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Kefir consumption has been demonstrated to improve lipid and cholesterol metabolism; however, our previous study identified that benefits vary between different commercial and traditional kefir. Here, we investigate the ability of pitched culture kefir, that is, kefir produced by a small number of specific strains, to recapitulate health benefits of a traditional kefir, in a diet-induced obesity mouse model, and examine how microbial composition of kefir impacts these benefits. Eight-week-old female C57BL/6 mice were fed a high-fat diet (40 % energy from fat) supplemented with one of five kefir varieties (traditional, pitched, pitched with no Lactobacillus, pitched with no yeast and commercial control) at 2 ml in 20 g of food for 8 weeks prior to analysis of plasma and liver lipid profiles, and liver gene expression profiles related to lipid metabolism. Both traditional and pitched kefir lowered plasma cholesterol by about 35 % (P = 0·0005) and liver TAG by about 55 % (P = 0·0001) when compared with commercial kefir despite no difference in body weight. Furthermore, pitched kefir produced without either yeast or Lactobacillus did not lower cholesterol. The traditional and pitched kefir with the full complement of microbes were able to impart corresponding decreases in the expression of the cholesterol and lipid metabolism genes encoding 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, PPARγ and CD36 in the liver. These results demonstrate that traditional kefir organisms can successfully be utilised in a commercial process, while highlighting the importance of microbial interactions during fermentation in the ability of fermented foods to benefit host health.
Youth mental health is a rapidly developing field with a focus on prevention, early identification, treatment innovation and service development. In this perspective piece, we discuss the effects of COVID-19 on young people’s mental health. The psychosocial effects of COVID-19 disproportionately affect young people. Both immediate and longer-term factors through which young people are affected include social isolation, changes to the delivery of therapeutic services and almost complete loss of all structured occupations (school, work and training) within this population group. Longer-term mechanisms include the effects of the predicted recession on young people’s mental health. Opportunities within this crisis exist for service providers to scale up telehealth and digital services that may benefit service provision for young people’s mental health in the future.
Referrals for advice regarding treatment of alcohol related disorders form a large component of the liaison psychiatry workload. This study aims to demonstrate whether the addition of an alcohol liaison nurse specialist would decrease the number of patients needed to be seen by psychiatrists.
In-patient ward referrals were examined over 2 nine month periods. The first nine month period examined all alcohol related referrals when there was no liaison alcohol nurse. In the second period, the nurse was present. Data was analysed using SPSSv15.
A total of 243 referrals were examined over the 18 month period. The number of alcohol related referrals to psychiatrists dropped from 145 to 97 after the arrival of the alcohol nurse. This represented a 33% drop in the number of referrals. The alcohol nurse saw a total of 175 referrals. The psychiatrists saw a higher percentage of delirium tremens, 13.3% increased to 27.7%, p value .009. Also of note, the percentage of female referrals increased from 28.9% of all referrals to 44.3% of all referrals after the arrival of the alcohol nurse p=.027.
The addition of an alcohol nurse specialist led to a substantial drop in the number of alcohol related referrals to psychiatrists allowing additional time to be devoted to other aspects of the liaison psychiatry workload. More patients with delirium tremens and more women are being seen since the introduction of the alcohol nurse. Medical teams have a lower threshold of referral and more hazardous and harmful drinking was identified. Earlier intervention can help decrease longer term morbidity from alcohol.
Several factors may predict adherence with adherence with follow-up appointment for patients seen in the emergency department by liaison psychiatric teams. Awareness of these factors would allow for interventions targeted at vulnerable groups.
To examine the factors which could predict adherence with psychiatric follow-up appointments for patients assessed in the ED by the liaison psychiatric team.
The records of all patients assessed over a three month period by the liaison psychiatric team in the emergency department of Beaumont Hospital who were then referred for follow-up were examined for relevant demographic and clinical variables. Phone contact was then made with the centres to which patients had been referred to confirm the appointments made and if the patients had attended follow-up appointments. The data was analysed with SPSS (version 17).
