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Agency is the human capacity to freely choose one’s thoughts, motivations and actions without undue internal or external influences; it is distinguished from decisional capacity. Four well-known conditions that can deeply affect agency are depression, demoralization, existential distress, and family dysfunction. The study reviews how they may diminish agency in persons whose circumstances may lead them to consider or request euthanasia or assisted suicide. Since agency has been a relatively neglected dimension of autonomous choice at the end of life, it is argued that to respect the autonomy of individuals, it is essential to establish their agency.
Studies suggest that alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders have distinct genetic backgrounds.
We examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for consumption and problem subscales of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C, AUDIT-P) in the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 121 630) correlate with alcohol outcomes in four independent samples: an ascertained cohort, the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA; N = 6850), and population-based cohorts: Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; N = 5911), Generation Scotland (GS; N = 17 461), and an independent subset of UKB (N = 245 947). Regression models and survival analyses tested whether the PRS were associated with the alcohol-related outcomes.
In COGA, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with alcohol dependence, AUD symptom count, maximum drinks (R2 = 0.47–0.68%, p = 2.0 × 10−8–1.0 × 10−10), and increased likelihood of onset of alcohol dependence (hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 4.7 × 10−8); AUDIT-C PRS was not an independent predictor of any phenotype. In ALSPAC, the AUDIT-C PRS was associated with alcohol dependence (R2 = 0.96%, p = 4.8 × 10−6). In GS, AUDIT-C PRS was a better predictor of weekly alcohol use (R2 = 0.27%, p = 5.5 × 10−11), while AUDIT-P PRS was more associated with problem drinking (R2 = 0.40%, p = 9.0 × 10−7). Lastly, AUDIT-P PRS was associated with ICD-based alcohol-related disorders in the UKB subset (R2 = 0.18%, p < 2.0 × 10−16).
AUDIT-P PRS was associated with a range of alcohol-related phenotypes across population-based and ascertained cohorts, while AUDIT-C PRS showed less utility in the ascertained cohort. We show that AUDIT-P is genetically correlated with both use and misuse and demonstrate the influence of ascertainment schemes on PRS analyses.
This paper provides an up-to-date review of the problems related to the generation, detection and mitigation of strong electromagnetic pulses created in the interaction of high-power, high-energy laser pulses with different types of solid targets. It includes new experimental data obtained independently at several international laboratories. The mechanisms of electromagnetic field generation are analyzed and considered as a function of the intensity and the spectral range of emissions they produce. The major emphasis is put on the GHz frequency domain, which is the most damaging for electronics and may have important applications. The physics of electromagnetic emissions in other spectral domains, in particular THz and MHz, is also discussed. The theoretical models and numerical simulations are compared with the results of experimental measurements, with special attention to the methodology of measurements and complementary diagnostics. Understanding the underlying physical processes is the basis for developing techniques to mitigate the electromagnetic threat and to harness electromagnetic emissions, which may have promising applications.
Positive symptoms are a useful predictor of aggression in schizophrenia. Although a similar pattern of abnormal brain structures related to both positive symptoms and aggression has been reported, this observation has not yet been confirmed in a single sample.
To study the association between positive symptoms and aggression in schizophrenia on a neurobiological level, a prospective meta-analytic approach was employed to analyze harmonized structural neuroimaging data from 10 research centers worldwide. We analyzed brain MRI scans from 902 individuals with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia and 952 healthy controls.
The result identified a widespread cortical thickness reduction in schizophrenia compared to their controls. Two separate meta-regression analyses revealed that a common pattern of reduced cortical gray matter thickness within the left lateral temporal lobe and right midcingulate cortex was significantly associated with both positive symptoms and aggression.
These findings suggested that positive symptoms such as formal thought disorder and auditory misperception, combined with cognitive impairments reflecting difficulties in deploying an adaptive control toward perceived threats, could escalate the likelihood of aggression in schizophrenia.
Analysis of human remains and a copper band found in the center of a Late Archaic (ca. 5000–3000 cal BP) shell ring demonstrate an exchange network between the Great Lakes and the coastal southeast United States. Similarities in mortuary practices suggest that the movement of objects between these two regions was more direct and unmediated than archaeologists previously assumed based on “down-the-line” models of exchange. These findings challenge prevalent notions that view preagricultural Native American communities as relatively isolated from one another and suggest instead that wide social networks spanned much of North America thousands of years before the advent of domestication.
