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Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
This study aimed to assess whether increasing operative experience results in better surgical outcomes in endoscopic middle-ear surgery.
A retrospective single-institution cohort study was performed. Patients underwent endoscopic tympanoplasty between May 2013 and April 2019 performed by the senior surgeon or a trainee surgeon under direct supervision from the senior surgeon. Following data collection, statistical analysis compared success rates between early (learning curve) surgical procedures and later (experienced) tympanoplasties.
In total, 157 patients (86 male, 71 female), with a mean age of 41.6 years, were included. The patients were followed up for an average of 43.2 weeks. The overall primary closure rate was 90.0 per cent.
This study demonstrates an early learning curve for endoscopic ear surgery that improves with surgical experience. Adoption of the endoscopic technique did not impair the success rates of tympanoplasty.
Mother–daughter relationship was the focus of studies on the development of eating disorders (ED) for many years. This study aimed to examine the association between the father–daughter relationship and ED and depressive symptoms.
Fifty-three women diagnosed with ED were compared to a psychiatric control group (n = 26) and to healthy participants (n = 60) regarding their perception of their fathers and the relationship with them. Assessments were done using the Parental Bonding Instrument, the Eating Disorders Questionnaire, the Body Shape Questionnaire, the Eating Attitude Test, and the Beck Depression Inventory as well as narrative-based methods.
Fathers’ negative attributes were significantly associated with ED and depressive symptom. Two profiles of father–daughter relationship were found, the “caring and benevolent” relationship and the “overprotective and avoidant” one. In the latter, patients displayed significantly higher levels of food-restraint, more concerns about eating and about their body shape and appearance, and higher levels of depression.
Negative perception of the father's parenting style as well as the quality of the relationship with him are crucial for the understanding of the development and persistence of ED. Therapeutic programs for ED should focus not only on the relationship with the mother but must also address the relationship with the father.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one of the most frequent neurological degenerative disorders. During the course of the illness accumulations of amyloid-beta peptide appear in the brain tissue as insoluble extracellular plaques, and neurons and synapses show signs of degeneration. We investigated the dendritic impulse propagation in layer II/III pyramidal neurons of the somatosensory cortex in human amyloid precursor protein over expressing Tg2576 transgenic mice and compared the signal propagation to that of the control, healthy neurons from wild type mice.
Earlier studies detected morphological changes in these pyramidal neurons of Tg2576 mice. However, physiological measurements with somatic electrodes could not differentiate between the mutant and control principal neurons based on their passive membrane properties and action potential generation.
We used morphologically detailed passive segmental cable models of these cells (n=58) within the NEURON (Duke University, USA) simulation environment. Current was injected to various dendritic points of mutant and healthy neurons to simulate local activity of synapses and current and voltage transfers to the soma were investigated as a function of path distance of injection site from the soma. Spatial distributions of the dendritic surface area and dendritic length were also studied.
First in literature, we investigated the dendritic impulse propagation systematically in pyramidal neurons from Tg2576 mice. We found that current transfer is more effective in the apical dendrites of mutant neurons and concluded that this higher effectivity may contribute to the hyperexcitability of mutant neurons, a phenomenon also found in humans with AD.
Researchers now commonly collect biospecimens for genomic analysis together with information from mobile devices and electronic health records. This rich combination of data creates new opportunities for understanding and addressing important health issues, but also intensifies challenges to privacy and confidentiality. Here, we elucidate the “web” of legal protections for precision medicine research by integrating findings from qualitative interviews with structured legal research and applying them to realistic research scenarios involving various privacy threats.
Vietnamese migrants under the influence of migration-related stressors (MRS) represent a vulnerable group within the mental health care system in Germany.
First study examining the relationship between the quantity of experienced MRS and the severity of self-reported symptoms of depression in a Vietnamese outpatient-sample.
137 first-generation Vietnamese migrants diagnosed with depression were asked to complete the BDI-II and 24 questions about stressful experiences related to the migration process. Linear regression models was performed to examine the influence of the MRS-quantity on BDI-II total score and on BDI-II subscales (Buckley et al., 2001).