Overall, only 55.9% of the patients were found to have attended their follow-up appointments with lrsquo;known to psychiatric services’ being the only statistically significant predictor of adherence. Patients’ who were single, separated, divorced or widowed and those who had consumed alcohol before an act of deliberate self-ham were more likely to attend follow-up appointments compared with those who were either married or cohabiting and those who did not consumed alcohol respectively. However these were not statistically significant when controlling for other predictors.
Patients who are not known to psychiatric services prior to assessment in the emergency department may need a more proactive outreach if compliance with psychiatric follow-up appointments is to be improved.
Schizophrenia is associated with altered neural development. We assessed neurological soft signs (NSS) and dermatoglyphic anomalies (total a–b ridge count (TABRC) and total finger ridge count) in 15 pairs of twins concordant and discordant for schizophrenia. Within-pair differences in both NSS and TABRC scores were significantly greater in discordant compared to concordant monozygotic pairs. There was no significant difference in NSS and TABRC scores between subjects with schizophrenia and their co-twins without the illness. However, monozygotic discordant twins with schizophrenia had higher ABRCs on their right hands compared to their co-twins without the illness. These findings suggest that an unidentified environmental event acting between weeks 6 and 15 of gestation affects the development of monozygotic twins who go on to develop schizophrenia but does not have a corresponding effect on their co-twins who do not develop the illness. The effect of such an event on dermatoglyphic profiles appears lateralised to the right hand in affected twins.
There are high rates of psychiatric morbidity associated with refractory epilepsy. It is unclear whether seizure frequency or comorbid psychiatric illness impacts more upon patients’ quality of life in epilepsy. The objective of this study was to establish which of these two factors impacted more upon patients.
Patients with medically refractory epilepsy who were admitted to the National Neurological Centre in Beaumont Hospital were recruited to the study. Structural Clinical Interview for DSM IV (Axis I) (SCID I) and SCID II (Axis II) were the objective measures and HADS, and QOLIE-89 were the subjective measures utilized.
A total of 138 patients had SCIDs conducted over the four year study. 75 patients (54.4%) had an Axis I disorder. Of these 30 patients (21.7%) had a mood disorder, 18 patients (13%) had an anxiety disorder and 49 patients (35.5%) were diagnosed with a psychotic disorder. There was no relationship between patient seizure frequency and HADS (p=0.94) or QOLIE-89 (p=0.93) scores. Patients having a high number of seizures were not more likely to have a SCID Axis I diagnosis than patients with a low number of seizures (p=0.246). Patients with a mood disorder were more likely to have a lower QOLIE-89 score than patients without a mood disorder (p=0.0001).
Patients with medically refractory epilepsy have high rates of psychopathology. Seizure frequency is not correlated with the presence, severity of psychiatric symptoms or quality of life. The presence of a psychiatric disorder and its severity is strongly correlated with quality of life.
During pregnancy, changes occur to influence the maternal gut microbiome, and potentially the fetal microbiome. Diet has been shown to impact the gut microbiome. Little research has been conducted examining diet during pregnancy with respect to the gut microbiome. To meet inclusion criteria, dietary analyses must have been conducted as part of the primary aim. The primary outcome was the composition of the gut microbiome (infant or maternal), as assessed using culture-independent sequencing techniques. This review identified seven studies for inclusion, five examining the maternal gut microbiome and two examining the fetal gut microbiome. Microbial data were attained through analysis of stool samples by 16S rRNA gene-based microbiota assessment. Studies found an association between the maternal diet and gut microbiome. High-fat diets (% fat of total energy), fat-soluble vitamins (mg/day) and fibre (g/day) were the most significant nutrients associated with the gut microbiota composition of both neonates and mothers. High-fat diets were significantly associated with a reduction in microbial diversity. High-fat diets may reduce microbial diversity, while fibre intake may be positively associated with microbial diversity. The results of this review must be interpreted with caution. The number of studies was low, and the risk of observational bias and heterogeneity across the studies must be considered. However, these results show promise for dietary intervention and microbial manipulation in order to favour an increase of health-associated taxa in the gut of the mother and her offspring.
In the present study, we aimed to compare anthropometric indicators as predictors of mortality in a community-based setting.
We conducted a population-based longitudinal study nested in a cluster-randomized trial. We assessed weight, height and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) on children 12 months after the trial began and used the trial’s annual census and monitoring visits to assess mortality over 2 years.
