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The paper presents experimental results from the SMOLA device that is the first facility with a helical mirror section of the magnetic field. This device is built in the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics for the verification of the helical mirror confinement idea that is the recently introduced technique of the active control of axial losses from a confinement zone. Theory predicts that with rotating plasma, a helical mirror will provide suppression of the axial plasma flow and, simultaneously, density pinching to the axis. Experiments demonstrated that plasma density at the exit from the transport section is suppressed with activation of the helical field, the effect is significant and highly reproducible. The most pronounced effect is observed on the plasma periphery, where the mirror ratio is the highest. The integral suppression ratio reaches 2–2.5 in the discussed experiments. Experimental results are compared with simplified theoretical estimates. The integral suppression ratio matches the simple theoretical estimates even if the transversal diffusion is neglected.
To explore changes in functioning with flexible doses of paliperidone ER in a large international study in patients with schizophrenia previously unsuccessfully treated with other oral antipsychotics.
Prospective 6-month open-label study. Functioning was assessed using the Personal and Social Performance Scale (PSP), including four domains:
(1) personal and social relationships,
(2) socially useful activities including work and study,
(3) self care and
(4) disturbing and aggressive behavior.
1812 patients were included (59.9% male, mean age 40.1±12.6 years, 75.8% paranoid schizophrenia); most were enrolled because of lack of efficacy (n=1026) or lack of tolerability (n=490) with prior antipsychotic treatment. The median mode dose of paliperidone ER was 6 mg/day. 70.7% of patients completed the study. Most frequent reasons for early discontinuation were patient choice (8.8%), lack of efficacy or adverse event (5.1% each). AEs reported in >= 5% of patients were insomnia (9.2%) and anxiety (7.2%). Mean total baseline PSP score was 57.7±14.5, which improved to 64.1±15.6 at endpoint (mean change +6.4±13.5; 95% confidence interval 5.8;7.0, p< 0.0001); 49.0% of patients improved by at least one 10-point category in PSP. At baseline, 84.3% of patients had moderate to severe functional impairment, mostly driven by at least marked difficulties in socially useful activities (46.4.%) and personal and social relationships (36.4%). These percentages decreased to 30.6% and 22.9%, respectively.
In this large prospective flexible-dose study, results from recent randomized controlled studies are supported that paliperidone ER is associated with a clinically meaningful improvement of functioning in patients with schizophrenia.
Alzheimer Dementia (AD) is known as the most common cause of degenerative dementias that decrease patient life expectancy, quality of life and increase caregivers burden. Objective: To determine the evolution of cognitive and non-cognitive symptoms under donepezil treatment and to evaluate the impact of these symptoms evolution over the caregivers.
This prospective, open-label, trial included a group of 56 patients, 34 male and 22 female, mean age 72.4, diagnosed with AD according to DSM-IV-TR criteria. Patients received either donepezil (n= 30) or 1400 UI/day mean dose of vitamin E (n=26). We evaluated these patients monthly during 1 year using Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), AD Assessment Scale (ADAS), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD)-17 items, Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS)- 18 items, Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF), Burden Interview (BI).
Patients presented significant better evolution under donepezil on cognitive symptoms as scores evolution on ADAS-Cognitive behavior subscale (+1.5+/-0.2 vs. +10.4+/-0.8, p<0.0001) and MMSE (-0.8+/-0.2 vs. –7.7+/-0.4, p<0.0001) reflected. The non-cognitive symptoms evolution was also better under donepezil treatment, as the ADAS-Noncognitive behavior subscale (+2.6+/-0.4 vs. +8.2+/-0.7, p<0.0001), HAMD (increases of 4.5 vs. 8.2, p<0.001) and BPRS (increases of 6.7 vs.14.2, p<0.0001) reflected. The evolution of GAF was better in the donepezil group (-10.5 vs. –27.5, p<0.0001) and the burden of caregivers was significant less in the same group (+10.2 vs. +30.8 on BI, p<0.0001).
Donepezil is efficient in controlling both cognitive and non-cognitive symptoms in mild to moderate AD and therefore it decreases also the caregivers burden.
Patients with schizophrenia that are treated with first generation, but also with several second generation antipsychotics, frequently describe negative changes in self-perception and daily activities due to weight gain. A systematic analysis of the weight gain influence over the body image is necessary because it could offer a perspective over the patient's discomfort, improving his/her chances to therapeutic compliance and a better life quality. Psychotherapy, change of antipsychotics, nutritional counselling, ocupational therapy or physical exercises scheduling could be solutions to these cases.
