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We report a significant advance in thermally insulating transparent materials: silica-based monoliths with controlled porosity which exhibit the transparency of windows in combination with a thermal conductivity comparable to aerogels.
The lack of transparent, thermally insulating windows leads to substantial heat loss in commercial and residential buildings, which accounts for ~4.2% of primary US energy consumption annually. The present study provides a potential solution to this problem by demonstrating that ambiently dried silica aerogel monoliths, i.e., ambigels, can simultaneously achieve high optical transparency and low thermal conductivity without supercritical drying. A combination of tetraethoxysilane, methyltriethoxysilane, and post-gelation surface modification precursors were used to synthesize ambiently dried materials with varying pore fractions and pore sizes. By controlling the synthesis and processing conditions, 0.5–3 mm thick mesoporous monoliths with transmittance >95% and a thermal conductivity of 0.04 W/(m K) were produced. A narrow pore size distribution, <15 nm, led to the excellent transparency and low haze, while porosity in excess of 80% resulted in low thermal conductivity. A thermal transport model considering fractal dimension and phonon-boundary scattering is proposed to explain the low effective thermal conductivity measured. This work offers new insights into the design of transparent, energy saving windows.
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 early and effective detection of neurocognitive disorders poses a key diagnostic challenge. We examined performance on common cognitive bedside tests according to differing delirium syndromal status and clinical (motor) subtypes in hospitalized elderly medical inpatients.
A battery of nine bedside cognitive tests was performed on elderly medical inpatients with DSM-IV delirium, subsyndromal delirium (SSD), and no delirium (ND). Patients with delirium were compared according to clinical (motor) subtypes.
A total of 198 patients (mean age 79.14 ± 8.26) were assessed with full syndromal delirium (FSD: n = 110), SSD (n = 45), and ND (n = 43). Delirium status was not associated with differences in terms of gender distribution, age, or overall medication use. Dementia burden increased with greater delirium status. Overall, the ability to meaningfully engage with the tests varied from 59% for the Vigilance B test to 85% for Spatial Span Forward test and was lowest in patients with FSD, where engagement ranged from 32% for the Vigilance B test to 77% for the Spatial Span Forwards test. The ND group was distinguished from SSD group for the Months of the year backwards, Vigilance B, global VSP, Clock Drawing test, and Interlocking Pentagons test. The SSD group was distinguished from the FSD group by Vigilance A, Spatial Span Forward, and Spatial Span Backwards. Regarding differences among motor subtypes in terms of percentage engagement and performance, the No subtype group had higher ratings across all tests. Delirious patients with no subtype had significantly lower scores on the DRS-R98 than for the other three subtype categories.
Simple bedside tests of attention, vigilance, and visuospatial ability are useful in distinguishing neurocognitive disorders, including SSD from other presentations.
OBJECTIVES/SPECIFIC AIMS: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients are at an increased risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) but the impact of CDI on disease severity is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of CDI on long-term disease outcome in a cohort of IBD patients. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: We analyzed patients enrolled in a prospective IBD natural history registry. Patients who tested positive at least once formed the CDI positive group. We generated a 2:1 propensity matched control cohort based on risk factors of CDI in the year before infection. Healthcare utilization data (emergency department use, subsequent hospitalizations, telephone encounters), medications, labs, disease activity, and quality of life metrics were temporally organized. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: A total of 198 patients (66 CDI, 132 matched controls) were included [56.6% female; 60.1% Crohn’s disease (CD), 39.9% ulcerative colitis (UC)]. Groups were not significantly different in the year before infection in all metrics but in the year of infection, having CDI was significantly associated with more steroid and antibiotic exposure, elevated C-reactive protein or erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and low vitamin D (all p<0.01). Infection was associated with increased disease activity metrics (UC: p=0.036, CD: p=0.003), worse disease-related quality of life (p=0.003), and increased healthcare utilization (p<0.001). In the next year after infection those with prior CDI continued to have increased exposure to vancomycin or fidaxomicin (p<0.001) and all other antibiotics (p=0.01). They also continued to have more clinic visits (p=0.006), telephone encounters (p=0.001), and worse disease-related quality of life (p=0.03), but disease activity and biomarkers of severity were not significantly different between groups. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF IMPACT: CDI infection in IBD is significantly associated with various surrogate markers of disease severity, increased healthcare utilization and poor quality of life during the year of infection. CDI patients continue to experience poor quality of life after infection with increased clinic visits and antibiotic exposure while disease activity is no longer significantly increased. These findings suggest that CDI infection may have a lasting effect on healthcare utilization beyond the acute treatment period.