Children aged 6–60 months during the study.
Of 1023 children included in the study at baseline, height-for-age Z-score, weight-for-age Z-score, weight-for-height Z-score and MUAC classified 777 (76·0 %), 630 (61·6 %), 131 (12·9 %) and eighty (7·8 %) children as moderately to severely malnourished, respectively. Over the 2-year study period, fifty-eight children (5·7 %) died. MUAC had the greatest AUC (0·68, 95 % CI 0·61, 0·75) and had the strongest association with mortality in this sample (hazard ratio = 2·21, 95 % CI 1·26, 3·89, P = 0·006).
MUAC appears to be a better predictor of mortality than other anthropometric indicators in this community-based, high-malnutrition setting in Niger.
We examined the epidemiology of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) between epidemiological year (EY) 1996/1997 and EY2015/2016. Over the 20 EYs, 3707 cases were reported with annual incidence rates per 100 000 peaking at 11.6 in EY1999/2000, decreasing significantly to 1.5 in EY2015/2016. The highest disease burden was in infants and children <5, whereas adults aged ⩾65 years experienced the highest case fatality ratio (CFR) of 15.7% but over the study period the median annual CFR remained low (4.4%). Meningococcal serogroup B (menB) dominated (78%), followed by menC (17%), menW (1%) and menY (1%). The incidence of menC IMD declined significantly in all age groups after menC vaccine introduction in 2000. MenB incidence also declined over the 20 EYs with decreasing trends in all age groups under 65, including an almost 50% decrease in infants over the final four EYs. IMD incidence in the ROI has declined, partly attributable to menC vaccination success, coupled with a spontaneous decline in menB. However, recent gradual increases in non-menB IMD and the introduction of vaccines targeting menB demand continued detailed surveillance to accurately monitor trends and to assess vaccine impact.
Recently there has been a considerable rise in the frequency of metabolic diseases, such as obesity, due to changes in lifestyle and resultant imbalances between energy intake and expenditure. Whey proteins are considered as potentially important components of a dietary solution to the obesity problem. However, the roles of individual whey proteins in energy balance remain poorly understood. This study investigated the effects of a high-fat diet (HFD) containing α-lactalbumin (LAB), a specific whey protein, or the non-whey protein casein (CAS), on energy balance, nutrient transporters expression and enteric microbial populations. C57BL/6J mice (n 8) were given an HFD containing either 20 % CAS or LAB as protein sources or a low-fat diet containing CAS for 10 weeks. HFD-LAB-fed mice showed a significant increase in cumulative energy intake (P=0·043), without differences in body weight, energy expenditure, locomotor activity, RER or subcutaneous and epididymal white adipose tissue weight. HFD-LAB intake led to a decrease in the expression of glut2 in the ileum (P=0·05) and in the fatty acid transporter cd36 (P<0·001) in both ileum and jejunum. This suggests a reduction in absorption efficiency within the small intestine in the HFD-LAB group. DNA from faecal samples was used for 16S rRNA-based assessment of intestinal microbiota populations; the genera Lactobacillus, Parabacteroides and Bifidobacterium were present in significantly higher proportions in the HFD-LAB group. These data indicate a possible functional relationship between gut microbiota, intestinal nutrient transporters and energy balance, with no impact on weight gain.
Migrant youths endure many challenges. Such challenges can be stressful and lead to psychological difficulties. We investigated the relationship between migration, psychopathology and stressful events in children and adolescents. We hypothesised that migrant youths would show higher levels of psychopathology and more stressful life events than non-migrant youths.
Using the Child cohort (Cohort ‘98) of the ‘Growing up in Ireland’ study we investigated psychopathology, as measured by the Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) at age 9 and 13 and stressful life events in migrant and non-migrant youths.
There was no significant difference between the proportion of migrant and non-migrant youths reporting psychopathology in childhood (p>0.05) or adolescence (p>0.05). Analysis of the SDQ subscales revealed that a significantly greater proportion of migrant youths had hyperactivity problems in childhood (p = 0.04) but a greater proportion of non-migrant youths had emotional problems in early adolescence (p = 0.04). We found that migrant youths experienced significantly more stressful life events than their non-migrant counterparts (p<0.01), however, once ‘Moving house/country‘ was removed as a stressor, there was no difference between the groups (p>0.27).