A group of 34 patients, 18 female and 16 male, diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia (DSM IV TR), mean age 45.3, treated with antipsychotic agents for at least 2 years (haloperidol 15 cases, olanzapine 10 cases, amisulpride 5 cases, risperidone 4 cases) were evaluated in order to configure a body image profile, using self-reports, investigator-based reports and Draw-a-Person-Test (DAP). Patients included in this evaluation presented a mean weight gain of 10%, reported to their premorbid value.
The body image was negative in 82.3% with marked dysfunctional believes about self in 64.7%, while the rest of 17.6% had mild to moderate levels of self-blame or hopelessness automatic thoughts associated to weight gain. Only 17.7% patients had a neutral or positive body image, also their mean weight gain was equally to the negative body image group.
Negative body image is usually associated to weight gain as a side event to antipsychotic drugs, therefore is important to ventilate the patient's dysphoric feelings and to choose the optimal therapy.
Venlafaxine extended release (XR) stands as an optimal therapeutic choice for the major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) dual diagnosis.
We focused upon the evaluation of venlafaxine XR efficacy in treating MDD and GAD dual diagnosis patients, using an selective serotoninergic reuptake inhibitor comparator, fluoxetine.
A 23 patients group, 13 male and 10 female, mean age 36.7, admitted in our clinic, that met the DSM IV TR criteria for both MDD and GAD, were distributed in two groups, receiving venlafaxine XR in 75-150 mg flexible dose (n=12) or fluoxetine 20-40 mg flexible dose (n=11). We assessed patients evolution under treatment every two weeks for 6 months using Hamilton Depression Rating Scale 17 items (HAMD-17), Hamilton Anxiety Scale for Anxiety (HAMA), Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF) and Clinical Global Impressions (CGI).
In the intent-to-treat (ITT) and last-observation-carried-forward (LOCF) analysis, differences between groups became statistically significant at week 4, venlafaxine XR treated patients improved better as HAMD-17 (-7.8 points, p<0.05) and HAMA (-8.9 points, p<0.05) reflected. The end-point HAMD-17 and HAMA scores were smaller in the venlafaxine treated group (6.7 and 9.1, p<0.05). Endpoint CGI (1.5) and GAF (92) scores were also better in venlafaxine XR treated group (p<0.01).
The 6 months clinical trial proved venlafaxine XR superior to the active comparator, fluoxetine, in the treatment of MDD and GAD dual diagnosis.
Although the mechanisms explaining metabolic impairments observed during antipsychotic treatment are not well known, there are important differences between drugs regarding the possibility of inducing lipidic and glucose impairments.
To assess the effects of atypical and typical antipsychotics -olanzapine, aripiprazole, risperidone and haloperidol over the weight, glucose and HDL-cholesterol levels, during 24 weeks of treatment.
A 43 patients group, 30 male and 13 female, mean age 42.1, admitted during an acute phase of chronic schizophrenia (DSM-IV-TR), were distributed on flexible dose of olanzapine (N=12) 10-20 mg/day, aripiprazole (N=11) 15-30 mg/day, risperidone (N=10) 4-8 mg/day or haloperidol (N=10) 10-20 mg/day. Weight, fasting glucose and HDL-cholesterol were weekly monitored during the first month and monthly after that. Inclusion criteria: baseline glucose and HDL-cholesterol levels within normal range. Exclusion criteria: familial history of diabetus mellitus or obesity.
Regarding the weight gain, the safest antipsychotic is aripiprazole (+0.4+/-0.2 kg at endpoint), followed by haloperidol (+1.9+/-0.2 kg), while olanzapine (+5.6+/-1.1 kg) and risperidone (+3.4+/-0.5 kg) are less tolerated. The glucose level >125 mg/dl was observed at endpoint in 3 patients with risperidone, 6 with olanzapine, 2 with haloperidol. The HDL-cholesterol over 40 mg/dl (men) and over 50 mg/dl (female) appeared in 4 cases of olanzapine and 3 cases of risperidone treated patients.
There are quantitative differences in the level of weight gain, HDL-cholesterol and glucose level induced by antipsychotics. The safest antipsychotic agent is aripiprazole because it doesn't induce significant weight gain or other metabolic complications.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is considered an effective and safe treatment. However, the possibility of cognitive adverse effects has raised a question about neuronal damage.
Neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and S100b protein (S100b) were measured to determine whether ECT induces neuronal injury or glial activation. C-reactive protein (CRP), creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and CPK-MB levels were also measured.