Refractory depression is a major contributor to the economic burden of depression. Radically open dialectical behaviour therapy (RO DBT) is an unevaluated new treatment targeting overcontrolled personality, common in refractory depression, but it is not yet known whether the additional expense of RO DBT is good value for money.
To estimate the cost-effectiveness of RO DBT plus treatment as usual (TAU) compared with TAU alone in people with refractory depression (trial registration: ISRCTN85784627).
We undertook a cost-effectiveness analysis alongside a randomised trial evaluating RO DBT plus TAU versus TAU alone for refractory depression in three UK secondary care centres. Our economic evaluation, 12 months after randomisation, adopted the perspective of the UK National Health Service (NHS) and personal social services. It evaluated cost-effectiveness by comparing the net cost of RO DBT with the net gain in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), estimated using the EQ-5D-3L measure of health-related quality of life.
The additional cost of RO DBT plus TAU compared with TAU alone was £7048 and was associated with a difference of 0.032 QALYs, yielding an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of £220 250 per QALY. This ICER was well above the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) upper threshold of £30 000 per QALY. A cost-effectiveness acceptability curve indicated that RO DBT had a zero probability of being cost-effective compared with TAU at the NICE £30 000 threshold.
In its current resource-intensive form, RO DBT is not a cost-effective use of resources in the UK NHS.
Declaration of interest
R.H. is co-owner and director of Radically Open Ltd, the RO DBT training and dissemination company. D.K. reports grants outside the submitted work from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). T.L. receives royalties from New Harbinger Publishing for sales of RO DBT treatment manuals, speaking fees from Radically Open Ltd, and a grant outside the submitted work from the Medical Research Council. He was co-director of Radically Open Ltd between November 2014 and May 2015 and is married to Erica Smith-Lynch, the principal shareholder and one of two directors of Radically Open Ltd. H.O'M. reports personal fees outside the submitted work from the Charlie Waller Institute and Improving Access to Psychological Therapy. S.R. provides RO DBT supervision through her company S C Rushbrook Ltd. I.R. reports grants outside the submitted work from NIHR and Health & Care Research Wales. M. Stanton reports personal fees outside the submitted work from British Isles DBT Training, Stanton Psychological Services Ltd and Taylor & Francis. M. Swales reports personal fees outside the submitted work from British Isles DBT Training, Guilford Press, Oxford University Press and Taylor & Francis. B.W. was co-director of Radically Open Ltd between November 2014 and February 2015.
Individuals with depression often do not respond to medication or psychotherapy. Radically open dialectical behaviour therapy (RO DBT) is a new treatment targeting overcontrolled personality, common in refractory depression.
To compare RO DBT plus treatment as usual (TAU) for refractory depression with TAU alone (trial registration: ISRCTN 85784627).
RO DBT comprised 29 therapy sessions and 27 skills classes over 6 months. Our completed randomised trial evaluated RO DBT for refractory depression over 18 months in three British secondary care centres. Of 250 adult participants, we randomised 162 (65%) to RO DBT. The primary outcome was the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), assessed masked and analysed by treatment allocated.
After 7 months, immediately following therapy, RO DBT had significantly reduced depressive symptoms by 5.40 points on the HRSD relative to TAU (95% CI 0.94–9.85). After 12 months (primary end-point), the difference of 2.15 points on the HRSD in favour of RO DBT was not significant (95% CI –2.28 to 6.59); nor was that of 1.69 points on the HRSD at 18 months (95% CI –2.84 to 6.22). Throughout RO DBT participants reported significantly better psychological flexibility and emotional coping than controls. However, they reported eight possible serious adverse reactions compared with none in the control group.
The RO DBT group reported significantly lower HRSD scores than the control group after 7 months, but not thereafter. The imbalance in serious adverse reactions was probably because of the controls' limited opportunities to report these.
The cognitive process of worry, which keeps negative thoughts in mind and elaborates the content, contributes to the occurrence of many mental health disorders. Our principal aim was to develop a straightforward measure of general problematic worry suitable for research and clinical treatment. Our secondary aim was to develop a measure of problematic worry specifically concerning paranoid fears.