Contrary to our hypothesis, we observed that there were few differences between migrant and non-migrant youths in the levels of psychopathology. Migrant youths experienced a greater number of stressful life events, however, this was attributable to stressors relating to moving. An increased understanding of the factors promoting resilience, as demonstrated by the migrant youths, could aid health professionals and policy makers to effectively tailor interventions for mental health promotion.
Research into the gut microbiota of human infants is necessary in order to better understand how inter-species interactions and ecological succession shape the diversity of the gut microbiota, and in turn, how the specific composition of the gut microbiota impacts on host health both during infancy and in later years. Blastocystis is a ubiquitous intestinal protist that has been linked to a number of intestinal and extra-intestinal diseases. However, emerging data show that asymptomatic carriage is common and that Blastocystis is prevalent in the healthy adult gut microbiota. Nonetheless, little is known about the prevalence and diversity of this microorganism in the healthy infant gut, including when and how individuals become colonized by Blastocystis. Here, we surveyed the prevalence and diversity of Blastocystis in an infant population (n = 59) from an industrialized country (Ireland) using Blastocystis-specific primers at three or more time-points up to 24 months old. Only three infants were positive for Blastocystis (prevalence = 5%) and this was only noted for samples collected at month 24. This rate is comparatively low relative to previously reported prevalence rates in the contemporaneous adult population. These data suggest that infants in Westernized countries that are successfully colonized by Blastocystis most likely acquire this microorganism via horizontal transfer.
The 7 and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) have reduced the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in children in many countries. The objective of this work was to assess the impact of PCVs and potential herd-protection in older adults in Ireland. IPD notification and typing data from adults ⩾65 years of age from July 2007 to June 2016 was assessed using national surveillance data. There was a 94% reduction in PCV7 serotypes from 2007–2008 to 2015–2016, incidence rate ratio (IRR 0·05, P < 0·0001). However, there was no decline in the additional PCV13 (PCV13-7) serotypes over the same period (IRR 0·90) nor in comparison with the pre-PCV13 period 2009–2010 (IRR 0·92). The incidence of serotypes in the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine only (PPV23-PCV13) and non-vaccine types (NVTs) increased significantly (IRR 2·17, P = 0·0002 and IRR 3·43, P = 0·0001 respectively). Consequently, the overall IPD incidence rate in adults has remained relatively unchanged (from 28·66/100 000 to 28·88/100 000, IRR 1·01, P = 0·9477). Serotype 19A and NVTs were mainly responsible for penicillin resistance in recent years. The decline of PCV7 serotypes indicate that the introduction of PCV7 resulted in herd-protection for adults. However, increases in PPV23-PCV13 and NVTs suggest that changes in vaccination strategy amongst older adults are needed to build on the success of PCVs in children.
To examine the delivery and assessment of psychiatry at undergraduate level in the six medical schools in the Republic of Ireland offering a medical degree programme.
A narrative description of the delivery and assessment of psychiatry at undergraduate level by collaborative senior faculty members from all six universities in Ireland.
Psychiatry is integrated to varying degrees across all medical schools. Clinical experience in general adult psychiatry and sub-specialities is provided by each medical school; however, the duration of clinical attachment varies, and the provision of some sub-specialities (i.e. forensic psychiatry) is dependent on locally available resources. Five medical schools provide ‘live’ large group teaching sessions (lectures), and all medical schools provide an array of small group teaching sessions. Continuous assessment encompasses 10–35% of the total assessment marks, depending on the medical school. Only one medical school does not provide a clinical examination in the form of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination with viva examinations occurring at three medical schools.
Many similarities exist in relation to the delivery of psychiatry at undergraduate level in Ireland. Significant variability exists in relation to assessment with differences in continuous assessment, written and clinical exams and the use of vivas noted. The use of e-learning platforms has increased significantly in recent years, with their role envisaged to include cross-disciplinary teaching sessions and analysis of examinations and individual components within examinations which will help refine future examinations and enable greater sharing of resources between medical schools.
