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Binge-eating disorder (BED) co-occurs with neurobehavioral alterations in the processing of disorder-relevant content such as visual food stimuli. Whether neurofeedback (NF) directly targeting them is suited for treatment remains unclear. This study sought to determine feasibility and estimate effects of individualized, functional near-infrared spectroscopy-based real-time NF (rtfNIRS-NF) and high-beta electroencephalography-based NF (EEG-NF), assuming superiority over waitlist (WL).
Single-center, assessor-blinded feasibility study with randomization to rtfNIRS-NF, EEG-NF, or WL and assessments at baseline (t0), postassessment (t1), and 6-month follow-up (t2). NF comprised 12 60-min food-specific rtfNIRS-NF or EEG-NF sessions over 8 weeks. Primary outcome was the binge-eating frequency at t1 assessed interview-based. Secondary outcomes included feasibility, eating disorder symptoms, mental and physical health, weight management-related behavior, executive functions, and brain activity at t1 and t2.
In 72 patients (intent-to-treat), the results showed feasibility of NF regarding recruitment, attrition, adherence, compliance, acceptance, and assessment completion. Binge eating improved at t1 by −8.0 episodes, without superiority of NF v. WL (−0.8 episodes, 95% CI −2.4 to 4.0), but with improved estimates in NF at t2 relative to t1. NF was better than WL for food craving, anxiety symptoms, and body mass index, but overall effects were mostly small. Brain activity changes were near zero.
The results show feasibility of food-specific rtfNIRS-NF and EEG-NF in BED, and no posttreatment differences v. WL, but possible continued improvement of binge eating. Confirmatory and mechanistic evidence is warranted in a double-blind randomized design with long-term follow-up, considering dose–response relationships and modes of delivery.
Reward processing has been proposed to underpin the atypical social feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, previous neuroimaging studies have yielded inconsistent results regarding the specificity of atypicalities for social reward processing in ASD.
Utilising a large sample, we aimed to assess reward processing in response to reward type (social, monetary) and reward phase (anticipation, delivery) in ASD.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging during social and monetary reward anticipation and delivery was performed in 212 individuals with ASD (7.6–30.6 years of age) and 181 typically developing participants (7.6–30.8 years of age).
Across social and monetary reward anticipation, whole-brain analyses showed hypoactivation of the right ventral striatum in participants with ASD compared with typically developing participants. Further, region of interest analysis across both reward types yielded ASD-related hypoactivation in both the left and right ventral striatum. Across delivery of social and monetary reward, hyperactivation of the ventral striatum in individuals with ASD did not survive correction for multiple comparisons. Dimensional analyses of autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) scores were not significant. In categorical analyses, post hoc comparisons showed that ASD effects were most pronounced in participants with ASD without co-occurring ADHD.
Our results do not support current theories linking atypical social interaction in ASD to specific alterations in social reward processing. Instead, they point towards a generalised hypoactivity of ventral striatum in ASD during anticipation of both social and monetary rewards. We suggest this indicates attenuated reward seeking in ASD independent of social content and that elevated ADHD symptoms may attenuate altered reward seeking in ASD.
The Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales (ANPS) were designed to provide researchers in the mental sciences with an inventory to assess primary emotional systems according to Pankseppian Affective Neuroscience Theory (ANT). The original ANPS, providing researchers with such a tool, was published in 2003. In the present brief communication, about 20 years later, we reflect upon some pressing matters regarding the further development of the ANPS. We touch upon problems related to disentangling traits and states of the primary emotional systems with the currently available versions of the ANPS and upon its psychometric properties and its length. We reflect also on problems such as the large overlap between the SADNESS and FEAR dimensions, the disentangling of PANIC and GRIEF in the context of SADNESS, and the absence of a LUST scale. Lastly, we want to encourage scientists with the present brief communication to engage in further biological validation of the ANPS.
