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To identify genetic risk loci for major depressive disorder (MDD), two broad study design approaches have been applied: (1) to maximize sample size by combining data from different phenotype assessment modalities (e.g. clinical interview, self-report questionnaires) and (2) to reduce phenotypic heterogeneity through selecting more homogenous MDD subtypes. The value of these strategies has been debated. In this review, we summarize the most recent findings of large genomic studies that applied these approaches, and we highlight the merits and pitfalls of both approaches with particular attention to methodological and psychometric issues. We also discuss the results of analyses that investigated the heterogeneity of MDD. We conclude that both study designs are essential for further research. So far, increasing sample size has led to the identification of a relatively high number of genomic loci linked to depression. However, part of the identified variants may be related to a phenotype common to internalizing disorders and related traits. As such, samples containing detailed clinical information are needed to dissect depression heterogeneity and enable the potential identification of variants specific to a more restricted MDD phenotype. A balanced portfolio reconciling both study design approaches is the optimal approach to progress further in unraveling the genetic architecture of depression.
In a large and comprehensively assessed sample of patients with bipolar disorder type I (BDI), we investigated the prevalence of psychotic features and their relationship with life course, demographic, clinical, and cognitive characteristics. We hypothesized that groups of psychotic symptoms (Schneiderian, mood incongruent, thought disorder, delusions, and hallucinations) have distinct relations to risk factors.
In a cross-sectional study of 1342 BDI patients, comprehensive demographical and clinical characteristics were assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-I) interview. In addition, levels of childhood maltreatment and intelligence quotient (IQ) were assessed. The relationships between these characteristics and psychotic symptoms were analyzed using multiple general linear models.
A lifetime history of psychotic symptoms was present in 73.8% of BDI patients and included delusions in 68.9% of patients and hallucinations in 42.6%. Patients with psychotic symptoms showed a significant younger age of disease onset (β = −0.09, t = −3.38, p = 0.001) and a higher number of hospitalizations for manic episodes (F11 338 = 56.53, p < 0.001). Total IQ was comparable between groups. Patients with hallucinations had significant higher levels of childhood maltreatment (β = 0.09, t = 3.04, p = 0.002).
In this large cohort of BDI patients, the vast majority of patients had experienced psychotic symptoms. Psychotic symptoms in BDI were associated with an earlier disease onset and more frequent hospitalizations particularly for manic episodes. The study emphasizes the strength of the relation between childhood maltreatment and hallucinations but did not identify distinct subgroups based on psychotic features and instead reported of a large heterogeneity of psychotic symptoms in BD.
Motivated by the question of what drives the winds of Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars, I have been investigating the structure of WR winds. Observational evidence has been accumulated which demonstrates that the winds of some (but not all) WR stars are not spherically symmetric or homogeneous. I review results of work in the literature pertaining to the detection of such wind asymmetries in single WR stars and WR binary components. Particular emphasis is placed on the technique of spectropolarimetry, and how it has contributed to our knowledge of the wind-geometry of WR stars.
We present the first results of an ongoing survey of the linear polarization properties of symbiotic stars. With these multifilter optical measurements, we aim to obtain a statistically significant sample from which to study the nature and geometrical arrangement of their circumstellar matter and its relationship to the stellar components. Up to now, the observations show.
Recent observational efforts have presented new results concerning (linear) polarization variations as a function of time as well as wavelength that have considerable impact on WR star models:
Polarimetry throughout orbital phase has provided inclinations of double-line spectroscopic binaries containing WR stars with O star companions, thus improving our understanding of the masses and evolution of WR binaries (Schulte-Ladbeck 1989, A.J. 97, 1471). New binary-model calculations were presented at the meeting and continuing comparison with observations should prove productive.
We present the results of a tailored analysis of the spectra of WR40 (HD 96548, WN8) utilizing new line blanketed non-LTE model atmospheres. Synthetic spectra are compared with observation from 900 to 10,000 Å, with emphasis on far-UV HUT observations and the IUE regime. We identify the important line complexes in this region and deduce the Fe abundance. Improved stellar parameters and abundances of other metals are determined. A comparison of our new model results with non-line blanketed results is made.
We present preliminary statistical results of an ongoing polarimetric survey of symbiotics. So far, 38% of the known symbiotics have had their polarization measured at least once. About 40% of S and D types show some intrinsic polarization while only one of the five measured D’ types is polarized. R Aqr is still the only symbiotic with strong, variable polarization.
We have taken advantage of the high spatial resolution attainable with the HST to map the linear polarization in the V band across the nebulosity surrounding Eta Car. There are several new results related to polarization variations on different size scales. First, we present a two-dimensional map of the amount and position angle of the polarization across the Homunculus. Second, we provide measurements of the polarization within prominent features such as the “jet”, the “paddle”, the “skirt”, and the “spot” in the south-eastern lobe. Third, we comment on polarization variations associated with the small-scale structure that can be seen in HST images (and which gives the lobes their cauliflower-like appearance). The new data provide insight into the three-dimensional distribution of dust about Eta Car.
Of the more than 100 symbiotic stars now known in our Galaxy, only two have previously been reported to contain carbon stars as their cool components. We here present observations of a third such object, which we wish to call Weaver’s star since Weaver (1972) first identified it as a symbiotic.
Schizophrenia is associated with lower intelligence and poor educational performance relative to the general population. This is, to a lesser degree, also found in first-degree relatives of schizophrenia patients. It is unclear whether bipolar disorder I (BD-I) patients and their relatives have similar lower intellectual and educational performance as that observed in schizophrenia.
