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Childhood adversity is associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes across the life span. Alterations in the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis are considered a key mechanism underlying these associations, although findings have been mixed. These inconsistencies suggest that other aspects of stress processing may underlie variations in this these associations, and that differences in adversity type, sex, and age may be relevant. The current study investigated the relationship between childhood adversity, stress perception, and morning cortisol, and examined whether differences in adversity type (generalized vs. threat and deprivation), sex, and age had distinct effects on these associations. Salivary cortisol samples, daily hassle stress ratings, and retrospective measures of childhood adversity were collected from a large sample of youth at risk for serious mental illness including psychoses (n = 605, mean age = 19.3). Results indicated that childhood adversity was associated with increased stress perception, which subsequently predicted higher morning cortisol levels; however, these associations were specific to threat exposures in females. These findings highlight the role of stress perception in stress vulnerability following childhood adversity and highlight potential sex differences in the impact of threat exposures.
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.
Prenatal inflammation is an established risk factor for schizophrenia. However, the specific inflammatory pathways that mediate this association remain unclear. Potential candidate systems include inflammatory markers produced by microglia, such as cytokines and complement. Accumulating evidence suggests that these markers play a role in typical neurodevelopmental processes, such as synapse formation and interneuron migration. Rodent models demonstrate that altered marker levels during the prenatal period can cause lasting deficits in these systems, leading to cognitive deficits that resemble schizophrenia. This review assesses the potential role of prenatal cytokine and complement elevations on the etiology of schizophrenia. The current neurobiological understanding of the development of schizophrenia is reviewed to identify candidate cellular mechanisms that may be influenced by prenatal inflammation. We discuss the functions that cytokines and complement may play in prenatal neurodevelopment, review evidence that links exposure to these factors with risk for schizophrenia, and consider how these markers may interact with genetic vulnerabilities to influence the neurodevelopment of schizophrenia. We consider how prenatal inflammatory exposure may influence childhood and adolescent developmental risk trajectories for schizophrenia. Finally, we identify areas of further research needed to support the development of anti-inflammatory treatments to prevent the development of schizophrenia in at-risk neonates.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
To date, Ireland has been a leading light in the provision of youth mental health services. However, cognisant of the efforts of governmental and non-governmental agencies working in youth mental health, there is much to be done. Barriers into care as well as discontinuity of care across the spectrum of services remain key challenges. This editorial provides guidance for the next stage of development in youth mental care and support that will require significant national engagement and resource investment.
With present day technology the technique which provides the greatest precision in astrometric and geodetic measurement is Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) (Robertson, 1975; Dravskykh, 1981; Gubanov, 1983). The precision of present day astrometrical measurements by VLBI exceeds those of the best modern optical observations by an order and a half of magnitude and is capable of further improvement by the future development of phase stable, wide band, global networks and by the future deployment of VLBI antennas in space. Such precision of observation places the technique of VLBI well within the regime of special and general relativity. The present paper presents an analysis of relativistic effects on VLBI measurements with an accuracy of 0.0001 arc seconds.
Our understanding of the complex relationship between schizophrenia symptomatology and etiological factors can be improved by studying brain-based correlates of schizophrenia. Research showed that impairments in value processing and executive functioning, which have been associated with prefrontal brain areas [particularly the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC)], are linked to negative symptoms. Here we tested the hypothesis that MOFC thickness is associated with negative symptom severity.
This study included 1985 individuals with schizophrenia from 17 research groups around the world contributing to the ENIGMA Schizophrenia Working Group. Cortical thickness values were obtained from T1-weighted structural brain scans using FreeSurfer. A meta-analysis across sites was conducted over effect sizes from a model predicting cortical thickness by negative symptom score (harmonized Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms or Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale scores).
Meta-analytical results showed that left, but not right, MOFC thickness was significantly associated with negative symptom severity (βstd = −0.075; p = 0.019) after accounting for age, gender, and site. This effect remained significant (p = 0.036) in a model including overall illness severity. Covarying for duration of illness, age of onset, antipsychotic medication or handedness weakened the association of negative symptoms with left MOFC thickness. As part of a secondary analysis including 10 other prefrontal regions further associations in the left lateral orbitofrontal gyrus and pars opercularis emerged.
Using an unusually large cohort and a meta-analytical approach, our findings point towards a link between prefrontal thinning and negative symptom severity in schizophrenia. This finding provides further insight into the relationship between structural brain abnormalities and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.
Although repeatedly associated with white matter microstructural alterations, bipolar disorder (BD) has been relatively unexplored using complex network analysis. This method combines structural and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to model the brain as a network and evaluate its topological properties. A group of highly interconnected high-density structures, termed the ‘rich-club’, represents an important network for integration of brain functioning. This study aimed to assess structural and rich-club connectivity properties in BD through graph theory analyses.
