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Schizophrenia is associated with robust hippocampal volume deficits but subregion volume deficits, their associations with cognition, and contributing genes remain to be determined.
Hippocampal formation (HF) subregion volumes were obtained using FreeSurfer 6.0 from individuals with schizophrenia (n = 176, mean age ± s.d. = 39.0 ± 11.5, 132 males) and healthy volunteers (n = 173, mean age ± s.d. = 37.6 ± 11.3, 123 males) with similar mean age, gender, handedness, and race distributions. Relationships between the HF subregion volume with the largest between group difference, neuropsychological performance, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms were assessed.
This study found a significant group by region interaction on hippocampal subregion volumes. Compared to healthy volunteers, individuals with schizophrenia had significantly smaller dentate gyrus (DG) (Cohen's d = −0.57), Cornu Ammonis (CA) 4, molecular layer of the hippocampus, hippocampal tail, and CA 1 volumes, when statistically controlling for intracranial volume; DG (d = −0.43) and CA 4 volumes remained significantly smaller when statistically controlling for mean hippocampal volume. DG volume showed the largest between group difference and significant positive associations with visual memory and speed of processing in the overall sample. Genome-wide association analysis with DG volume as the quantitative phenotype identified rs56055643 (β = 10.8, p < 5 × 10−8, 95% CI 7.0–14.5) on chromosome 3 in high linkage disequilibrium with MOBP. Gene-based analyses identified associations between SLC25A38 and RPSA and DG volume.
This study suggests that DG dysfunction is fundamentally involved in schizophrenia pathophysiology, that it may contribute to cognitive abnormalities in schizophrenia, and that underlying biological mechanisms may involve contributions from MOBP, SLC25A38, and RPSA.
We aimed to explore multiple perspectives regarding barriers to and facilitators of advance care planning (ACP) among African Americans to identify similarities or differences that might have clinical implications.
Qualitative study with health disparities experts (n = 5), community members (n = 9), and seriously ill African American patients and caregivers (n = 11). Using template analysis, interviews were coded to identify intrapersonal, interpersonal, and systems-level themes in accordance with a social ecological framework.
Participants identified seven primary factors that influence ACP for African Americans: religion and spirituality; trust and mistrust; family relationships and experiences; patient-clinician relationships; prognostic communication, care preferences, and preparation and control. These influences echo those described in the existing literature; however, our data highlight consistent differences by group in the degree to which these factors positively or negatively affect ACP. Expert participants reinforced common themes from the literature, for example, that African Americans were not interested in prognostic information because of mistrust and religion. Seriously ill patients were more likely to express trust in their clinicians and to desire prognostic communication; they and community members expressed a desire to prepare for and control the end of life. Religious belief did not appear to negate these desires.
Significance of results
The literature on ACP in African Americans may not accurately reflect the experience of seriously ill African Americans. What are commonly understood as barriers to ACP may in fact not be. We propose reframing stereotypical barriers to ACP, such as religion and spirituality, or family, as cultural assets that should be engaged to enhance ACP. Although further research can inform best practices for engaging African American patients in ACP, findings suggest that respectful, rapport-building communication may facilitate ACP. Clinicians are encouraged to engage in early ACP using respectful and rapport building communication practices, including open-ended questions.
Schizophrenia (SZ) is a severe neuropsychiatric disorder associated with disrupted connectivity within the thalamic-cortico-cerebellar network. Resting-state functional connectivity studies have reported thalamic hypoconnectivity with the cerebellum and prefrontal cortex as well as thalamic hyperconnectivity with sensory cortical regions in SZ patients compared with healthy comparison participants (HCs). However, fundamental questions remain regarding the clinical significance of these connectivity abnormalities.
Resting state seed-based functional connectivity was used to investigate thalamus to whole brain connectivity using multi-site data including 183 SZ patients and 178 matched HCs. Statistical significance was based on a voxel-level FWE-corrected height threshold of p < 0.001. The relationships between positive and negative symptoms of SZ and regions of the brain demonstrating group differences in thalamic connectivity were examined.
HC and SZ participants both demonstrated widespread positive connectivity between the thalamus and cortical regions. Compared with HCs, SZ patients had reduced thalamic connectivity with bilateral cerebellum and anterior cingulate cortex. In contrast, SZ patients had greater thalamic connectivity with multiple sensory-motor regions, including bilateral pre- and post-central gyrus, middle/inferior occipital gyrus, and middle/superior temporal gyrus. Thalamus to middle temporal gyrus connectivity was positively correlated with hallucinations and delusions, while thalamus to cerebellar connectivity was negatively correlated with delusions and bizarre behavior.
Thalamic hyperconnectivity with sensory regions and hypoconnectivity with cerebellar regions in combination with their relationship to clinical features of SZ suggest that thalamic dysconnectivity may be a core neurobiological feature of SZ that underpins positive symptoms.