Mortality remains a substantial problem after acute ischemic stroke, despite advances in acute stroke treatment over the past three decades. Mortality is particularly high among patients with Total Anterior Circulation Stroke (TACS), generally representing patients with middle cerebral artery occlusions. Notably however, these patients also stand to benefit most from new therapies including endovascular thrombectomy (EVT). In this study, we aimed to examine temporal trends in, and factors associated with, 30-day in-hospital mortality after TACS.
Information on all patients with community-onset TACS from 1994 through 2019 was extracted from a prospective acute stroke registry. Multivariate analysis was performed on the primary outcome of 30-day in-hospital mortality, as well as secondary functional outcomes.
We studied 1106 patients hospitalized for community-onset TACS, 456 (41%) of whom experienced 30-day in-hospital mortality. Over the 25 years of observation, 30-day in-hospital mortality rose and then fell. Increased odds of mortality was associated with age and stroke severity. Decreased odds of mortality was associated with alteplase therapy and EVT, as well as presentation to hospital more than 12 hours after stroke onset. Treatment with alteplase, EVT, or both was associated with higher odds of functional independence and discharge home, and shorter lengths of stay in acute care.
Patients receiving alteplase, EVT, or both had lower 30-day in-hospital mortality and better functional outcomes than those who were untreated. These observational data demonstrate the benefits of recanalization therapy in routine clinical practice.
Impairments in social and nonsocial cognition have been demonstrated in both patients suffering from bipolar disorder (BD) and their unaffected relatives and might therefore represent a heritable marker of risk. This study investigated the relevance of emotional intelligence (EI) as part of the emotion processing domain of social cognition in this regard.
A total of 54 outpatients suffering from BD, 54 unaffected siblings, and 80 control subjects were investigated using the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) and the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS). Analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) were performed with adjustment for the BACS composite score. The three groups were compared by one-way analysis of variance or chi-square test, depending on the variable type. As the three groups differed significantly in their level of education, additional ANCOVAs with adjustment for education were performed.
Patients achieved significantly lower levels of overall EI and overall nonsocial cognitive functioning compared to unaffected siblings and controls, whereas performance of the latter two groups was comparable in both domains.
Due to comparable levels of EI in unaffected siblings of patients suffering from BD and control subjects, EI assessed by means of the MSCEIT does not represent an endophenotype for BD.
Tuberculosis (TB) increasingly appears in a multidrug-resistant form (MDR-TB) in Europe, too. Treatment remains difficult due to various side effects of the multi-drug-regimens. Ciprofloxacin is widely used as one of the few TB-second-line drugs. We report on the course of a ciprofloxacin-induced acute psychosis in a patient with MDR(isoniazid, streptomycin)-TB which resolved after cessation of ciprofloxacin treatment and introduction of a novel oxazolidone. Careful treatment considerations particularly in patients with additional predisposing factors to neuropsychiatric symptoms are recommended in the potentially dangerous MDR-TB, thus creating an enormous therapeutic challenge.
Simultaneous PET/MR/EEG (Positron Emission Tomography – Magnetic Resonance – Electroencephalography), a new tool for the investigation of neuronal networks in the human brain, is presented here within the framework of the European Union Project TRIMAGE. The trimodal, cost-effective PET/MR/EEG imaging tool makes use of cutting edge technology both in PET and in MR fields. A novel type of magnet (1.5T, non-cryogenic) has been built together with a PET scanner that makes use of the most advanced photodetectors (i.e., SiPM matrices), scintillators matrices (LYSO) and digital electronics. The combined PET/MR/EEG system is dedicated to brain imaging and has an inner diameter of 260 mm and an axial Field-of-View of 160 mm.
It enables the acquisition and assessment of molecular metabolic information with high spatial and temporal resolution in a given brain simultaneously. The dopaminergic system and the glutamatergic system in schizophrenic patients are investigated via PET, the same physiological/pathophysiological conditions with regard to functional connectivity, via fMRI, and its electrophysiological signature via EEG. In addition to basic neuroscience questions addressing neurovascular-metabolic coupling, this new methodology lays the foundation for individual physiological and pathological fingerprints for a wide research field addressing healthy aging, gender effects, plasticity and different psychiatric and neurological diseases.