We obtained structural and diffusion MRI scans from 42 euthymic patients with BD type I and 43 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. Weighted fractional anisotropy connections mapped between cortical and subcortical structures defined the neuroanatomical networks. Next, we examined between-group differences in features of graph properties and sub-networks.
Patients exhibited significantly reduced clustering coefficient and global efficiency, compared with controls globally and regionally in frontal and occipital regions. Additionally, patients displayed weaker sub-network connectivity in distributed regions. Rich-club analysis revealed subtly reduced density in patients, which did not withstand multiple comparison correction. However, hub identification in most participants indicated differentially affected rich-club membership in the BD group, with two hubs absent when compared with controls, namely the superior frontal gyrus and thalamus.
This graph theory analysis presents a thorough investigation of topological features of connectivity in euthymic BD. Abnormalities of global and local measures and network components provide further neuroanatomically specific evidence for distributed dysconnectivity as a trait feature of BD.
Twenty-two consecutive VLBI images of supernova 1993J in the galaxy M81 taken over 7 years show, in unprecedented detail, the dynamic evolution of the expanding radio shell of an exploded star. High precision astrometry using phase-referencing shows that the supernova expands isotropically, and that its geometric center has a formal proper motion of 190±110 km s−1 w.r.t. the core of M81. Systematic changes in the images most likely reflect a pattern of inhomogeneities in the medium left over from the progenitor star, or possibly instabilities in the expanding shell. As the shockfront sweeps up the medium, it is progressively decelerated, and after 7 years it has slowed to less than 1/2 its original expansion velocity. SN1993J is likely now entering the early stages of the adiabatic phase common in much older supernova remnants.
The multi-object spectroscopic facility FOCAP at the Anglo-Australian Telescope has been used to obtain spectra centred at the Ca II IR triplet of 14 stars in the field of the Sextans dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxy. This satellite of our own Galaxy was recently discovered by Irwin et al. (1990) from APM measures of UK Schmidt Telescope photographic plates.
Fourteen members of the committee have failed to respond to correspondence; nearly all of the others have expressed the definite opinion that non-responsive members should be dropped from committee membership when a new list is prepared a few correspondents indicating however, that the policy should be adopted for Commission 27 only if generally adopted for all commissions of the Union.
The U.K. 1.2 metre Schmidt Telescope acquired its first full aperture objective prism in 1975. This was a very low dispersion prism (2400 Å/mm at 4300 Å) which has been found to be particularly useful in searching for faint QSO’s.
Our knowledge of the universe comes from recording the photon and particle fluxes incident on the Earth from space. We thus require sensitive measurement across the entire energy spectrum, using large telescopes with efficient instrumentation located on superb sites. Technological advances and engineering constraints are nearing the point where we are recording as many photons arriving at a site as is possible. Major advances in the future will come from improving the quality of the site. The ultimate site is, of course, beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, such as on the Moon, but economic limitations prevent our exploiting this avenue to the degree that the scientific community desires. Here we describe an alternative, which offers many of the advantages of space for a fraction of the cost: the Antarctic Plateau.
The phase-coherent recording of pulsar data and subsequent software dispersion removal provide a flexible way to reach the limits of high time resolution, useful for more precise pulse timing and the study of fast signal fluctuations within a pulse. Because of the huge data rate and lack of adequate recording and computing capabilities, this technique has been used mostly only for small pulsar data sets. In recent years, however, the development of very capable, reasonably inexpensive high-speed recording systems and computers has made feasible the notion of pulsar baseband recording and subsequent processing with a workstation/computer. In this paper we discuss the development of a phase-coherent baseband processing system for radio pulsar observations. This system is based on the S2 VLBI recorder developed at ISTS/York University in Toronto, Canada. We present preliminary first results for data from the Vela pulsar, obtained at Parkes, Australia, and processed at ISTS/York University, and discuss plans for future developments.
Twenty consecutive VLBI images of supernova 1993J in M81 from the time of explosion to the present show the dynamic evolution of the expanding radio shell of an exploded star. No clear sign of a pulsar nebula, expected to have a spectral luminosity 10 to 1,000 times larger than that of the Crab, has yet been seen. The upper limit on the brightness at 8.4 GHz in the center of the shell in one of the latest images is 0.15 mJy per beam of 0.4 mas2, corresponding to a spectral luminosity of that of the Crab. Any nebula that may have formed in the center is probably still obscured by the surrounding thermal matter with no substantial filamentation having yet occurred in the latter.