Present study was conducted in 14 patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia (29,4±7,7 years old) that underwent combined ECT (10 ECTs on average) and pharmacological treatment. Blood samples were obtained before the beginning of ECT, 24 hours after the third and sixth ECTs.
CRP levels indicated the presence of slow inflammatory process. There was no increase in NSE or S100b concentrations that could be associated with the impact of ECT. Significant CPK increases were observed in two patients, maximum at the baseline point; muscle tissue damage was indicated as the cause.
Average reduction of PANSS score was 28,8%, and PANSS scores were never significantly correlated with biomarkers’ concentrations. Patients with greater disease duration and more impaired constructive praxis were characterized by higher, though not usually abnormal, levels of NSE after ECT.
The results of the present study demonstrate that electroconvulsive therapy combined with pharmacotherapy is safe and effective for the drug treatment resistant group of schizophrenic patients. No significant neuronal damage associated with ECT and cognitive impairment was found. At the same time, increased CRP suggests a presence of chronic inflammation in the vascular wall, which supports a role of inflammatory mechanisms in schizophrenia.
Suicidality is still an understudied problem in Bulgaria especially on a subnational (regional) level.
To collect data on suicidality in two major regions of Bulgaria with a population over 250,000 each (Plovdiv and Pleven) for a six years period (2009–2015).
To analyze demographic, health-related and other characteristics associated with suicidal behavior as well as motives and methods of suicide.
Data were extracted from relevant documentation (medical records, public health reports, etc.) and statistically processed upon collection.
Majority of suicide victims were males between 45 and 64 years while most suicide attempts occurred among 18–29 years old females.
Leading method of suicide was hanging, followed by jumping from high places and use of firearm.
Prevailing suicidal motives were psychotic symptoms, serious somatic illnesses and family problems. Depression accounted for 25% of all suicide cases and in another 25% motivation could not be identified because of insufficient data.
The proportion of unemployed among suicide committers was not significantly higher than that of employed and retired.
Severe mental disorders are a major trigger of suicidal behavior.
Personal relationships should be targeted by suicide prevention interventions.
Somatic illnesses are increasingly important suicide risk factor driven by the ongoing process of population aging.
Frontline healthcare professionals should be trained to explore underlying suicidal motives and actively probe for depression in each case of suicidal behavior.
Unemployment related suicide risk is most likely mediated through an adaptation crisis mechanism induced by the abrupt change of social status.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
GravityCam is a new concept of ground-based imaging instrument capable of delivering significantly sharper images from the ground than is normally possible without adaptive optics. Advances in optical and near-infrared imaging technologies allow images to be acquired at high speed without significant noise penalty. Aligning these images before they are combined can yield a 2.5–3-fold improvement in image resolution. By using arrays of such detectors, survey fields may be as wide as the telescope optics allows. Consequently, GravityCam enables both wide-field high-resolution imaging and high-speed photometry. We describe the instrument and detail its application to provide demographics of planets and satellites down to Lunar mass (or even below) across the Milky Way. GravityCam is also suited to improve the quality of weak shear studies of dark matter distribution in distant clusters of galaxies and multiwavelength follow-ups of background sources that are strongly lensed by galaxy clusters. The photometric data arising from an extensive microlensing survey will also be useful for asteroseismology studies, while GravityCam can be used to monitor fast multiwavelength flaring in accreting compact objects and promises to generate a unique data set on the population of the Kuiper belt and possibly the Oort cloud.
Over the years the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has offered a number of time-domain instruments that enable the user to achieve time resolution as small as milliseconds. They have been used for a wide range of applications, from binary studies with Lunar occultations, characterisation of X-ray binaries and exoplanet transits, to quasar variability. Furthermore, ESO provides a target-of-opportunity (ToO) rapid-response-mode (RRM) channel to trigger quick follow-up observations within as little delay as minutes after a transient has been detected. This talk reviewed the available time-domain observing modes and instruments at ESO, giving priority to FORS2, HAWKI and UltraCam. It described the ToO and RRM, and gave examples of the most common science cases that take advantage of those channels and capabilities.
We carried out a pivot experiment to select distant luminous late-type stars on the basis on their 2MASS and GLIMPSE photometry. Low-resolution infrared spectra enabled us to measure the equivalent widths (EWs) of their CO band-heads at 2.293 μm, and to confirm an extraordinarily high detection rate of red supergiants (RSGs), i.e. 61% (Messineo et al. (2016)).