The preliminary performances of two components of the imaging tool (PET and MR) are discussed. Initial results of the search of possible candidates for suitable schizophrenia biomarkers are also presented as obtained with PET/MR systems available to the collaboration.
Although the efficacy of endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) for acute ischemic stroke caused by intracranial anterior circulation large vessel occlusion (LVO) is proven, demonstration of local effectiveness is critical for health system planning and resource allocation because of the complexity and cost of this treatment.
Using our prospective registry, we identified all patients who underwent EVT for out-of-hospital LVO stroke from February 1, 2013 through January 31, 2017 (n = 44), and matched them 1:1 in a hierarchical fashion with control patients not treated with EVT based on age (±5 years), prehospital functional status, stroke syndrome, severity, and thrombolysis administration. Demographics, in-hospital mortality, discharge disposition from acute care, length of hospitalization, and functional status at discharge from acute care and at follow-up were compared between cases and controls.
For EVT-treated patients (median age 66, 50% women), the median onset-to-recanalization interval was 247 min, and successful recanalization was achieved in 30/44 (91%). Alteplase was administered in 75% of cases and 57% of controls (p = 0.07). In-hospital mortality was 11% among the cases and 36% in the control group (p = 0.006); this survival benefit persisted during follow-up (p = 0.014). More EVT patients were discharged home from acute care (50% vs. 18%, p = 0.002). Among survivors, there were nonsignificant trends in favor of EVT for median length of hospitalization (14 vs. 41 days, p = 0.11) and functional independence at follow-up (51% vs. 32%, p = 0.079).
EVT improved survival and decreased disability. This demonstration of single-center effectiveness may help facilitate expansion of EVT services in similar health-care jurisdictions.
Endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) is efficacious for ischemic stroke caused by proximal intracranial large-vessel occlusion involving the anterior cerebral circulation. However, evidence of its cost-effectiveness, especially in a real-world setting, is limited. We assessed whether EVT ± tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) was cost-effective when compared with standard care ± tPA at our center.
We identified patients treated with EVT ± tPA after the Endovascular treatment for Small Core and Anterior circulation Proximal occlusion with Emphasis on minimizing computed tomography to recanalization times trial from our prospective stroke registry from February 1, 2013 to January 31, 2017. Patients admitted before February 2013 and treated with standard care ± tPA constitute the controls. The sample size was 88. Cost-effectiveness was assessed using the net monetary benefit (NMB). Differences in average costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were estimated using the augmented inverse probability weighted estimator. We accounted for sampling and methodological uncertainty in sensitivity analyses.
Patients treated with EVT ± tPA had a net gain of 2.89 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.93–4.99] QALYs at an additional cost of $22,200 (95% CI: −28,902–78,244) per patient compared with the standard care ± tPA group. The NMB was $122,300 (95% CI: −4777–253,133) with a 0.85 probability of being cost-effective. The expected savings to the healthcare system would amount to $321,334 per year.
EVT ± tPA had higher costs and higher QALYs compared with the control, and is likely to be cost-effective at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $50,000 per QALY.