A higher number of experienced MRS was found to be related to a higher BDI-II total score, as well as to a higher score on the cognitive subscale in particular. Regarding the cognitive depression-dimension the BDI-II items pessimism, past failure, guilt feelings, punishment feelings and suicidal thoughts were positively related to the MRS-quantity.
Discussion and conclusion
A dose-response-relationship was found, with a higher number of MRS being related to a higher severity level of self-reported depressiveness as well as to a higher level of cognitive depression-symptoms in particular. The increase in suicidal ideations in the light of MRS-exposure is in line with findings from other migrant populations. Therapeutic interventions may focus (more) on depressive cognitions as a result of recurring MRS-experiences. Special attention should be placed on suicidal thoughts being boosted by MRS.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
We present the analysis of global sympagic primary production (PP) from 300 years of pre-industrial and historical simulations of the E3SMv1.1-BGC model. The model includes a novel, eight-element sea ice biogeochemical component, MPAS-Seaice zbgc, which is resolved in three spatial dimensions and uses a vertical transport scheme based on internal brine dynamics. Modeled ice algal chlorophyll-a concentrations and column-integrated values are broadly consistent with observations, though chl-a profile fractions indicate that upper ice communities of the Southern Ocean are underestimated. Simulations of polar integrated sea ice PP support the lower bound in published estimates for both polar regions with mean Arctic values of 7.5 and 15.5 TgC/a in the Southern Ocean. However, comparisons of the polar climate state with observations, using a maximal bound for ice algal growth rates, suggest that the Arctic lower bound is a significant underestimation driven by biases in ocean surface nitrate, and that correction of these biases supports as much as 60.7 TgC/a of net Arctic PP. Simulated Southern Ocean sympagic PP is predominantly light-limited, and regional patterns, particularly in the coastal high production band, are found to be negatively correlated with snow thickness.
Postoperative cognitive impairment is among the most common medical complications associated with surgical interventions – particularly in elderly patients. In our aging society, it is an urgent medical need to determine preoperative individual risk prediction to allow more accurate cost–benefit decisions prior to elective surgeries. So far, risk prediction is mainly based on clinical parameters. However, these parameters only give a rough estimate of the individual risk. At present, there are no molecular or neuroimaging biomarkers available to improve risk prediction and little is known about the etiology and pathophysiology of this clinical condition. In this short review, we summarize the current state of knowledge and briefly present the recently started BioCog project (Biomarker Development for Postoperative Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly), which is funded by the European Union. It is the goal of this research and development (R&D) project, which involves academic and industry partners throughout Europe, to deliver a multivariate algorithm based on clinical assessments as well as molecular and neuroimaging biomarkers to overcome the currently unsatisfying situation.
Psychotropic prescription rates continue to increase in the United States (USA). Few studies have investigated whether social-structural factors may play a role in psychotropic medication use independent of mental illness. Food insecurity is prevalent among people living with HIV in the USA and has been associated with poor mental health. We investigated whether food insecurity was associated with psychotropic medication use independent of the symptoms of depression and anxiety among women living with HIV in the USA.
We used cross-sectional data from the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a nationwide cohort study. Food security (FS) was the primary explanatory variable, measured using the Household Food Security Survey Module. First, we used multivariable linear regressions to test whether FS was associated with symptoms of depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression [CESD] score), generalised anxiety disorder (GAD-7 score) and mental health-related quality of life (MOS-HIV Mental Health Summary score; MHS). Next, we examined associations of FS with the use of any psychotropic medications, including antidepressants, sedatives and antipsychotics, using multivariable logistic regressions adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, income, education and alcohol and substance use. In separate models, we additionally adjusted for symptoms of depression (CESD score) and anxiety (GAD-7 score).
Of the 905 women in the sample, two-thirds were African-American. Lower FS (i.e. worse food insecurity) was associated with greater symptoms of depression and anxiety in a dose–response relationship. For the psychotropic medication outcomes, marginal and low FS were associated with 2.06 (p < 0.001; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.36–3.13) and 1.99 (p < 0.01; 95% CI = 1.26–3.15) times higher odds of any psychotropic medication use, respectively, before adjusting for depression and anxiety. The association of very low FS with any psychotropic medication use was not statistically significant. A similar pattern was found for antidepressant and sedative use. After additionally adjusting for CESD and GAD-7 scores, marginal FS remained associated with 1.93 (p < 0.05; 95% CI = 1.16–3.19) times higher odds of any psychotropic medication use. Very low FS, conversely, was significantly associated with lower odds of antidepressant use (adjusted odds ratio = 0.42; p < 0.05; 95% CI = 0.19–0.96).
