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There is demand for new, effective and scalable treatments for depression, and development of new forms of cognitive bias modification (CBM) of negative emotional processing biases has been suggested as possible interventions to meet this need.
We report two double blind RCTs, in which volunteers with high levels of depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory ii (BDI-ii) > 14) completed a brief course of emotion recognition training (a novel form of CBM using faces) or sham training. In Study 1 (N = 36), participants completed a post-training emotion recognition task whilst undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate neural correlates of CBM. In Study 2 (N = 190), measures of mood were assessed post-training, and at 2-week and 6-week follow-up.
In both studies, CBM resulted in an initial change in emotion recognition bias, which (in Study 2) persisted for 6 weeks after the end of training. In Study 1, CBM resulted in increases neural activation to happy faces, with this effect driven by an increase in neural activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and bilateral amygdala. In Study 2, CBM did not lead to a reduction in depressive symptoms on the BDI-ii, or on related measures of mood, motivation and persistence, or depressive interpretation bias at either 2 or 6-week follow-ups.
CBM of emotion recognition has effects on neural activity that are similar in some respects to those induced by Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) administration (Study 1), but we find no evidence that this had any later effect on self-reported mood in an analogue sample of non-clinical volunteers with low mood (Study 2).
Since our last report on the voluntary Hungarian Twin Registry (HTR) in 2012, the number of pairs or multiplets included increased from 310 to 1044. Efforts to turn the registry into a population-based one are on the way. Nearly 128,000 twins living in Hungary (98,500 adults) will be mailed information on how to register on the new HTR website. Twins will be asked to invite their spouses and immediate family members. Meanwhile, strong cooperation through exchange programs has been developed with other foreign twin registries. Current research focuses on radiogenomics, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, gut microbiome as well as basic molecular research and yielded new awards and further publications.
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 combination of sensitivity and large sky coverage of the ALFALFA HI survey has enabled the detection of difficult to observe low mass galaxies in large numbers, including dwarf galaxies overlooked in optical surveys. Three different, but connected, studies of dwarf galaxies from the ALFALFA survey are of particular interest: SHIELD (Survey of HI in Extremely Low-mass Dwarfs), candidate gas-rich ultra-faint dwarf galaxies, and the (Almost) Dark population. SHIELD is a systematic multiwavelength study of all dwarf galaxies from ALFALFA with MHI < 107.2M⊙ and clear optical counterparts. Candidate gas-rich ultra-faint dwarf galaxies extend the dwarf galaxy population to even lower masses. These galaxies are identified as isolated HI clouds with no discernible optical counterpart but subsequent observations reveal that some are extremely faint, gas-dominated galaxies. Leo P, discovered first as an HI detection, and then found to be an actively star-forming galaxy, bridges the gap between these candidate galaxies and the SHIELD sample. The (Almost) Dark sample consists of galaxies whose optical counterparts are overlooked in current optical surveys but which are clear detections in ALFALFA. This sample includes field gas-rich ultra-diffuse galaxies. Coma P, with a peak surface brightness of only ∼26.4 mag arcsec−2 in g’, demonstrates the sort of extreme low surface brightness galaxy that can be discovered in an HI survey.
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.
Material and social environmental stressors affect mental health in
adolescence. Protective factors such as social support from family and
friends may help to buffer the effects of adversity.
The association of violence exposure and emotional disorders was examined
in Cape Town adolescents.
A total of 1034 Grade 8 high school students participated from seven
government co-educational schools in Cape Town, South Africa. Exposure to
violence in the past 12 months and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
symptoms were measured by the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire, depressive
and anxiety symptoms by the Short Moods and Feelings Questionnaire and
the Self-Rating Anxiety Scale.
Exposure to violence was associated with high scores on depressive (odds
ratio (OR)=6.23, 95% CI 4.2–9.2), anxiety (OR=5.40, 95% CI 2.4–12.4) and
PTSD symptoms (OR=8.93, 95% CI 2.9–27.2) and increased risk of self-harm
(OR=5.72, 95% CI 1.2–25.9) adjusting for gender and social support.
We found that high exposure to violence was associated with high levels
of emotional disorders in adolescents that was not buffered by social
support. There is an urgent need for interventions to reduce exposure to
violence in young people in this setting.
Catherine Burns and Adam Euerby used cognitive work analysis to help design a website intended to foster community of practice principles in order to improve networking. First, we need to appreciate the history of cognitive work analysis, and where the ideas about the work domain analysis come from. It's important to recognise that both cognitive work analysis and communities of practice have evidence behind their concepts, and that they are not merely theoretical frameworks that seem to work.