Extinction is the complete loss of a species, but the accuracy of that status depends on the overall information about the species. Dracaena umbraculifera was described in 1797 from a cultivated plant attributed to Mauritius, but repeated surveys failed to relocate it and it was categorized as Extinct on the IUCN Red List. However, several individuals labelled as D. umbraculifera grow in botanical gardens, suggesting that the species’ IUCN status may be inaccurate. The goal of this study was to understand (1) where D. umbraculifera originated, (2) which species are its close relatives, (3) whether it is extinct, and (4) the identity of the botanical garden accessions and whether they have conservation value. We sequenced a cpDNA region of Dracaena from Mauritius, botanical garden accessions labelled as D. umbraculifera, and individuals confirmed to be D. umbraculifera based on morphology, one of which is a living plant in a private garden. We included GenBank accessions of Dracaena from Madagascar and other locations and reconstructed the phylogeny using Bayesian and parsimony approaches. Phylogenies indicated that D. umbraculifera is more closely related to Dracaena reflexa from Madagascar than to Mauritian Dracaena. As anecdotal information indicated that the living D. umbraculifera originated from Madagascar, we conducted field expeditions there and located five wild populations; the species’ IUCN status should therefore be Critically Endangered because < 50 wild individuals remain. Although the identity of many botanical garden samples remains unresolved, this study highlights the importance of living collections for facilitating new discoveries and the importance of documenting and conserving the flora of Madagascar.
The objective of this paper is to present a qualitative study of introducing substance misuse screening using the Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model, in primary care in Abu Dhabi.
Substance misuse in the UAE is an increasing problem. However religious beliefs and fear of legal consequences have prevented this topic from being openly discussed, risk levels identified through screening and treatment options offered.
A controlled trial was undertaken which included a qualitative process study which is reported here. Qualitative interviews with primary care physicians from two intervention clinics were undertaken to explore their views, experiences and attitudes towards substance misuse management in their clinic. Physicians were trained on SBIRT and on the research project process and documentation. At completion of the project, 10 months after the training, physicians (n=17) were invited to participate in an interview to explore their experiences of training and implementation of SBIRT. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Inductive thematic coding was applied.
In total, 11 physicians were interviewed and three main themes emerged: (1) The SBIRT screening project, (2) cultural issues and (3) patient follow-up. Findings revealed a general willingness toward the concept of screening and delivering brief interventions in primary care although increased workload and uncertainties about remuneration for the service may be a barrier to future implementation. There was a perceived problem of substance misuse that was not currently being met and a strong perception that patients were not willing to reveal substance use due cultural barriers and fear of police involvement. In conclusion this qualitative process evaluation provided essential insight into implementing SBIRT in the Middle East. In conclusion, despite physician willingness and a clinical need for a substance misuse care pathway, the reluctance among patients to admit to substance use in this culture needs to be addressed to enable successful implementation.
High-dose vitamin A supplementation (VAS) may affect mortality to infectious diseases in a sex-differential manner. Here, we analysed the long-term immunological effects of neonatal vitamin A supplementation (NVAS) in 247 children, who had been randomly allocated to 50 000 or 25 000 IU vitamin A (15mg and 7·5mg retinol equivalents, respectively) or placebo at birth. At 4–6 months of age, we assessed bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG) scarification, and we analysed in vitro responses of TNF-α, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13 and IFN-γ in whole blood stimulations to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), purified protein derivative (PPD), tetanus toxoid and lipopolysaccharide. There were no differences between the two doses of NVAS, and thus they were analysed combined as NVAS (any dose) v. placebo. All analyses were performed unstratified and by sex. NVAS increased the chance of having a scar after BCG vaccination in females (NVAS v. placebo: 96 v. 71 %, proportion ratio: 1·24; 95 % CI 1·09, 1·42), but not in males (Pfor interaction=0·012). NVAS was associated with significant sex-differential effects on the pro- to anti-inflammatory cytokine ratios (TNF-α:IL-10) to PPD, tetanus toxoid and medium alone, which were increased in females but decreased in males. In addition, IL-17 responses tended to be increased in NVAS v. placebo recipients in males but not in females, significantly so for the PHA stimulation. The study corroborates sex-differential effects of VAS on the immune system, emphasising the importance of analysing VAS effects by sex.
This project evaluated the effectiveness of screening brief intervention and referral for treatment (SBIRT) in primary care in Abu Dhabi to manage patients with problematic substance use. This study aimed to determine whether: (i) training primary care physicians on the SBIRT model increased the identification of patients using substances at a harmful, hazardous or dependent level; (ii) training improved physicians’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs in self-efficacy in managing substance use.