Marginal FS was associated with higher odds of using psychotropic medications independent of depression and anxiety, while very low FS was associated with lower odds. These complex findings may indicate that people experiencing very low FS face barriers to accessing mental health services, while those experiencing marginal FS who do access services are more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications for distress arising from social and structural factors.
The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial randomised neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome to a shunt strategy but otherwise retained standard of care. We aimed to describe centre-level practice variation at Fontan completion.
Centre-level data are reported as median or median frequency across all centres and range of medians or frequencies across centres. Classification and regression tree analysis assessed the association of centre-level factors with length of stay and percentage of patients with prolonged pleural effusion (>7 days).
The median Fontan age (14 centres, 320 patients) was 3.1 years (range from 1.7 to 3.9), and the weight-for-age z-score was −0.56 (−1.35 + 0.44). Extra-cardiac Fontans were performed in 79% (4–100%) of patients at the 13 centres performing this procedure; lateral tunnels were performed in 32% (3–100%) at the 11 centres performing it. Deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (nine centres) ranged from 6 to 100%. Major complications occurred in 17% (7–33%). The length of stay was 9.5 days (9–12); 15% (6–33%) had prolonged pleural effusion. Centres with fewer patients (<6%) with prolonged pleural effusion and fewer (<41%) complications had a shorter length of stay (<10 days; sensitivity 1.0; specificity 0.71; area under the curve 0.96). Avoiding deep hypothermic circulatory arrest and higher weight-for-age z-score were associated with a lower percentage of patients with prolonged effusions (<9.5%; sensitivity 1.0; specificity = 0.86; area under the curve 0.98).
Fontan perioperative practices varied widely among study centres. Strategies to decrease the duration of pleural effusion and minimise complications may decrease the length of stay. Further research regarding deep hypothermic circulatory arrest is needed to understand its association with prolonged pleural effusion.
To explore the use of fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy in thyroid tissues, and to investigate how different thyroid lesions affect fluorescence lifetime.
Fluorescence lifetime measurements were taken of fresh frozen thyroid surgical specimens stained with fluorescein isothiocyanate tagged anti-thyroglobulin monoclonal antibodies.
The mean fluorescence lifetime measurements in 12 patients – 3 with multinodular goitre, 4 with follicular adenoma, 4 with papillary thyroid carcinoma and 1 with follicular carcinoma – were 3.16 ns (range, 2.66–3.52 ns), 3.75 ns (range, 2.99–4.57 ns), 2.97 ns (range, 2.57–3.21 ns) and 3.61 ns, respectively. The fluorescence lifetime of follicular adenoma patients was higher than that of papillary thyroid carcinoma patients by 26 per cent (p = 0.058). The fluorescence lifetime in the follicular carcinoma patient was similar to the follicular adenoma group, but higher than in the papillary thyroid carcinoma group by 22 per cent (p = 0.01).
Fluorescence lifetime measurements varied in different thyroid pathologies, possibly because of tissue-scale structural influences.
The revised Common Rule includes a new option for the conduct of secondary research with identifiable data and biospecimens: regulatory broad consent. Motivated by concerns regarding autonomy and trust in the research enterprise, regulators had initially proposed broad consent in a manner that would have rendered it the exclusive approach to secondary research with all biospecimens, regardless of identifiability. Based on public comments from both researchers and patients concerned that this approach would hinder important medical advances, however, regulators decided to largely preserve the status quo approach to secondary research with biospecimens and data. The Final Rule therefore allows such research to proceed without specific informed consent in a number of circumstances, but it also offers regulatory broad consent as a new, optional pathway for secondary research with identifiable data and biospecimens. In this article, we describe the parameters of regulatory broad consent under the new rule, explain why researchers and research institutions are unlikely to utilize it, outline recommendations for regulatory broad consent issued by the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP), and sketch an empirical research agenda for the sorts of questions about regulatory broad consent that remain to be answered as the research community embarks on Final Rule implementation.