This cross-sectional study investigated intelligence and educational performance in two outpatient samples [494 BD-I patients, 952 schizophrenia spectrum (SCZ) patients], 2231 relatives of BD-I and SCZ patients, 1104 healthy controls and 100 control siblings. Mixed-effects and regression models were used to compare groups on intelligence and educational performance.
BD-I patients were more likely to have completed the highest level of education (odds ratio 1.88, 95% confidence interval 1.66–2.70) despite having a lower IQ compared to controls (β = −9.09, s.e. = 1.27, p < 0.001). In contrast, SCZ patients showed both a lower IQ (β = −15.31, s.e. = 0.86, p < 0.001) and lower educational levels compared to controls. Siblings of both patient groups had significantly lower IQ than control siblings, but did not differ on educational performance. IQ scores did not differ between BD-I parents and SCZ parents, but BD-I parents had completed higher educational levels.
Although BD-I patients had a lower IQ than controls, they were more likely to have completed the highest level of education. This contrasts with SCZ patients, who showed both intellectual and educational deficits compared to healthy controls. Since relatives of BD-I patients did not demonstrate superior educational performance, our data suggest that high educational performance may be a distinctive feature of bipolar disorder patients.
Previous research has demonstrated an association between low motivation to change and an unfavorable treatment outcome in patients with an eating disorder. Consequently, various studies have examined the effects of motivational enhancement therapy (MET) on motivation to change and treatment outcome in eating disorders. In each of these studies, MET was administered in a face-to-face setting. However, because of its anonymity and ease of access, the internet provides several advantages as the format for such an intervention. Therefore, the current study investigated the effects of an internet-based program (‘ESS-KIMO’) to enhance motivation to change in eating disorders.
In total, 212 females were accepted for participation and assigned randomly to the intervention condition (n = 103) or waiting-list control condition (n = 109). The intervention consisted of six online MET sessions. Before and after the intervention or waiting period respectively, participants completed the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q), the Stages of Change Questionnaire for Eating Disorders (SOCQ-ED), the Pros and Cons of Eating Disorders Scale (P-CED), the Self-Efficacy Scale (SES), and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES). A total of 125 participants completed the assessment post-treatment. Completer analyses and intent-to-treat analyses were performed.
Significant time × group interactions were found, indicating a stronger increase in motivational aspects and self-esteem, in addition to a stronger symptom reduction on some measures from pre- to post-treatment in the intervention group compared to the control group.
Internet-based approaches can be considered as useful for enhancing motivation to change in eating disorders and for yielding initial symptomatic improvement.
An experimental study of conventional x-ray absorption and of magnetic circular x-ray dichroism has been performed on Ce/Fe Multilayers at the Ce L2,3 and the Fe-K edge, to characterize the impact of the interaction of Ce and Fe on the local electronic and magnetic structure of the interface. The spectra reveal that the interaction has two effects. First, on a depth scale of up to 15 A near the interface, the Ce atoms adopt the electronic structure of the oc-phase, with itinerant 4f states. Second, a large portion (=10 Å) of these cc-like Ce atoms is magnetically polarized and carries an ordered Magnetic 5d Moment. The Fe-3d and Ce-5d Moments are antiferromagnetically coupled. Interface Mixing on a length scale of the magnetic polarization can be excluded.
The purpose of the study was to support the selection process of the most valuable currant and gooseberry accessions cultivated in Northern Europe, in order to establish a decentralized core collection and, following the selection, to ensure sufficient genetic diversity in the selected collection. Molecular analyses of the material from nine project partners were run at seven different laboratories. The results were first analysed for each partner separately, and then combined to ensure sufficient genetic diversity in the core collection.
Objectives: This article examines the challenges for health technology assessment (HTA) in the light of new developments of personalized health care, focusing on European HTA perspectives.
Methods: Using the example of the Integrated Genome Research Network – Mutanom (IG Mutanom) project, with focus on personalized cancer diagnostics and treatment, we assess the scope of current HTA and examine it prospectively in the context of the translation of basic and clinical research into public health genomics and personalized health care.
Results: The approaches developed within the IG-Mutanom project are based on innovative technology potentially providing targeted therapies for cancer; making translation into clinical practice requires a novel course of action, however. New models of HTA are needed that can account for the unique types of evidence inherent to individualized targeted therapies. Using constructive health technology assessment (CTA) models is an option, but further suitable models should be developed.
Conclusions: Integrative, systems biology-based approaches toward personalized medicine call for novel assessment methods. The translation of their highly innovative technologies into the practice of health care requires the development of new HTA concepts.
Two different pixel detectors have been fabricated, each of them consisting of an a-Si:H based photodiode layer on top of a crystalline silicon integrated circuit. Both sensors are arranged in a matrix and addressed columnwise, providing parallel readout of the matrix rows or optional random access. One sensor is an a-Si:H detector / x-Si switching transistor combination with 256 × 256 pixels and a pixel size of 100μm × 100μm. The signal transport in the array is examined, demonstrating its capability of very fast information readout. The second sensor, which consists of an array of 32 × 32 pixels on a 5μm PMOS ASIC, performs digital contour extraction. Experimental data on the performance of the intelligent array are also reported.
A range of multi-wall carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibres were mixed with a polyamide-12 matrix using a twin-screw microextruder, and the resulting blends used to produce a series of reinforced polymer fibres. The aim was to compare the dispersion and mechanical properties achieved for nanofillers produced by different techniques. A high quality of dispersion was achieved for all the catalytically-grown materials and the greatest improvements in stiffness were observed using aligned, substrate-grown, carbon nanotubes. The use of entangled multi-wall carbon nanotubes led to the most pronounced increase in yield stress. The degrees of polymer and nanofiller alignment and the morphology of the polymer matrix were assessed using X-ray diffraction and calorimetry.