Persecutory delusions may be unfounded threat beliefs maintained by
safety-seeking behaviours that prevent disconfirmatory evidence being
successfully processed. Use of virtual reality could facilitate new
To test the hypothesis that enabling patients to test the threat
predictions of persecutory delusions in virtual reality social
environments with the dropping of safety-seeking behaviours (virtual
reality cognitive therapy) would lead to greater delusion reduction than
exposure alone (virtual reality exposure).
Conviction in delusions and distress in a real-world situation were
assessed in 30 patients with persecutory delusions. Patients were then
randomised to virtual reality cognitive therapy or virtual reality
exposure, both with 30 min in graded virtual reality social environments.
Delusion conviction and real-world distress were then reassessed.
In comparison with exposure, virtual reality cognitive therapy led to
large reductions in delusional conviction (reduction 22.0%,
P = 0.024, Cohen's d = 1.3) and
real-world distress (reduction 19.6%, P = 0.020, Cohen's
d = 0.8).
Cognitive therapy using virtual reality could prove highly effective in
Delirium is a common neuropsychiatric syndrome that includes clinical subtypes identified by the Delirium Motor Subtyping Scale (DMSS). We explored the concordance between the DMSS and an abbreviated 4-item version in elderly medical inpatients.
Elderly general medical admissions (n = 145) were assessed for delirium using the Revised Delirium Rating scale (DRS-R98). Clinical subtype was assessed with the DMSS (which includes the four items included in the DMSS-4). Motor subtypes were generated for all patient assessments using both versions of the scale. The concordance of the original and abbreviated DMSS was examined.
The agreement between the DMSS and DMSS-4 was high, both at initial and subsequent assessments (κ range 0.75–0.91). Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) for all three raters for the DMSS was high (0.70) and for DMSS-4 was moderate (0.59). Analysis of the agreement between raters for individual DMSS items found higher concordance in respect of hypoactive features compared to hyperactive.
The DMSS-4 allows for rapid assessment of clinical subtype in delirium and has high concordance with the longer and well-validated DMSS, including over longitudinal assessment. There is good inter-rater reliability between medical and nursing staff. More consistent clinical subtyping can facilitate better delirium management and more focused research effort.
Background: Ruminative negative thinking has typically been considered as a factor maintaining common emotional disorders and has recently been shown to maintain persecutory delusions in psychosis. The Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire (PTQ) (Ehring et al., 2011) is a transdiagnostic measure of ruminative negative thinking that shows promise as a “content-free” measure of ruminative negative thinking. Aims: The PTQ has not previously been studied in a psychosis patient group. In this study we report for the first time on the psychometric properties of Ehring et al.'s PTQ in such a group. Method: The PTQ was completed by 142 patients with current persecutory delusions and 273 non-clinical participants. Participants also completed measures of worry and paranoia. A confirmatory factor analysis was performed on the clinical group's PTQ responses to assess the factor structure of the measure. Differences between groups were used to assess criterion reliability. Results: A three lower-order factor structure of the PTQ (core characteristics of ruminative negative thinking, perceived unproductiveness, and capturing mental capacity) was replicated in the clinical sample. Patients with persecutory delusions were shown to experience significantly higher levels of ruminative negative thinking on the PTQ than the general population sample. The PTQ demonstrated high internal reliability. Conclusions: This study did not include test-retest data, and did not compare the PTQ against a measure of depressive rumination but, nevertheless, lends support for the validity of the PTQ as a measure of negative ruminative thinking in patients with psychosis.