Cognitive work analysis comes from studies conducted by Rasmussen and colleagues at the Riso National Laboratory in Denmark in the early 2000s (Naikar, 2017). They were tasked with improving the safety of nuclear power plants in Denmark. Observations confirmed that the hardware was indeed reliable, but that, despite this, accidents could still happen. Human error appeared responsible, when workers were confronted with unfamiliar circumstances. However, the research indicated that had the workers known fully the state of the system, they could have formulated an appropriate response. Later research examined six professional technicians, problem-solving with different types of instruments, which each had a particular fault. Detailed analysis of the verbal protocols (think-aloud protocols) produced a coding scheme that revealed patterns in the reasoning used by the technicians. The technicians reasoned at different levels of abstraction (from the physical properties to the general functional purpose) and at different levels of decomposition (whole system through to a component). This formed what they termed the two-dimensional abstraction-decomposition space. Generally, the technicians started in the most abstract (purpose)/whole system corner and worked through to the opposite corner (physical form/component) – although the line of working could zig zag a little. These findings led to the first stage of cognitive work analysis modelling – the work domain analysis. This was developed by Vicente (2002) (among others) for design of interfaces that displayed three modes of cognitive reasoning: skill-based, rules-based and knowledge-based behaviour. The aim of systems designed through CWA is often to support workers in dealing with unexpected situations. Workers should be able to explore a number of ways of dealing with the situation while remaining within the boundaries of acceptable performance (Naikar, 2017).
Violators of cooperation norms may be informally punished by their peers. How such norm enforcement is judged by others can be regarded as a meta-norm (i.e., a second-order norm). We examined whether meta-norms about peer punishment vary across cultures by having students in eight countries judge animations in which an agent who over-harvested a common resource was punished either by a single peer or by the entire peer group. Whether the punishment was retributive or restorative varied between two studies, and findings were largely consistent across these two types of punishment. Across all countries, punishment was judged as more appropriate when implemented by the entire peer group than by an individual. Differences between countries were revealed in judgments of punishers vs. non-punishers. Specifically, appraisals of punishers were relatively negative in three Western countries and Japan, and more neutral in Pakistan, UAE, Russia, and China, consistent with the influence of individualism, power distance, and/or indulgence. Our studies constitute a first step in mapping how meta-norms vary around the globe, demonstrating both cultural universals and cultural differences.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
We question whether the increasingly popular, radical idea of turning half the Earth into a network of protected areas is either feasible or just. We argue that this Half-Earth plan would have widespread negative consequences for human populations and would not meet its conservation objectives. It offers no agenda for managing biodiversity within a human half of Earth. We call instead for alternative radical action that is both more effective and more equitable, focused directly on the main drivers of biodiversity loss by shifting the global economy from its current foundation in growth while simultaneously redressing inequality.
While some tools have been developed to estimate an individual's cognitive reserve (CR), no study has assessed the adequacy of the method used for assessing these CR proxy indicators. Therefore, we aimed to determine the most appropriate method to estimate CR by comparing two approaches: (1) the common assessment of CR proxies in the literature (e.g. years of education) and (2) the calculation of a comprehensive index based on most significant parameters used in the estimation of CR.
Data on CR proxies (i.e. education, occupation, and leisure activities) were obtained in a sample of 204 older adults. Regression analyses were used to develop the two indices of CR (i.e. ICR-standard and ICR-detailed) and to determine which index best represented the level of one's CR.
The ICR-standard was calculated using a combination of the three most common measures of reserve in the literature: number of schooling years, complexity of the primary occupation, and amount of current participation in stimulating activities. The ICR-detailed was calculated using the most significant parameters (established in initial analyses) of CR: highest level of education combined with the number of training courses, last occupation, and amount of current participation in social and intellectual activities. The comparison of both indices showed that higher levels of ICR-standard and ICR-detailed were associated with a greater minimization of the effects of age on cognition. However, the ICR-detailed was more strongly associated to this minimization than the ICR-standard, suggesting that the ICR-detailed best reflect one's CR.
This study is the first to show that it is of great importance to question methods measuring CR proxies in order to develop a clinical tool allowing a comprehensive and accurate estimation of CR.
The role of timing of retirement on cognitive functioning in old age is inconclusive so far. Therefore, the present study set out to investigate the association of timing of retirement with cognitive performance and its interplay with key correlates of cognitive reserve in a large sample of older adults.
Two thousand two hundred and sixty three older adults served as sample for the present study. Different psychometric tests (Trail Making Test part A (TMT A), Trail Making Test part B (TMT B), Mill Hill) were administered. In addition, individuals were interviewed on their retirement, occupation, educational attainment, and regarding 18 leisure activities that have been carried out after retirement.
Earlier retirement (compared to retirement at legal age) was significantly associated with better performance in the TMT A, the TMT B, and the Mill Hill vocabulary test. Moderation analyses showed that in individuals with a moderate number of leisure activities in old age, earlier retirement was related to better cognitive performance, but not in those with a relatively large number of leisure activities. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that entering leisure activities as additional predictor significantly increased explained variance in the cognitive measures over and above all other investigated markers of cognitive reserve (i.e. occupation and education).
Present data further corroborate the view that leisure activities even in old age may lead to further enrichment effects and thereby may be related to better cognitive functioning. The role of engaging in activities in the context of major life events such as retirement is discussed.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.