and −10 with the BDI of −29 and −15 and with the BDI-II of −35 and −16.
The results can help clinicians interpret the HAMD or BDI scores of their patients in a more versatile manner and also help clinicians and researchers evaluate such scores reported in the literature or the database, when scores on only one of these scales are provided. We present a conversion table for future research.
The variation of the molecular architecture of multiblock copolymers has enabled the introduction of functional behaviour and the control of key mechanical properties. In the current study, we explore the synergistic relationship of two structural components in a shape-memory material formed of a multiblock copolymer with crystallizable poly(ε-caprolactone) and crystallizable poly[oligo(3S-iso-butylmorpholine-2,5-dione)] segments (PCL-PIBMD). The thermal and structural properties of PCL-PIBMD films were compared with PCL-PU and PIBMD-PU, investigated by means of DSC, SAXS and WAXS measurements. The shape-memory properties were quantified by cyclic, thermomechanical tensile tests, where deformation strains up to 900% were applied for programming PCL-PIBMD films at 50 °C. Toluene vapor treatment experiments demonstrated that the temporary shape was fixed mainly by glassy PIBMD domains at strains lower than 600%, with the PCL contribution to fixation increasing to 42±2% at programming strains of 900%. This study into the shape-memory mechanism of PCL-PIBMD provides insight into the structure-function relation in multiblock copolymers with both crystallizable and glassy switching segments.
The value of the nosological distinction between non-affective and affective psychosis has frequently been challenged. We aimed to investigate the transdiagnostic dimensional structure and associated characteristics of psychopathology at First Episode Psychosis (FEP). Regardless of diagnostic categories, we expected that positive symptoms occurred more frequently in ethnic minority groups and in more densely populated environments, and that negative symptoms were associated with indices of neurodevelopmental impairment.
This study included 2182 FEP individuals recruited across six countries, as part of the EUropean network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene–Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. Symptom ratings were analysed using multidimensional item response modelling in Mplus to estimate five theory-based models of psychosis. We used multiple regression models to examine demographic and context factors associated with symptom dimensions.
A bifactor model, composed of one general factor and five specific dimensions of positive, negative, disorganization, manic and depressive symptoms, best-represented associations among ratings of psychotic symptoms. Positive symptoms were more common in ethnic minority groups. Urbanicity was associated with a higher score on the general factor. Men presented with more negative and less depressive symptoms than women. Early age-at-first-contact with psychiatric services was associated with higher scores on negative, disorganized, and manic symptom dimensions.
Our results suggest that the bifactor model of psychopathology holds across diagnostic categories of non-affective and affective psychosis at FEP, and demographic and context determinants map onto general and specific symptom dimensions. These findings have implications for tailoring symptom-specific treatments and inform research into the mood-psychosis spectrum.
Projected changes to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnostic criteria in the upcoming International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-11 may affect the prevalence and severity of identified cases. This study examined differences in rates, severity, and overlap of diagnoses using ICD-10 and ICD-11 PTSD diagnostic criteria during consecutive assessments of recent survivors of traumatic events.
The study sample comprised 3863 survivors of traumatic events, evaluated in 11 longitudinal studies of PTSD. ICD-10 and ICD-11 diagnostic rules were applied to the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) to derive ICD-10 and ICD-11 diagnoses at different time intervals between trauma occurrence and 15 months.
The ICD-11 criteria identified fewer cases than the ICD-10 across assessment intervals (range −47.09% to −57.14%). Over 97% of ICD-11 PTSD cases met concurrent ICD-10 PTSD criteria. PTSD symptom severity of individuals identified by the ICD-11 criteria (CAPS total scores) was 31.38–36.49% higher than those identified by ICD-10 criteria alone. The latter, however, had CAPS scores indicative of moderate PTSD. ICD-11 was associated with similar or higher rates of comorbid mood and anxiety disorders. Individuals identified by either ICD-10 or ICD-11 shortly after traumatic events had similar longitudinal course.
This study indicates that significantly fewer individuals would be diagnosed with PTSD using the proposed ICD-11 criteria. Though ICD-11 criteria identify more severe cases, those meeting ICD-10 but not ICD-11 criteria remain in the moderate range of PTSD symptoms. Use of ICD-11 criteria will have critical implications for case identification in clinical practice, national reporting, and research.
Different diagnostic interviews are used as reference standards for major depression classification in research. Semi-structured interviews involve clinical judgement, whereas fully structured interviews are completely scripted. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a brief fully structured interview, is also sometimes used. It is not known whether interview method is associated with probability of major depression classification.
To evaluate the association between interview method and odds of major depression classification, controlling for depressive symptom scores and participant characteristics.
Data collected for an individual participant data meta-analysis of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) diagnostic accuracy were analysed and binomial generalised linear mixed models were fit.