Phased Array Feed (PAF) technology is the next major advancement in radio astronomy in terms of combining high sensitivity and large field of view. The Focal L-band Array for the Green Bank Telescope (FLAG) is one of the most sensitive PAFs developed so far. It consists of 19 dual-polarization elements mounted on a prime focus dewar resulting in seven beams on the sky. Its unprecedented system temperature of ~17 K will lead to a 3 fold increase in pulsar survey speeds as compared to contemporary single pixel feeds. Early science observations were conducted in a recently concluded commissioning phase of the FLAG where we clearly demonstrated its science capabilities. We observed a selection of normal and millisecond pulsars and detected giant pulses from PSR B1937+21.
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.
It is believed that the splitting of the SMC into two fragments and the production of the Inter-Cloud gas and the Magellanic Stream occurred in the one event 4 × 108 years ago. This event was a collision between the LMC and SMC. This time is too short for the Stream to be tidal, or be the result of stripping of the Inter-Cloud gas by a diffuse gaseous halo. It is proposed that the clouds in the Stream are the results of collisions between the Inter-Cloud gas and HVCs in the Galactic halo. A model of this process accounts for all of the observational features of the Stream. Observations of HVCs in the path of the Magellanic Clouds are used to predict the development of the Stream. The HVCs in our halo are thought to be a result of a collision of a galaxy with our Galaxy 6 × 109 years ago.
Food- and waterborne disease is thought to be high in some Canadian Indigenous communities; however, the burden of acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) is not well understood due to limited availability and quality of surveillance data. This study estimated the burden of community-level self-reported AGI in the Inuit communities of Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, and Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. Cross-sectional retrospective surveys captured information on AGI and potential environmental risk factors. Multivariable logistic regression models identified potential AGI risk factors. The annual incidence of AGI ranged from 2·9–3·9 cases/person per year in Rigolet and Iqaluit. In Rigolet, increased spending on obtaining country foods, a homeless person in the house, not visiting a cabin recently, exposure to puppies, and alternative sources of drinking water were associated with increased odds of AGI. In Iqaluit, eating country fish often, exposure to cats, employment status of the person responsible for food preparation, not washing the countertop with soap after preparing meat, a homeless person in the house, and overcrowding were associated with increased odds of AGI. The results highlight the need for systematic data collection to better understand and support previously anecdotal indications of high AGI incidence, as well as insights into unique AGI environmental risk factors in Indigenous populations.
Acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) is an important public health priority worldwide. Few studies have captured the burden of AGI in developing countries, and even fewer have focused on Indigenous populations. This study aimed to estimate the incidence and determinants of AGI within a Batwa Pygmy Indigenous population in southwestern Uganda. A retrospective cross-sectional survey was conducted in January 2013 via a census of 10 Batwa communities (n = 583 participants). The AGI case definition included any self-reported symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting in the past 2 weeks. The 14-day prevalence of AGI was 6·17% [95% confidence interval (CI) 4·2–8·1], corresponding to an annual incidence rate of 1·66 (95% CI 1·1–2·2) episodes of AGI per person-year. AGI prevalence was greatest in children aged <3 years (11·3%). A multivariable mixed-effects logistic regression model controlling for clustering at the community level indicated that exposure to goats [odds ratio (OR) 2·6, 95% CI 1·0–6·8], being a child aged <3 years (OR 4·8, 95% CI 1·2–18·9), and being a child, adolescent or senior Batwa in the higher median of wealth (OR 7·0, 95% CI 3·9–9·2) were significantly associated with having AGI. This research represents the first Indigenous community-census level study of AGI in Uganda, and highlights the substantial burden of AGI within this population.
White matter (WM) abnormalities are proposed as potential endophenotypic markers of bipolar disorder (BD). In a diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) voxel-based analysis (VBA) study of families multiply affected with BD, we previously reported that widespread abnormalities of fractional anisotropy (FA) are associated with both BD and genetic liability for illness. In the present study, we further investigated the endophenotypic potential of WM abnormalities by applying DTI tractography to specifically investigate tracts implicated in the pathophysiology of BD.
Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data were acquired from 19 patients with BD type I from multiply affected families, 21 of their unaffected first-degree relatives and 18 healthy volunteers. DTI tractography was used to identify the cingulum, uncinate fasciculus (UF), arcuate portion of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF), inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF), corpus callosum, and the anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC). Regression analyses were conducted to investigate the effect of participant group and genetic liability on FA and radial diffusivity (RD) in each tract.
We detected a significant effect of group on both FA and RD in the cingulum, SLF, callosal splenium and ILF driven by reduced FA and increased RD in patients compared to controls and relatives. Increasing genetic liability was associated with decreased FA and increased RD in the UF, and decreased FA in the SLF, among patients.
