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Advanced imaging techniques are enhancing research capacity focussed on the developmental origins of adult health and disease (DOHaD) hypothesis, and consequently increasing awareness of future health risks across various subareas of DOHaD research themes. Understanding how these advanced imaging techniques in animal models and human population studies can be both additively and synergistically used alongside traditional techniques in DOHaD-focussed laboratories is therefore of great interest. Global experts in advanced imaging techniques congregated at the advanced imaging workshop at the 2019 DOHaD World Congress in Melbourne, Australia. This review summarizes the presentations of new imaging modalities and novel applications to DOHaD research and discussions had by DOHaD researchers that are currently utilizing advanced imaging techniques including MRI, hyperpolarized MRI, ultrasound, and synchrotron-based techniques to aid their DOHaD research focus.
Evidence-based treatment for panic disorder consists of disorder-specific cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) protocols. However, most measures of CBT competence are generic and there is a clear need for disorder-specific assessment measures.
To fill this gap, we evaluated the psychometric properties of the Cognitive Therapy Competence Scale (CTCP) for panic disorder.
CBT trainees (n = 60) submitted audio recordings of CBT for panic disorder that were scored on a generic competence measure, the Cognitive Therapy Scale – Revised (CTS-R), and the CTCP by markers with experience in CBT practice and evaluation. Trainees also provided pre- to post-treatment clinical outcomes on disorder-specific patient report measures for cases corresponding to their therapy recordings.
The CTCP exhibited strong internal consistency (α = .79–.91) and inter-rater reliability (ICC = .70–.88). The measure demonstrated convergent validity with the CTS-R (r = .40–.54), although investigation into competence classification indicated that the CTCP may be more sensitive at detecting competence for panic disorder-specific CBT skills. Notably, the CTCP demonstrated the first indication of a relationship between therapist competence and clinical outcome for panic disorder (r = .29–.35); no relationship was found for the CTS-R.
These findings provide initial support for the reliability and validity of the CTCP for assessing therapist competence in CBT for panic disorder and support the use of anxiety disorder-specific competence measures. Further investigation into the psychometric properties of the measure in other therapist cohorts and its relationship with clinical outcomes is recommended.
Prospectively acquired Canadian cerebrospinal fluid samples were used to assess the performance characteristics of three ante-mortem tests commonly used to support diagnoses of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. The utility of the end-point quaking-induced conversion assay as a test for Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease diagnoses was compared to that of immunoassays designed to detect increased amounts of the surrogate markers 14-3-3γ and hTau. The positive predictive values of the end-point quaking-induced conversion, 14-3-3γ, and hTau tests conducted at the Prion Diseases Section of the Public Health Agency of Canada were 96%, 68%, and 66%, respectively.
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.
Remote delivery of evidence-based psychological therapies via video conference has become particularly relevant following the COVID-19 pandemic, and is likely to be an on-going method of treatment delivery post-COVID. Remotely delivered therapy could be of particular benefit for people with social anxiety disorder (SAD), who tend to avoid or delay seeking face-to-face therapy, often due to anxiety about travelling to appointments and meeting mental health professionals in person. Individual cognitive therapy for SAD (CT-SAD), based on the Clark and Wells (1995) model, is a highly effective treatment that is recommended as a first-line intervention in NICE guidance (NICE, 2013). All of the key features of face-to-face CT-SAD (including video feedback, attention training, behavioural experiments and memory-focused techniques) can be adapted for remote delivery. In this paper, we provide guidance for clinicians on how to deliver CT-SAD remotely, and suggest novel ways for therapists and patients to overcome the challenges of carrying out a range of behavioural experiments during remote treatment delivery.
Key learning aims
(1) To learn how to deliver all of the core interventions of CT-SAD remotely.
(2) To learn novel ways of carrying out behavioural experiments remotely when some in-person social situations might not be possible.