Research suggests that the way in which cognitive therapy is delivered is an important factor in determining outcomes. We test the hypotheses in which the development of a shared problem list, use of case formulation, homework tasks and active intervention strategies will act as process variables.
Presence of these components during therapy is taken from therapist notes. The direct and indirect effect of the intervention is estimated by an instrumental variable analysis.
A significant decrease in the symptom score for case formulation (coefficient =–23, 95% CI –44 to –1.7, P = 0.036) and homework (coefficient =–0.26, 95% CI –0.51 to –0.001, P = 0.049) is found. Improvement with the inclusion of active change strategies is of borderline significance (coefficient =–0.23, 95% CI –0.47 to 0.005, P = 0.056).
There is a greater treatment effect if formulation and homework are involved in therapy. However, high correlation between components means that these may be indicators of overall treatment fidelity.
More than 50% of total input energy is wasted as heat in various industrial processes. If we could harness a small fraction of the waste heat while satisfying the economic demands of cost versus performance, then thermoelectric (TE) power generation could bring substantial positive impacts. To meet these demands single-crystal semiconductor nanowire networks have been investigated as a method to achieve advanced TE devices because of their predicted large reduction in thermal conductivity and increase in power factor.
To further our goal of developing practical and economical TE devices, we designed and developed a material platform that combined a semiconductor nanowire network and a semiconductor thin film integrated directly on a mechanically flexible metallic substrate. We assessed the potential of this platform by using indium phosphide (InP) nanowire networks and a doped poly-silicon (poly-Si) thin film combined on copper sheets. InP nanowires were grown by metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). In the nanowire network, InP nanowires were grown in three-dimensional networks in which electrical charges and heat travel under the influence of their characteristic scattering mechanisms over a distance much longer than the mean length of the constituent nanowires. Subsequently, plasma-assisted CVD was utilized to form a poly-Si thin film to prevent electrical shorting when an ohmic copper top contact was made. An additional facet to this design is the utilization of multiple materials to address the various temperature ranges at which each material is most efficient at heat-to-energy conversion. The utilization of multiple materials could enable the enhancement of total power generation for a given temperature gradient. We investigated the use of poly-Si thin films combined with InP nanowires to enhance TE properties. TE power production and challenges of a large area nanowire device on a flexible metallic substrate were presented.
Relatives of people with psychosis experience high levels of distress and require support. Family interventions have been shown to be effective in improving outcomes but are difficult to access and not suitable for all relatives.
To assess the feasibility and effectiveness of a supported self-management package for relatives of people with recent-onset psychosis.
A randomised controlled trial (n = 103) comparing treatment as usual (TAU) in early intervention services with TAU plus the Relatives' Education And Coping Toolkit (REACT) intervention (trial identifier: ISRCTN69299093).
Compared with TAU only, those receiving the additional REACT intervention showed reduced distress and increased perceived support and perceived ability to cope at 6-month follow-up.
The toolkit is a feasible and potentially effective intervention to improve outcomes for relatives. A larger trial is needed to reliably assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of REACT, and its impact on longer-term outcomes.
Aims: Problem or pathological gambling is associated with significant disruption to the individual, family and community with a range of adverse outcomes, including legal, financial and mental health impairment. It occurs more frequently in younger populations, and comorbid conditions are common. Cognitive–behaviour therapy (CBT) is the most empirically established class of treatments for problematic gambling. This article reports on a systematic review and evaluation of randomised clinical trials (RCTs) concerning two core techniques of CBT: cognitive and behavioural (exposure-based) therapies. Methods: PsycINFO, MEDLINE and the Cochrane library were searched from database inception to December 2012. The CONsolidated Standards Of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) for non-pharmacological treatments was used to evaluate each study. Results: The initial search identified 104 references. After two screening phases, seven RCTs evaluating either cognitive (n = 3), exposure (n = 3) or both (n = 1) interventions remained. The studies were published between 1983 and 2003 and conducted across Australia, Canada, and Spain. On average, approximately 31% of CONSORT items were rated as ‘absent’ for each study and more than 52% rated as ‘present with some limitations’. For all studies, 70.83% of items rated as ‘absent’ were in the methods section. Conclusions: The findings from this review of randomised clinical trials involving cognitive and exposure-based treatments for gambling disorders show that the current evidence base is limited. Trials with low risk of bias are needed to be reported before recommendations are given on their effectiveness and clinicians can appraise their potential utility with confidence.