Substance use is increasing in the United Arab Emirates yet there has been no formal primary care intervention. SBIRT was considered an appropriate model given its endorsement by the WHO.
A controlled trial (two intervention and two matched control clinics) was undertaken. Intervention physicians (n=17) were trained in SBIRT. Physicians’ attitudes were measured before and after training and eight months after implementation. Target recruitment was 900 patients. Inclusion criteria were: consenting UAE national, ⩾18 years, using the ‘walk-in’ primary care clinic. Patient data was collected by physician-administered questionnaire. Prevalence of drug use was measured through electronic patient records.
A total of 906 patients were screened, aged 18–82 years and 496 (55%) were female. Of these, 5.7% reported use of amphetamine, 3.9% alcohol, 3.3%, sedatives, 1.7% opioids and 1.1% cannabis. In all, 21 people had a moderate/high ASSIST score and received a brief intervention, but did not attend follow-up; three high-risk people were referred for specialist treatment. Physicians’ attitudes towards patients with problematic substance use and providing treatment improved after training, but returned to pre-training levels after eight months. Including the 21 individuals identified from intervention screening, the prevalence of substance use increased to 0.208% (95% CI 0.154–0.274), significantly higher than in control clinics (P<0.001).
In conclusion, physicians were generally positive towards SBIRT and SBIRT increased recorded drug related conditions at a practice level. However, poor patient attendance at follow-up requires investigation.
Many sustainability assessment frameworks have been developed in recent years, but translating them into practical tools to guide decision making remains challenging. By engaging coffee stakeholders in Uganda, we demonstrate a process of translating the widely-accepted framework for Sustainability Assessments of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA), developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), to smallholder production systems. Stakeholders prioritized the sustainability themes in terms of relevance and feasibility, and subsequently identified relevant sub-themes. We find that the structure and scope of some generally accepted themes need appropriate modifications in order to address the social and structural heterogeneity of smallholder production systems. Although importance and feasibility rankings significantly vary within and between stakeholder groups, governance and economic themes are commonly perceived as very important though equally the least feasible for smallholders. Thus, the inclusion of the ‘farmer-group’ structure as part of the sustainability assessment criteria is perceived as necessary especially toward achieving governance-related goals. These findings emphasize the need of engaging stakeholders in defining locally adapted sustainability assessment criteria.
As WHO recommends vitamin A supplementation (VAS) at vaccination contacts after age 6 months, many children receive VAS together with measles vaccine (MV). We aimed to investigate the immunological effect of VAS given with MV. Within a randomised placebo-controlled trial investigating the effect on overall mortality of providing VAS with vaccines in Guinea-Bissau, we conducted an immunological sub-study of VAS v. placebo with MV, analysing leucocyte counts, whole blood in vitro cytokine production, vitamin A status and concentration of C-reactive protein (CRP). VAS compared with placebo was associated with an increased frequency of CRP≥5 mg/l (28 v. 12 %; P=0·005). Six weeks after supplementation, VAS had significant sex-differential effects on leucocyte, lymphocyte, monocyte and basophil cell counts, decreasing them in males but increasing them in females. Mainly in females, the effect of VAS on cytokine responses differed by previous VAS: in previous VAS recipients, VAS increased the pro-inflammatory and T helper cell type 1 (Th1) cytokine responses, whereas VAS decreased these responses in previously unsupplemented children. In previous VAS recipients, VAS was associated with increased IFN-γ responses to phytohaemagglutinin in females (geometric mean ratio (GMR): 3·97; 95 % CI 1·44, 10·90) but not in males (GMR 0·44; 95 % CI 0·14, 1·42); the opposite was observed in previously unsupplemented children. Our results corroborate that VAS provided with MV has immunological effects, which may depend on sex and previous VAS. VAS may increase the number of leucocytes, but also repress both the innate and lymphocyte-derived cytokine responses in females, whereas this repression may be opposite if the females have previously received VAS.