Around a quarter of patients treated in intensive care units (ICUs) will develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Given the dramatic increase in ICU admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians are likely to see a rise in post-ICU PTSD cases in the coming months. Post-ICU PTSD can present various challenges to clinicians, and no clinical guidelines have been published for delivering trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy with this population. In this article, we describe how to use cognitive therapy for PTSD (CT-PTSD), a first line treatment for PTSD recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Using clinical case examples, we outline the key techniques involved in CT-PTSD, and describe their application to treating patients with PTSD following ICU.
Key learning aims
(1) To recognise PTSD following admissions to intensive care units (ICUs).
(2) To understand how the ICU experience can lead to PTSD development.
(3) To understand how Ehlers and Clark’s (2000) cognitive model of PTSD can be applied to post-ICU PTSD.
(4) To be able to apply cognitive therapy for PTSD to patients with post-ICU PTSD.
This study examines the distribution options of 85 large public retirement plans covering general state employees, teachers, and local government employees. The interest rates used to price annuities vary considerably across the plans. As a result, retirees with the same monthly benefit if a single life benefit is chosen will have substantially different monthly benefits if they select a joint and survivor annuity. We examine the impact of variation in the pricing of annuity options using both cross-plan differences in interest rates and the change in the choice of annuity options in one plan after the price of options changes due to new assumed interest rates and mortality rates.
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.
Major depressive disorder and neuroticism (Neu) share a large genetic basis. We sought to determine whether this shared basis could be decomposed to identify genetic factors that are specific to depression.
We analysed summary statistics from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of depression (from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 23andMe and UK Biobank) and compared them with GWAS of Neu (from UK Biobank). First, we used a pairwise GWAS analysis to classify variants as associated with only depression, with only Neu or with both. Second, we estimated partial genetic correlations to test whether the depression's genetic link with other phenotypes was explained by shared overlap with Neu.
We found evidence that most genomic regions (25/37) associated with depression are likely to be shared with Neu. The overlapping common genetic variance of depression and Neu was genetically correlated primarily with psychiatric disorders. We found that the genetic contributions to depression, that were not shared with Neu, were positively correlated with metabolic phenotypes and cardiovascular disease, and negatively correlated with the personality trait conscientiousness. After removing shared genetic overlap with Neu, depression still had a specific association with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, coronary artery disease and age of first birth. Independent of depression, Neu had specific genetic correlates in ulcerative colitis, pubertal growth, anorexia and education.
Our findings demonstrate that, while genetic risk factors for depression are largely shared with Neu, there are also non-Neu-related features of depression that may be useful for further patient or phenotypic stratification.
Individual differences in cognitive responses to trauma may represent modifiable risk factors that could allow early identification, targeted early treatment and possibly prevention of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ehlers and Clark's cognitive model of PTSD suggests that negative appraisals, disjointed trauma memories, and unhelpful coping strategies maintain PTSD. These are thought to be influenced by cognitive processing during trauma. The aim of this study was to test this model prospectively with path analyses.
Participants (N = 828) were recruited from an emergency department following injury in a violent assault or road traffic collision and 700 participated in the 6-month assessments. Cognitive processing was assessed shortly after the event, negative appraisals, disjointed memories, and unhelpful coping strategies at 1 month, persistent PTSD symptom severity at 6 months, and early PTSD symptom severity at 2 weeks.
Cognitive variables, with trauma type and gender, explained 52% of the variance in PTSD symptom severity at 6 months. Including early symptom severity in the model did not explain more variance (53%). Early PTSD symptom severity, with trauma type and gender, only predicted 40%. Negative appraisals and disjointed memories predicted persistent symptom severity both directly and indirectly via unhelpful strategies. Peritraumatic processing predicted persistent symptom severity mainly indirectly. The effects of trauma type and gender were fully mediated by the cognitive factors.
The results are consistent with theoretically derived predictions and support cognitive factors as indicators of risk for chronic PTSD and as a target for the treatment and prevention of PTSD.
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.
There is international interest in the training of psychological therapists to deliver evidence-based treatment for common mental health problems. The UK Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, one of the largest training initiatives, relies on competent therapists to successfully deliver cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and promote good patient outcome.
To evaluate an IAPT CBT training course by assessing if trainees’ clinical skills improve during training and reach competency standards, and to report patient outcome for submitted training cases. To investigate a possible relationship between trainee competence and patient outcome. To explore professional differences during training.
