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Hurricanes can interrupt communication, exacerbate attrition, and disrupt participant engagement in research. We used text messaging and disaster preparedness protocols to re-establish communication, re-engage participants, and ensure retention in a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) self-test study.
Participants were given HIV home test kits to test themselves and/or their non-monogamous sexual partners before intercourse. A daily text message-based short message service computer-assisted self-interview (SMS-CASI) tool reminded them to report 3 variables: (1) anal sex without a condom, (2) knowledge of partners’ testing history, and (3) proof of partners’ testing history. A disaster preparedness protocol was put in place for hurricanes in Puerto Rico. We analyzed 6315 messages from participants (N = 12) active at the time of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Disaster preparedness narratives were assessed.
All participants were able to communicate sexual behavior and HIV testing via SMS-CASI within 30 days following María. Some participants (n = 5, 42%) also communicated questions. Re-engagement within 30 days after the hurricane was 100% (second week/89%, third week/100%). Participant re-engagement ranged from 0–16 days (average = 6.4 days). Retention was 100%.
Daily SMS-CASI and disaster preparedness protocols helped participant engagement and communication after 2 hurricanes. SMS-CASI responses indicated high participant re-engagement, retention, and well-being.
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).
The number of people growing older with severe mental illness (SMI) is rising, reflecting societal trends towards an ageing population. Evidence suggests that older people are less likely to seek help, be referred for and receive psychological therapy compared with younger people, but past research has focused on those with mild to moderate mental health needs.
This research aims to identify the specific barriers faced by older people with SMI.
We interviewed 53 participants (22 service users with SMI aged over 50 years, 11 carers of people with SMI, and 20 health care professionals) about their views and experiences of accessing therapy for SMI in later life.
Thematic analysis revealed five themes: organizational and resource issues; myths about therapy and attitudinal barriers; stigma; encouraging access to therapy; and meeting age-specific needs.
Barriers faced by older people with SMI are not only age-related, but also reflect specific issues associated with having a SMI over many years. Improving awareness of the benefits of psychological therapies is important not only for older people with SMI themselves, but also for their carers and staff who work with them.
5-HT4 receptor stimulation has pro-cognitive and antidepressant-like effects in animal experimental studies; however, this pharmacological approach has not yet been tested in humans. Here we used the 5-HT4 receptor partial agonist prucalopride to assess the translatability of these effects and characterise, for the first time, the consequences of 5-HT4 receptor activation on human cognition and emotion.
Forty one healthy volunteers were randomised, double-blind, to a single dose of prucalopride (1 mg) or placebo in a parallel group design. They completed a battery of cognitive tests measuring learning and memory, emotional processing and reward sensitivity.
Prucalopride increased recall of words in a verbal learning task, increased the accuracy of recall and recognition of words in an incidental emotional memory task and increased the probability of choosing a symbol associated with a high likelihood of reward or absence of loss in a probabilistic instrumental learning task. Thus acute prucalopride produced pro-cognitive effects in healthy volunteers across three separate tasks.
These findings are a translation of the memory enhancing effects of 5-HT4 receptor agonism seen in animal studies, and lend weight to the idea that the 5-HT4 receptor could be an innovative target for the treatment of cognitive deficits associated with depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Contrary to the effects reported in animal models, prucalopride did not reveal an antidepressant profile in human measures of emotional processing.
We investigated whether neurobehavioral markers of risk for emotion dysregulation were evident among newborns, as well as whether the identified markers were associated with prenatal exposure to maternal emotion dysregulation. Pregnant women (N = 162) reported on their emotion dysregulation prior to a laboratory assessment. The women were then invited to the laboratory to assess baseline respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and RSA in response to an infant cry. Newborns were assessed after birth via the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale. We identified two newborn neurobehavioral factors—arousal and attention—via exploratory factor analysis. Low arousal was characterized by less irritability, excitability, and motor agitation, while low attention was related to a lower threshold for auditory and visual stimulation, less sustained attention, and poorer visual tracking abilities. Pregnant women who reported higher levels of emotion dysregulation had newborns with low arousal levels and less attention. Larger decreases in maternal RSA in response to cry were also related to lower newborn arousal. We provide the first evidence that a woman's emotion dysregulation while pregnant is associated with risks for dysregulation in her newborn. Implications for intergenerational transmission of emotion dysregulation are discussed.
Mental illness is one of the leading causes of disability, with direct and indirect costs posing a significant financial burden. Previously, a large prospective economic utility study (n>13,000) showed that the GeneSight® test, a psychiatric pharmacogenomic decision support tool powered by CPGx® technology, reduced medication costs, increased adherence, andreduced polypharmacy for patients who had failed monotherapy for psychiatric disorders. The current study, which is a sub-analysis of this larger study, assessed cost savings associated with combinatorial pharmacogenomic testing in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). Medication costs were extracted using pharmacy claims data provided by Medco, a large pharmacy benefits manager, for patients with GAD (n=318) and MDD (n=459). Medication cost savings per member per year (PMPY) for 1 year following the test were compared between patients whose medication regimens were congruent with the test recommendations and those whose medication regimens were incongruent with these recommendations. When healthcare providers’ decisions were congruent with combinatorial pharmacogenomic testing, PMPY savings was $6,747 (p<0.004) for GAD patients and $3,738 (p<0.004) for MDD patients versus incongruent decisions within these disease states. Among the congruent group, GAD patients experienced greater savings in central nervous system (CNS) medications (2-fold) compared to MDD patients. Additionally, analysis of a subset of patients prescribed at least one benzodiazepine six months prior to testing (n=660) demonstrated a significant decrease in benzodiazepine drug counts (p<0.001) and refills (p<0.001) after testing. Using the GeneSight test as a treatment decision support tool for patients with GAD or MDD resulted in significant medication cost savings when HCPs made congruent decisions with the combinatorialpharmacogenomic results. Furthermore, use of the GeneSight test decreased the use of benzodiazepines.