Background: Substantial epidemiological research has shown that psychotic experiences are more common in densely populated areas. Many patients with persecutory delusions find it difficult to enter busy social urban settings. The stress and anxiety caused by being outside lead many patients to remain in-doors. We therefore developed a brief CBT intervention, based upon a formulation of the way urban environments cause stress and anxiety, to help patients with paranoid thoughts to feel less distressed when outside in busy streets. Aims: The aim was to pilot the new intervention for feasibility and acceptability and gather preliminary outcome data. Method: Fifteen patients with persecutory delusions in the context of a schizophrenia diagnosis took part. All patients first went outside to test their reactions, received the intervention, and then went outside again. Results: The intervention was considered useful by the patients. There was evidence that going outside after the intervention led to less paranoid responses than the initial exposure, but this was only statistically significant for levels of distress. Conclusions: Initial evidence was obtained that a brief CBT module specifically focused on helping patients with paranoia go outside is feasible, acceptable, and may have clinical benefits. However, it could not be determined from this small feasibility study that any observed improvements were due to the CBT intervention. Challenges in this area and future work required are outlined.
Background: Research suggests that core schemas are important in both the development and maintenance of psychosis. Aims: The aim of the study was to investigate and compare core schemas in four groups along the continuum of psychosis and examine the relationships between schemas and positive psychotic symptomatology. Method: A measure of core schemas was distributed to 20 individuals experiencing first-episode psychosis (FEP), 113 individuals with “at risk mental states” (ARMS), 28 participants forming a help-seeking clinical group (HSC), and 30 non-help-seeking individuals who endorse some psychotic-like experiences (NH). Results: The clinical groups scored significantly higher than the NH group for negative beliefs about self and about others. No significant effects of group on positive beliefs about others were found. For positive beliefs about the self, the NH group scored significantly higher than the clinical groups. Furthermore, negative beliefs about self and others were related to positive psychotic symptomatology and to distress related to those experiences. Conclusions: Negative evaluations of the self and others appear to be characteristic of the appraisals of people seeking help for psychosis and psychosis-like experiences. The results support the literature that suggests that self-esteem should be a target for intervention. Future research would benefit from including comparison groups of people experiencing chronic psychosis and people who do not have any psychotic-like experiences.
Schistosomiasis is the generic name given to diseases caused by parasitic blood flukes of the genus Schistosoma. An older name, still widely used in Africa, is bilharzia. Of the three major species that commonly infect humans, two occur predominantly in Africa:
S. mansoni, a cause of intestinal schistosomiasis, also found in Brazil and the Caribbean; and
S. haematobium, the cause of urinary schistosomiasis, also found in the Middle East.
The third major species, S. japonicum, causes another form of intestinal schistosomiasis but is found only in the Far East. A minor species, S. intercalatum, causes infection but insignificant disease in small areas of Central Africa.
Schistosomiasis is typically a chronic infection. Adult worms slowly accumulate from early childhood over a period of 10 to 20 years, and the deposition of eggs in the tissues leads to fibrosis in the intestines and liver (S. mansoni) or the urinary tract (S. haematobium). Mild or moderate symptoms occur in most infected children: severe disease develops in later life in only a minority of these individuals. For detailed reviews of different aspects, the reader is referred to books edited by Jordan et al. (1993) and Mahmoud (2001).