CBT trainee (n = 252) competence was assessed via audio recordings of therapy sessions at the beginning, middle and end of training. Patient pre- to post-treatment outcomes were extracted from submitted training cases (n = 1927). Differences in professional background were examined across competence, academic final grade and tutorial support.
CBT trainees attained competence by the end of the course with 77% (anxiety recordings) and 72% (depression recordings) improving reliably. Training cases reported pre- to post-treatment effect sizes of 1.08–2.26 across disorders. CBT competence predicted a small variance in clinical outcome for depression cases. Differences in professional background emerged, with clinical psychologists demonstrating greater competence and higher academic grades. Trainees without a core professional background required more additional support to achieve competence.
Part of a new CBT therapist workforce was successfully trained to deliver relatively brief treatment effectively. Trainees without a core profession can be successfully trained to competence, but may need additional support. This has implications for workforce training.
Since the introduction of laser-assisted atom probe, analysis of nonconductive materials by atom probe tomography (APT) has become more routine. To obtain high-quality data, a number of acquisition variables needs to be optimized for the material of interest, and for the specific question being addressed. Here, the rutile (TiO2) reference material ‘Windmill Hill Quartzite,’ used for secondary ion mass spectrometry U–Pb dating and laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, was analyzed by laser-assisted APT to constrain optimal running conditions. Changes in acquisition parameters such as laser energy and detection rate are evaluated in terms of their effect on background noise, ionization state, hit-multiplicity, and thermal tails. Higher laser energy results in the formation of more complex molecular ions and affects the ionization charge state. At lower energies, background noise and hit-multiplicity increase, but thermal tails shorten. There are also correlations between the acquisition voltage and several of these metrics, which remain to be fully understood. The results observed when varying the acquisition parameters will be discussed in detail in the context of utilizing APT analysis of rutile within geology.
Movement disorders associated with exposure to antipsychotic drugs are common and stigmatising but underdiagnosed.
To develop and evaluate a new clinical procedure, the ScanMove instrument, for the screening of antipsychotic-associated movement disorders for use by mental health nurses.
Item selection and content validity assessment for the ScanMove instrument were conducted by a panel of neurologists, psychiatrists and a mental health nurse, who operationalised a 31-item screening procedure. Interrater reliability was measured on ratings for 30 patients with psychosis from ten mental health nurses evaluating video recordings of the procedure. Criterion and concurrent validity were tested comparing the ScanMove instrument-based rating of 13 mental health nurses for 635 community patients from mental health services with diagnostic judgement of a movement disorder neurologist based on the ScanMove instrument and a reference procedure comprising a selection of commonly used rating scales.
Interreliability analysis showed no systematic difference between raters in their prediction of any antipsychotic-associated movement disorders category. On criterion validity testing, the ScanMove instrument showed good sensitivity for parkinsonism (90%) and hyperkinesia (89%), but not for akathisia (38%), whereas specificity was low for parkinsonism and hyperkinesia, and moderate for akathisia.
The ScanMove instrument demonstrated good feasibility and interrater reliability, and acceptable sensitivity as a mental health nurse-administered screening tool for parkinsonism and hyperkinesia.
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.
In Ireland, National Clinical Programmes are being established to improve and standardise patient care throughout the Health Service Executive. In line with internationally recognised guidelines on the treatment of first episode psychosis the Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) programme is being drafted with a view to implementation by mental health services across the country. We undertook a review of patients presenting with a first episode of psychosis to the Dublin Southwest Mental Health Service before the implementation of the EIP. This baseline information will be used to measure the efficacy of our EIP programme.
Patients who presented with a first episode psychosis were retrospectively identified through case note reviews and consultation with treating teams. We gathered demographic and clinical information from patients as well as data on treatment provision over a 2-year period from the time of first presentation. Data included age at first presentation, duration of untreated psychosis, diagnosis, referral source, antipsychotic prescribing rates and dosing, rates of provision of psychological interventions and standards of physical healthcare monitoring. Outcome measures with regards to rates of admission over a 2-year period following initial presentation were also recorded.