An item pool concerning worry in the past month was evaluated in 250 non-clinical individuals and 50 patients with psychosis in a worry treatment trial. Exploratory factor analysis and item response theory (IRT) informed the selection of scale items. IRT analyses were repeated with the scales administered to 273 non-clinical individuals, 79 patients with psychosis and 93 patients with social anxiety disorder. Other clinical measures were administered to assess concurrent validity. Test-retest reliability was assessed with 75 participants. Sensitivity to change was assessed with 43 patients with psychosis.
A 10-item general worry scale (Dunn Worry Questionnaire; DWQ) and a five-item paranoia worry scale (Paranoia Worries Questionnaire; PWQ) were developed. All items were highly discriminative (DWQ a = 1.98–5.03; PWQ a = 4.10–10.7), indicating small increases in latent worry lead to a high probability of item endorsement. The DWQ was highly informative across a wide range of the worry distribution, whilst the PWQ had greatest precision at clinical levels of paranoia worry. The scales demonstrated excellent internal reliability, test-retest reliability, concurrent validity and sensitivity to change.
The new measures of general problematic worry and worry about paranoid fears have excellent psychometric properties.
The relationship between depression and sexual behaviour among men who have sex with men (MSM) is poorly understood.
To investigate prevalence and correlates of depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire-9 score ≥10) and the relationship between depressive symptoms and sexual behaviour among MSM reporting recent sex.
The Attitudes to and Understanding of Risk of Acquisition of HIV (AURAH) is a cross-sectional study of UK genitourinary medicine clinic attendees without diagnosed HIV (2013–2014).
Among 1340 MSM, depressive symptoms (12.4%) were strongly associated with socioeconomic disadvantage and lower supportive network. Adjusted for key sociodemographic factors, depressive symptoms were associated with measures of condomless sex partners in the past 3 months (≥2 (prevalence ratio (PR) 1.42, 95% CI 1.17–1.74; P=0.001), unknown or HIV-positive status (PR 1.43, 95% CI 1.20–1.71; P<0.001)), sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis (PR 1.46, 95% CI 1.19–1.79; P<0.001) and post-exposure prophylaxis use in the past year (PR 1.83, 95% CI 1.33–2.50; P<0.001).
Management of mental health may play a role in HIV and STI prevention.
The public health burden of alcohol is unevenly distributed across the life course, with levels of use, abuse, and dependence increasing across adolescence and peaking in early adulthood. Here, we leverage this temporal patterning to search for common genetic variants predicting developmental trajectories of alcohol consumption. Comparable psychiatric evaluations measuring alcohol consumption were collected in three longitudinal community samples (N = 2,126, obs = 12,166). Consumption-repeated measurements spanning adolescence and early adulthood were analyzed using linear mixed models, estimating individual consumption trajectories, which were then tested for association with Illumina 660W-Quad genotype data (866,099 SNPs after imputation and QC). Association results were combined across samples using standard meta-analysis methods. Four meta-analysis associations satisfied our pre-determined genome-wide significance criterion (FDR < 0.1) and six others met our ‘suggestive’ criterion (FDR <0.2). Genome-wide significant associations were highly biological plausible, including associations within GABA transporter 1, SLC6A1 (solute carrier family 6, member 1), and exonic hits in LOC100129340 (mitofusin-1-like). Pathway analyses elaborated single marker results, indicating significant enriched associations to intuitive biological mechanisms, including neurotransmission, xenobiotic pharmacodynamics, and nuclear hormone receptors (NHR). These findings underscore the value of combining longitudinal behavioral data and genome-wide genotype information in order to study developmental patterns and improve statistical power in genomic studies.
Background: Transitioning from medical school to residency is difficult and stressful, necessitating innovation in easing this transition. In response, a Canadian neurosurgical Rookie Camp was designed and implemented to foster acquisition of technical, cognitive and behavioral skills among incoming Canadian post graduate year one (PGY-1) neurosurgery residents. Methods: The inaugural Rookie Camp was held in July 2012 in Halifax. The curriculum was developed based on a national needs-assessment and consisted of a pre-course manual, 7 case-based stations, 4 procedural skills stations and 2 group discussions. The content was clinically focused, used a variety of teaching methods, and addressed multiple CanMEDS competencies. Evaluation included participant and faculty surveys and a pre-course, post-course, and 3-month retention knowledge test. Results: 17 of 23 PGY-1 Canadian neurosurgical residents participated in the Camp. All agreed the course content was relevant for PGY-1 training and the experience prepared them for residency. All participants would recommend the course to future neurosurgical residents. A statistically significant improvement was observed in knowledge related to course content (F(2,32) = 7.572, p<0.002). There were no significant differences between post-test and retention-test scores at three months. Conclusion: The inaugural Canadian Neurosurgery Rookie Camp for PGY-1 residents was successfully delivered, with engagement from participants, training programs, the Canadian Neurosurgical Society, and the Royal College. In addition to providing fundamental knowledge, which was shown to be retained, the course eased junior residents’ transition to residency by fostering camaraderie and socialization within the specialty.