Research was funded by Assurex Health, Inc.
Is Aboriginal† nutrition a priority for local government? A policy analysis
The present study aimed to explore how Australian local governments prioritise the health and well-being of Aboriginal populations and the extent to which nutrition is addressed by local government health policy.
In the state of Victoria, Australia, all seventy-nine local governments’ public health policy documents were retrieved. Inclusion of Aboriginal health and nutrition in policy documents was analysed using quantitative content analysis. Representation of Aboriginal nutrition ‘problems’ and ‘solutions’ was examined using qualitative framing analysis. The socio-ecological framework was used to classify the types of Aboriginal nutrition issues and strategies within policy documents.
Local governments’ public health policy documents (n 79).
A small proportion (14 %, n 11) of local governments addressed Aboriginal health and well-being in terms of nutrition. Where strategies aimed at nutrition existed, they mostly focused on individual factors rather than the broader macroenvironment.
A limited number of Victorian local governments address nutrition as a health issue for their Aboriginal populations in policy documents. Nutrition needs to be addressed as a community and social responsibility rather than merely an individual ‘behaviour’. Partnerships are required to ensure Aboriginal people lead government policy development.
St Andrews was of tremendous significance in medieval Scotland. Its importance remains readily apparent in the buildings which cluster the rocky promontory jutting out into the North Sea: the towers and walls of cathedral, castle and university provide reminders of the status and wealth of the city in the Middle Ages. As a centre of earthly and spiritual government, as the place of veneration forScotland's patron saint and as an ancient seat of learning, St Andrews was the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland. This volume provides the first full study of this special and multi-faceted centre throughout its golden age. The fourteen chapters use St Andrews as a focus for the discussion of multiple aspects of medieval life in Scotland. They examine church, spirituality, urban society andlearning in a specific context from the seventh to the sixteenth century, allowing for the consideration of St Andrews alongside other great religious and political centres of medieval Europe.
Michael Brown is Professor of Medieval Scottish History, University of St Andrews; Katie Stevenson is Keeper of Scottish History and Archaeology, National Museums Scotland and Senior Lecturer in Late Medieval History, University of St Andrews.
Contributors: Michael Brown, Ian Campbell, David Ditchburn, Elizabeth Ewan, Richard Fawcett, Derek Hall, Matthew Hammond, Julian Luxford, Roger Mason, Norman Reid, Bess Rhodes, Catherine Smith, Katie Stevenson, Simon Taylor, Tom Turpie.
New paediatric cardiology trainees are required to rapidly assimilate knowledge and gain clinical skills to which they have limited or no exposure during residency. The Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Boot Camp (PCBC) at Boston Children’s Hospital was designed to provide incoming fellows with an intensive exposure to congenital cardiac pathology and a broad overview of major areas of paediatric cardiology practice.
The PCBC curriculum was designed by core faculty in cardiac pathology, echocardiography, electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, exercise physiology, and cardiac intensive care. Individual faculty contributed learning objectives, which were refined by fellowship directors and used to build a programme of didactics, hands-on/simulation-based activities, and self-guided learning opportunities.
A total of 16 incoming fellows participated in the 4-week boot camp, with no concurrent clinical responsibilities, over 2 years. On the basis of pre- and post-PCBC surveys, 80% of trainees strongly agreed that they felt more prepared for clinical responsibilities, and a similar percentage felt that PCBC should be offered to future incoming fellows. Fellows showed significant increase in their confidence in all specific knowledge and skills related to the learning objectives. Fellows rated hands-on learning experiences and simulation-based exercises most highly.
We describe a novel 4-week-long boot camp designed to expose incoming paediatric cardiology fellows to the broad spectrum of knowledge and skills required for the practice of paediatric cardiology. The experience increased trainee confidence and sense of preparedness to begin fellowship-related responsibilities. Given that highly interactive activities were rated most highly, boot camps in paediatric cardiology should strongly emphasise these elements.
The Fellowship Program of the Department of Cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital seeks to train academically oriented leaders in clinical care and laboratory and clinical investigation of cardiovascular disease in the young. The core clinical fellowship involves 3 years in training, comprising 24 months of clinical rotations and 12 months of elective and research experience. Trainees have access to a vast array of research opportunities – clinical, basic, and translational. Clinical fellows interested in basic science may reverse the usual sequence and start their training in the laboratory, deferring clinical training for 1 or more years. An increasing number of clinical trainees apply to spend a fourth year as a senior fellow in one of the subspecialty areas of paediatric cardiology. From the founding of the Department to the present, we have maintained a fundamental and unwavering commitment to training and education in clinical care and research in basic science and clinical investigation, as well as to the training of outstanding young clinicians and investigators.