In total, 66 cases were identified. The majority were male, single, unemployed and living with their family or spouse. The mean age at first presentation was 31 years with a mean duration of untreated psychosis of 17 months. Just under one-third were diagnosed with schizophrenia. Approximately half of the patients had no contact with a health service before presentation. The majority of patients presented through the emergency department. Two-thirds of all patients had a hospital admission within 2 years of presentation and almost one quarter of patients had an involuntary admission. The majority of patients were prescribed antipsychotic doses within recommended British National Formulary guidelines. Most patients received individual support through their keyworker and family intervention was provided in the majority of cases. Only a small number received formal Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. Physical healthcare monitoring was insufficiently recorded in the majority of patients.
There is a shortage of information on the profile and treatment of patients presenting with a first episode of psychosis in Ireland. This baseline information is important in evaluating the efficacy of any new programme for this patient group. Many aspects of good practice were identified within the service in particular with regards to the appropriate prescribing of antipsychotic medication and the rates of family intervention. Deficiencies remain however in the monitoring of physical health and the provision of formal psychological interventions to patients. With the implementation of an EIP programme it is hoped that service provision would improve nationwide and to internationally recognised standards.
The StratEx program used a self-contained space suit and balloon system to loft pilot Alan Eustace to a record-breaking altitude and skydive from 135,897 feet (41,422 m). After releasing from the balloon and a stabilized freefall, the pilot safely landed using a parachute system based on a modified tandem parachute rig. A custom spacesuit provided life support using a similar system to NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Washington, DC USA) Extravehicular Mobility Unit. It also provided tracking, communications, and connection to the parachute system. A recovery support team, including at least two medical personnel and two spacesuit technicians, was charged with reaching the pilot within five minutes of touchdown to extract him from the suit and provide treatment for any injuries. The team had to track the flight at all times, be prepared to respond in case of premature release, and to operate in any terrain. Crew recovery operations were planned and tailored to anticipate outcomes during this novel event in a systematic fashion, through scenario and risk analysis, in order to minimize the probability and impact of injury. This analysis, detailed here, helped the team configure recovery assets, refine navigation and tracking systems, develop procedures, and conduct training. An extensive period of testing and practice culminated in three manned flights leading to a successful mission and setting the record for exit altitude, distance of fall with stabilizing device, and vertical speed with a stabilizing device. During this mission, recovery teams reached the landing spot within one minute, extracted the pilot, and confirmed that he was not injured. This strategy is presented as an approach to prehospital planning and care for improved safety during crew recovery in novel, extreme events.
AntonsenEL. Crew Recovery and Contingency Planning for a Manned Stratospheric Balloon Flight – the StratEx Program. Prehosp Disaster Med.2016;31(5):524–531.
Background: The UK Department of Health Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative set out to train a large number of therapists in cognitive behaviour therapies (CBT) for depression and anxiety disorders. Little is currently known about the retention of IAPT CBT trainees, or the use of CBT skills acquired on the course in the workplace after training has finished. Aims: This study set out to conduct a follow-up survey of past CBT trainees on the IAPT High Intensity CBT Course at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King's College London (KCL), one of the largest IAPT High Intensity courses in the UK. Method: Past trainees (n = 212) across 6 cohorts (2008-2014 intakes) were contacted and invited to participate in a follow-up survey. A response rate of 92.5% (n = 196) was achieved. Results: The vast majority of IAPT trainees continue to work in IAPT services posttraining (79%) and to practise CBT as their main therapy modality (94%); 61% have become CBT supervisors. A minority (23%) have progressed to other senior roles in the services. Shortcomings are reported in the use of out-of-office CBT interventions, the use of disorder-specific outcome measures and therapy recordings to inform therapy and supervision. Conclusions: Past trainees stay working in IAPT services and continue to use CBT methods taught on the course. Some NICE recommended treatment procedures that are likely to facilitate patients’ recovery are not being routinely implemented across IAPT services. The results have implications for the continued roll out of the IAPT programme, and other future large scale training initiatives.
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