WM microstructural abnormalities in limbic, temporal and callosal pathways represent microstructural abnormalities associated with BD whereas alterations in the SLF and UF may represent potential markers of endophenotypic risk.
The effect of religion on political behavior and attachment has been a topic of intense interest in the United States and elsewhere. Less attention has been paid to the issue of secularism. Some analysts have viewed secularism as an absence of religious attachment, and a number of studies have utilized indices of secularization to analyze such topics as economic development or modernization. In this article, we show that secularism, like religion, is in fact a multifaceted category, and should not be viewed as the antithesis of religiosity. Utilizing a very large sample of United States adults, we apply factor analysis to demonstrate that secularism is composed of two logically separate components, and we use these results to examine the role of secularism in political attachments. We suggest that Religious Secularism and Social Secularism are different motivations and have different effects on political behavior and that, politically, the marginal effects of Social Secularism are larger than Religious Secularism in all cases.
A survey of the Milky Way disk and the Magellanic System at the wavelengths of the 21-cm atomic hydrogen (H i) line and three 18-cm lines of the OH molecule will be carried out with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. The survey will study the distribution of H i emission and absorption with unprecedented angular and velocity resolution, as well as molecular line thermal emission, absorption, and maser lines. The area to be covered includes the Galactic plane (|b| < 10°) at all declinations south of δ = +40°, spanning longitudes 167° through 360°to 79° at b = 0°, plus the entire area of the Magellanic Stream and Clouds, a total of 13 020 deg2. The brightness temperature sensitivity will be very good, typically σT≃ 1 K at resolution 30 arcsec and 1 km s−1. The survey has a wide spectrum of scientific goals, from studies of galaxy evolution to star formation, with particular contributions to understanding stellar wind kinematics, the thermal phases of the interstellar medium, the interaction between gas in the disk and halo, and the dynamical and thermal states of gas at various positions along the Magellanic Stream.
The cognitive profile of early onset Parkinson’s disease (EOPD) has not been clearly defined. Mutations in the parkin gene are the most common genetic risk factor for EOPD and may offer information about the neuropsychological pattern of performance in both symptomatic and asymptomatic mutation carriers. EOPD probands and their first-degree relatives who did not have Parkinson’s disease (PD) were genotyped for mutations in the parkin gene and administered a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. Performance was compared between EOPD probands with (N = 43) and without (N = 52) parkin mutations. The same neuropsychological battery was administered to 217 first-degree relatives to assess neuropsychological function in individuals who carry parkin mutations but do not have PD. No significant differences in neuropsychological test performance were found between parkin carrier and noncarrier probands. Performance also did not differ between EOPD noncarriers and carrier subgroups (i.e., heterozygotes, compound heterozygotes/homozygotes). Similarly, no differences were found among unaffected family members across genotypes. Mean neuropsychological test performance was within normal range in all probands and relatives. Carriers of parkin mutations, whether or not they have PD, do not perform differently on neuropsychological measures as compared to noncarriers. The cognitive functioning of parkin carriers over time warrants further study. (JINS, 2011, 17, 1–10)
Patients with schizophrenia (SZ) characteristically exhibit supranormal levels of cortical activity to self-induced sensory stimuli, ostensibly because of abnormalities in the neural signals (corollary discharges, CDs) normatively involved in suppressing the sensory consequences of self-generated actions. The nature of these abnormalities is unknown. This study investigated whether SZ patients experience CDs that are abnormally delayed in their arrival at the sensory cortex.
Twenty-one patients with SZ and 25 matched control participants underwent electroencephalography (EEG). Participants' level of cortical suppression was calculated as the amplitude of the N1 component evoked by a button press-elicited auditory stimulus, subtracted from the N1 amplitude evoked by the same stimulus presented passively. In the three experimental conditions, the auditory stimulus was delivered 0, 50 or 100 ms subsequent to the button-press. Fifteen SZ patients and 17 healthy controls (HCs) also underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and the fractional anisotropy (FA) of participants' arcuate fasciculus was used to predict their level of cortical suppression in the three conditions.
While the SZ patients exhibited subnormal N1 suppression to undelayed, self-generated auditory stimuli, these deficits were eliminated by imposing a 50-ms, but not a 100-ms, delay between the button-press and the evoked stimulus. Furthermore, the extent to which the 50-ms delay normalized a patient's level of N1 suppression was linearly related to the FA of their arcuate fasciculus.
These data suggest that SZ patients experience temporally delayed CDs to self-generated auditory stimuli, putatively because of structural damage to the white-matter (WM) fasciculus connecting the sites of discharge initiation and destination.
We ask if Earth-like planets (terrestrial mass and habitable-zone orbit) can be detected in multi-planet systems, using astrometric and radial velocity observations. We report here the preliminary results of double-blind calculations designed to answer this question.