Increasing evidence suggests that the source of dietary protein can have an impact on weight gain and fat mass during high-fat feeding in both humans and rodents. The present study examined whether dietary bovine serum albumin (BSA) as the dominant source of protein alters energy balance and adiposity associated with high-fat feeding. C57/BL6J mice were given a diet with 10 % of energy from fat and 20 % of energy from casein or a diet with 45 % of energy from fat and either 20 % of energy from casein (HFD) or BSA (HFD+BSA) for 13 weeks. The HFD+BSA diet did not significantly alter daily energy expenditure, locomotor activity and RER, but did increase cumulative energy intake and percentage of lean mass while reducing feed efficiency and percentage of fat mass when compared with the HFD (P< 0·05). In subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), the HFD+BSA diet increased the mRNA levels of PPARα (PPARA), carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1b (CPT1b) and uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3), but reduced the mRNA level of leptin when compared with the HFD (P< 0·05). The SAT mRNA levels of PPARA, CPT1b and UCP3 were negatively correlated (P< 0·05) with SAT mass, which was reduced in HFD+BSA mice compared with HFD controls (P< 0·01). No differences in epididymal fat mass existed between the groups. The HFD+BSA diet normalised plasma leptin and corticosterone levels compared with the HFD (P< 0·05). While differences in leptin levels were associated with the percentage of fat mass (P< 0·01), changes in corticosterone concentrations were independent of the percentage of fat mass (P< 0·05). The data suggest that the HFD+BSA diet influences plasma leptin levels via SAT mass reduction where mRNA levels of genes linked to β-oxidation were increased, whereas differences in plasma corticosterone levels were not related to fat mass reduction.
Individuals identified as at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis are at risk of poor functional outcome regardless of development of psychotic disorder. Studies examining longitudinal predictors of poor functioning have tended to be small and report only medium-term follow-up data. We sought to examine clinical predictors of functional outcome in a long-term longitudinal study.
Participants were 268 (152 females, 116 males) individuals identified as UHR 2–14 years previously. A range of clinical and sociodemographic variables were assessed at baseline. Functioning at follow-up was assessed using the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS).
Baseline negative symptoms, impaired emotional functioning, disorders of thought content, low functioning, past substance use disorder and history of childhood maltreatment predicted poor functioning at follow-up in univariate analyses. Only childhood maltreatment remained significant in the multivariate analysis (p < 0.001). Transition to psychosis was also significantly associated with poor functioning at long-term follow-up [mean SOFAS score 59.12 (s.d. = 18.54) in the transitioned group compared to 70.89 (s.d. = 14.00) in the non-transitioned group, p < 0.001]. Childhood maltreatment was a significant predictor of poor functioning in both the transitioned and non-transitioned groups.
Childhood maltreatment and transition to psychotic disorder independently predicted poor long-term functioning. This suggests that it is important to assess history of childhood maltreatment in clinical management of UHR individuals. The finding that transition to psychosis predicts poor long-term functioning strengthens the evidence that the UHR criteria detect a subgroup at risk for schizophrenia.
The main aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of dietary trans-10, cis-12-conjugated linoleic acid (t10c12-CLA) on intestinal microbiota composition and SCFA production. C57BL/6 mice (n 8 per group) were fed a standard diet either supplemented with t10c12-CLA (0·5 %, w/w) (intervention) or with no supplementation (control), daily for 8 weeks. Metabolic markers (serum glucose, leptin, insulin and TAG, and liver TAG) were assessed by ELISA commercial kits, tissue long-chain fatty acids and caecal SCFA by GC, and microbial composition by 16S rRNA pyrosequencing. Dietary t10c12-CLA significantly decreased visceral fat mass (P< 0·001), but did not affect body weight (intervention), when compared with no supplementation (control). Additionally, lipid mass and composition were affected by t10c12-CLA intake. Caecal acetate, propionate and isobutyrate concentrations were higher (P< 0·05) in the t10c12-CLA-supplemented group than in the control group. The analysis of the microbiota composition following 8 weeks of t10c12-CLA supplementation revealed lower proportions of Firmicutes (P= 0·003) and higher proportions of Bacteroidetes (P= 0·027) compared with no supplementation. Furthermore, t10c12-CLA supplementation for 8 weeks significantly altered the gut microbiota composition, harbouring higher proportions of Bacteroidetes, including Porphyromonadaceae bacteria previously linked with negative effects on lipid metabolism and induction of hepatic steatosis. These results indicate that the mechanism of dietary t10c12-CLA on lipid metabolism in mice may be, at least, partially mediated by alterations in gut microbiota composition and functionality.