In this paper we undertake a quantitative analysis of the dynamic process by which ice underneath a dry porous debris layer melts. We show that the incorporation of debris-layer airflow into a theoretical model of glacial melting can capture the empirically observed features of the so-called Østrem curve (a plot of the melt rate as a function of debris depth). Specifically, we show that the turning point in the Østrem curve can be caused by two distinct mechanisms: the increase in the proportion of ice that is debris-covered and/or a reduction in the evaporative heat flux as the debris layer thickens. This second effect causes an increased melt rate because the reduction in (latent) energy used for evaporation increases the amount of energy available for melting. Our model provides an explicit prediction for the melt rate and the temperature distribution within the debris layer, and provides insight into the relative importance of the two effects responsible for the maximum in the Østrem curve. We use the data of Nicholson and Benn (2006) to show that our model is consistent with existing empirical measurements.
Background: Residents must develop a diverse range of skills in order to practice neurosurgery safely and effectively. The purpose of this study was to identify the foundational skills required for neurosurgical trainees as they transition from medical school to residency. Methods: Based on the CanMEDS competency framework, a web-based survey was distributed to all Canadian academic neurosurgical centers, targeting incoming and current PGY-1 neurosurgical residents as well as program directors. Using Likert scale and free-text responses, respondents rated the importance of various cognitive (e.g. management of raised intracranial pressure), technical (e.g. performing a lumbar puncture) and behavioral skills (e.g. obtaining informed consent) required for a PGY-1 neurosurgical resident. Results: Of 52 individuals contacted, 38 responses were received. Of these, 10 were from program directors (71%), 11 from current PGY-1 residents (58%) and 17 from incoming PGY-1 residents (89%). Respondents emphasized operative skills such as proper sterile technique and patient positioning; clinical skills such as lesion localization and interpreting neuro-imaging; management skills for common scenarios such as raised intracranial pressure and status epilepticus; and technical skills such as lumbar puncture and external ventricular drain placement. Free text answers were concordant with the Likert scale results. Discussion: We surveyed Canadian neurosurgical program directors and PGY-1 residents to identify areas perceived as foundational to neurosurgical residency education and training. This information is valuable for evaluating the appropriateness of a training program’s goals and objectives, as well as for generating a national educational curriculum for incoming PGY-1 residents.
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has been extensively described in healthcare settings; however, risk factors associated with community-acquired (CA) CDI remain uncertain. This study aimed to synthesize the current evidence for an association between commonly prescribed medications and comorbidities with CA-CDI.
A systematic search was conducted in 5 electronic databases for epidemiologic studies that examined the association between the presence of comorbidities and exposure to medications with the risk of CA-CDI. Pooled odds ratios were estimated using 3 meta-analytic methods. Subgroup analyses by location of studies and by life stages were conducted.
Twelve publications (n=56,776 patients) met inclusion criteria. Antimicrobial (odds ratio, 6.18; 95% CI, 3.80–10.04) and corticosteroid (1.81; 1.15–2.84) exposure were associated with increased risk of CA-CDI. Among the comorbidities, inflammatory bowel disease (odds ratio, 3.72; 95% CI, 1.52–9.12), renal failure (2.64; 1.23–5.68), hematologic cancer (1.75; 1.02–5.68), and diabetes mellitus (1.15; 1.05–1.27) were associated with CA-CDI. By location, antimicrobial exposure was associated with a higher risk of CA-CDI in the United States, whereas proton-pump inhibitor exposure was associated with a higher risk in Europe. By life stages, the risk of CA-CDI associated with antimicrobial exposure greatly increased in adults older than 65 years.
Antimicrobial exposure was the strongest risk factor associated with CA-CDI. Further studies are required to investigate the risk of CA-CDI associated with medications commonly prescribed in the community. Patients with diarrhea who have inflammatory bowel disease, renal failure, hematologic cancer, or diabetes are appropriate populations for interventional studies of screening.