Geological disposal (GD) of radioactive waste is close to becoming a reality for Finland, Sweden and France. High-technology development and advanced knowledge has made it possible to defend the feasibility and the safety of such facilities, making the European Union a leader in the field. Other European countries are closely behind, developing high competence through advanced research programmes, research infrastructures and public engagement.
At the other extreme, there are countries whose GD programmes are at an early stage and no systematic research programmes exist. These include several new Member States but not the Czech Republic and Hungary, both of which have already initiated a siting process.
There are several common reasons for this delay in schedule: small and relatively younger nuclear energy programmes, return of the spent fuel (especially from research reactors) to the countries of origin, open fuel cycle concept (requiring at least 50 years of wet and dry storage). In this context, there has been little pressure on setting up an early GD programme. Currently their disposal concepts are only generic and in most of these countries need updating, taking into account the current socio-economic context.
However, some of these new Member States still aim to have a GD in operation within several decades, e.g. 2055 in Romania and 2067 in Slovenia. Strategic planning based on the experience of more advanced programmes shows the GD process should start immediately in order to be able to achieve these deadlines.
In this context, the implementation of the EC Directive 70/2011 gives the opportunity to progress the advancement of the GD process in these countries.
We conducted infrared spectroscopic observations of bright stars in the direction of the molecular clouds W33 and GMC G23.3 − 0.3. We compared stellar spectro-photometric distances with parallactic distances to these regions, and we were able to assess the association of the detected massive stars with these molecular complexes. The spatial and temporal distributions of the detected stars enabled us to locate sources of ionizing radiation and to gather precise information on the star formation history of these clouds. The studied clouds present different distributions of massive stars.
Today, three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus are the most abundant fish in the White Sea and are close to their historical maximum. Based on observations from 2011–2013, this study reports quantitative and qualitative characteristics of juvenile stickleback diet during periods of active feeding in coastal Zostera seagrass beds. The following planktonic taxa dominated stomach contents: copepods Temora longicornis and Microsetella norvegica, ciliophora Helicostomella subulata. Benthic organisms such as Oligochaetae and Orthocladiinae also played an important role, whereas the literature suggests they were once rare in marine stickleback diets. Consumption patterns depended on fish size, with the most pronounced diet shift taking place as juveniles reached a length of 15 mm, in late August. In larger juveniles the highest correlation between the abundance of food organisms in stomachs and in the sea was observed for Orthocladiinae, suggesting that they are the preferred food. Overall, changes in diet followed changes in the abundance of available food organisms, but food selectivity analysis of planktonic organisms showed that M. norvegica were actively selected by juveniles.
Gaia will see little of the Galactic mid-plane and nuclear bulge due to high extinction at optical wavelengths. To study the structure and kinematics of the inner Galaxy we must look to longer wavelengths. The Vista Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV, Minniti et al. 2010) survey currently provides just over 4 years of observations covering approximately 560 square degrees of the Galactic bulge and plane. Typically each source is observed 50–150 times in the Ks band over this period. Using these data we provide relative proper motions for approximately 200 million unique sources down to Ks∼16 with uncertainties approaching 1 mas yr−1. In addition, we fit a solution of the parallactic motion of all sources with significant proper motion and discover a number of new nearby brown dwarfs. These results will allow us to identify faint common proper motion companions to stars with Gaia parallaxes, increasing the number of brown dwarf benchmark objects. Our absolute astrometric calibration precision is currently ∼ 2 mas yr−1, based on PPMXL. The Gaia absolute astrometric reference grid will allow us to precisely anchor our results and measure the streaming motions of stars in the bulge. Finally, we anticipate that the catalogue could provide kinematic distances to the numerous optically invisible high amplitude variable stars that VVV is discovering.
Our recent efforts using primarily nanodiamonds as lubricant additives are discussed. For traditional high performance engine oils, our results show a reduction in friction for steel surfaces for both laboratory experiments under controlled conditions and in a pilot study of passenger cars under typical driving conditions. Examination of the surfaces suggests that surface polishing at the sub-micron scale may be responsible for these results. A separate set of experiments using a quartz crystal microbalance to measure dissipation and drag due to friction has shown that when added to water the charge of the nanodiamond acquired from surface functionalization can have a large influence on uptake and friction at the water-metal interface. More importantly, these results suggest the possibility of creating nanodiamonds with controllable frictional drag at the solid-liquid interface through surface processing. Companion simulation results for nanodiamonds in water sliding between diamond surfaces are also presented. Future possibilities for further understanding and tuning the properties of nanodiamonds as lubricant additives through synergistic experiments and modeling are also discussed.