1) to assess compliance with the Data Protection Acts (DPA) by a Department of Psychiatry in a general hospital, 2) to implement measures that are likely to maximize compliance with the hospital data protection policy, 3) to close the audit cycle by assessing the impact of such measures on departmental compliance with the DPA over five months period.
An individual, anonymised staff questionnaire on data collection practices, procedure of disclosure of data to third parties and previous training on DPA was used to collect information from the department staff. The premises were inspected at different times over a week period using structured checklist. Default points were recorded during each inspection. Post-audit interventions included a mixture of educational interventions and practical solutions. A re-audited took place five months later using the same method.
The baseline audit demonstrated significant lack of compliance with the DPA among staff members and lack of staff training on the DPA. Following the interventions, staff awareness of the requirements of the act rose which in turn lead to better adherence to recommend practices in data handling and to mean default points dropped significantly. Management of manual files appears to constitute the biggest problem in this audit. Daytime breaks were found to pose higher risk to stored data compared with before and after working hours.
A combination of educational and practical interventions including training of staff on the DPA results in overall improvement in compliance and reduction in default points. However, management of manual (physical) data proves to be more difficult and hence will need more input.
Different dietary fat and energy subtypes have an impact on both the metabolic health and the intestinal microbiota population of the host. The present study assessed the impact of dietary fat quality, with a focus on dietary fatty acid compositions of varying saturation, on the metabolic health status and the intestinal microbiota composition of the host. C57BL/6J mice (n 9–10 mice per group) were fed high-fat (HF) diets containing either (1) palm oil, (2) olive oil, (3) safflower oil or (4) flaxseed/fish oil for 16 weeks and compared with mice fed low-fat (LF) diets supplemented with either high maize starch or high sucrose. Tissue fatty acid compositions were assessed by GLC, and the impact of the diet on host intestinal microbiota populations was investigated using high-throughput 16S rRNA sequencing. Compositional sequencing analysis revealed that dietary palm oil supplementation resulted in significantly lower populations of Bacteroidetes at the phylum level compared with dietary olive oil supplementation (P< 0·05). Dietary supplementation with olive oil was associated with an increase in the population of the family Bacteroidaceae compared with dietary supplementation of palm oil, flaxseed/fish oil and high sucrose (P< 0·05). Ingestion of the HF-flaxseed/fish oil diet for 16 weeks led to significantly increased tissue concentrations of EPA, docosapentaenoic acid and DHA compared with ingestion of all the other diets (P< 0·05); furthermore, the diet significantly increased the intestinal population of Bifidobacterium at the genus level compared with the LF-high-maize starch diet (P< 0·05). These data indicate that both the quantity and quality of fat have an impact on host physiology with further downstream alterations to the intestinal microbiota population, with a HF diet supplemented with flaxseed/fish oil positively shaping the host microbial ecosystem.
We investigated an international outbreak of Salmonella Agona with a distinct PFGE pattern associated with an Irish Food company (company X) producing pre-cooked meat products sold in various food outlet chains in Europe. The outbreak was first detected in Ireland. We undertook national and international case-finding, food traceback and microbiological investigation of human, food and environmental samples. We undertook a matched case-control study on Irish cases. In total, 163 cases in seven European countries were laboratory-confirmed. Consumption of food from food outlet chains supplied by company X was significantly associated with being a confirmed case (mOR 18·3, 95% CI 2·2–149·2) in the case-control study. The outbreak strain was isolated from the company's pre-cooked meat products and production premises. Sufficient evidence was gathered to infer the vehicles of infection and sources of the outbreak and to justify the control measures taken, which were plant closure and food recall.