A total of 17 158 participants (2287 with major depression) from 57 primary studies were analysed. Among fully structured interviews, odds of major depression were higher for the MINI compared with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.15–3.87). Compared with semi-structured interviews, fully structured interviews (MINI excluded) were non-significantly more likely to classify participants with low-level depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≤6) as having major depression (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 0.98–10.00), similarly likely for moderate-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores 7–15) (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.56–1.66) and significantly less likely for high-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥16) (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26–0.97).
The MINI may identify more people as depressed than the CIDI, and semi-structured and fully structured interviews may not be interchangeable methods, but these results should be replicated.
Declaration of interest
Drs Jetté and Patten declare that they received a grant, outside the submitted work, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, which was jointly funded by the Institute and Pfizer. Pfizer was the original sponsor of the development of the PHQ-9, which is now in the public domain. Dr Chan is a steering committee member or consultant of Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer. She has received sponsorships and honorarium for giving lectures and providing consultancy and her affiliated institution has received research grants from these companies. Dr Hegerl declares that within the past 3 years, he was an advisory board member for Lundbeck, Servier and Otsuka Pharma; a consultant for Bayer Pharma; and a speaker for Medice Arzneimittel, Novartis, and Roche Pharma, all outside the submitted work. Dr Inagaki declares that he has received grants from Novartis Pharma, lecture fees from Pfizer, Mochida, Shionogi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo, Meiji Seika and Takeda, and royalties from Nippon Hyoron Sha, Nanzando, Seiwa Shoten, Igaku-shoin and Technomics, all outside of the submitted work. Dr Yamada reports personal fees from Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., MSD K.K., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, Seishin Shobo, Seiwa Shoten Co., Ltd., Igaku-shoin Ltd., Chugai Igakusha and Sentan Igakusha, all outside the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests. No funder had any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
The re-emergence of debates on the decolonisation of knowledge has revived interest in the National Question, which began over a century ago and remains unresolved. Tensions that were suppressed and hidden in the past are now being openly debated. Despite this, the goal of one united nation living prosperously under a constitutional democracy remains elusive. This edited volume examines the way in which various strands of left thought have addressed the National Question, especially during the apartheid years, and goes on to discuss its relevance for South Africa today and in the future. Instead of imposing a particular understanding of the National Question, the editors identified a number of political traditions and allowed contributors the freedom to define the question as they believed appropriate – in other words, to explain what they thought was the Unresolved National Question. This has resulted in a rich tapestry of interweaving perceptions. The volume is structured in two parts. The first examines four foundational traditions: Marxism-Leninism (the Colonialism of a Special Type thesis); the Congress tradition; the Trotskyist tradition; and Africanism. The second part explores the various shifts in the debate from the 1960s onwards, and includes chapters on Afrikaner nationalism, ethnic issues, black consciousness, feminism, workerism and constitutionalism. The editors hope that by revisiting the debates not popularly known among the scholarly mainstream, this volume will become a catalyst for an enriched debate on our identity and our future.
The hepatitis E virus (HEV) has been described in humans and various animal species in different regions of the world. However, the knowledge on natural HEV infection in non-human primates and the corresponding risk of zoonotic transmission is scarce. To determine whether primates in captivity are affected by HEV infection, we investigated 259 individual sera of clinically healthy non-human primates of 14 species from nine German zoos. Using a commercial double-antigen-sandwich ELISA and a commercial IgG ELISA, 10 animals (3·9%) reacted positive in at least one assay. Three ape species and one Old World monkey species were among the seropositive animals: bonobo (Pan paniscus), gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), lar gibbon (Hylobates lar) and drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus). Testing for anti-HEV-IgM antibodies by commercial ELISA and for viral RNA by reverse-transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction resulted in negative results for all animals indicating the absence of acute HEV infections. In the past, no clinical signs of hepatitis were recorded for the seropositive animals. The results suggest that non-human primates in zoos can get naturally and subclinically infected with HEV or related hepeviruses. Future studies should evaluate potential sources and transmission routes of these infections and their impact on human health.
Puumala virus (PUUV) causes many human infections in large parts of Europe and can lead to mild to moderate disease. The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) is the only reservoir of PUUV in Central Europe. A commercial PUUV rapid field test for rodents was validated for bank-vole blood samples collected in two PUUV-endemic regions in Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg). A comparison of the results of the rapid field test and standard ELISAs indicated a test efficacy of 93–95%, largely independent of the origin of the antigens used in the ELISA. In ELISAs, reactivity for the German PUUV strain was higher compared to the Swedish strain but not compared to the Finnish strain, which was used for the rapid field test. In conclusion, the use of the rapid field test can facilitate short-term estimation of PUUV seroprevalence in bank-vole populations in Germany and can aid in assessing human PUUV infection risk.