Background: Biallelic variants in POLR1C are associated with POLR3-related leukodystrophy (POLR3-HLD), or 4H leukodystrophy (Hypomyelination, Hypodontia, Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism), and Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS). The clinical spectrum of POLR3-HLD caused by variants in this gene has not been described. Methods: A cross-sectional observational study involving 25 centers worldwide was conducted between 2016 and 2018. The clinical, radiologic and molecular features of 23 unreported and previously reported cases of POLR3-HLD caused by POLR1C variants were reviewed. Results: Most participants presented between birth and age 6 years with motor difficulties. Neurological deterioration was seen during childhood, suggesting a more severe phenotype than previously described. The dental, ocular and endocrine features often seen in POLR3-HLD were not invariably present. Five patients (22%) had a combination of hypomyelinating leukodystrophy and abnormal craniofacial development, including one individual with clear TCS features. Several cases did not exhibit all the typical radiologic characteristics of POLR3-HLD. A total of 29 different pathogenic variants in POLR1C were identified, including 13 new disease-causing variants. Conclusions: Based on the largest cohort of patients to date, these results suggest novel characteristics of POLR1C-related disorder, with a spectrum of clinical involvement characterized by hypomyelinating leukodystrophy with or without abnormal craniofacial development reminiscent of TCS.
Human skeletal remains constitute remarkably informative finds, both biologically and socioculturally. Their recovery, preservation, conservation, storage, and analysis are complex issues that need to be addressed within any given biocultural context. Given the country's geography and the long history of human occupation, Greek field archaeology is intense and ongoing, with both rescue and systematic excavations. Human burials are thus frequently encountered in excavations throughout Greece, resulting in the accumulation of osteological material. Some of the common challenges of bioarchaeological research in Greece consist of insufficient time, funding, and documentation in the field; unmet conservation needs and lack of storage space; as well as the long time-gap between excavation and analysis. Here, we give a brief overview of excavation, curation, and bioarchaeological practice within a Greek archaeological framework. We focus on the newly launched Phaleron Bioarchaeological Project on a vast necropolis from the wider Athens region in order to present our methodological approach. Finally, we consider the role of interdisciplinary collaboration in managing large-scale bioarchaeological projects and serving long-term heritage preservation goals.
Externalizing disorders are known to be partly heritable, but the biological pathways linking genetic risk to the manifestation of these costly behaviors remain under investigation. This study sought to identify neural phenotypes associated with genomic vulnerability for externalizing disorders.
One-hundred fifty-five White, non-Hispanic veterans were genotyped using a genome-wide array and underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Genetic susceptibility was assessed using an independently developed polygenic score (PS) for externalizing, and functional neural networks were identified using graph theory based network analysis. Tasks of inhibitory control and psychiatric diagnosis (alcohol/substance use disorders) were used to measure externalizing phenotypes.
A polygenic externalizing disorder score (PS) predicted connectivity in a brain circuit (10 nodes, nine links) centered on left amygdala that included several cortical [bilateral inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) pars triangularis, left rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC)] and subcortical (bilateral amygdala, hippocampus, and striatum) regions. Directional analyses revealed that bilateral amygdala influenced left prefrontal cortex (IFG) in participants scoring higher on the externalizing PS, whereas the opposite direction of influence was observed for those scoring lower on the PS. Polygenic variation was also associated with higher Participation Coefficient for bilateral amygdala and left rACC, suggesting that genes related to externalizing modulated the extent to which these nodes functioned as communication hubs.
Findings suggest that externalizing polygenic risk is associated with disrupted connectivity in a neural network implicated in emotion regulation, impulse control, and reinforcement learning. Results provide evidence that this network represents a genetically associated neurobiological vulnerability for externalizing disorders.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and stress/trauma exposure are cross-sectionally associated with advanced DNA methylation age relative to chronological age. However, longitudinal inquiry and examination of associations between advanced DNA methylation age and a broader range of psychiatric disorders is lacking. The aim of this study was to examine if PTSD, depression, generalized anxiety, and alcohol-use disorders predicted acceleration of DNA methylation age over time (i.e. an increasing pace, or rate of advancement, of the epigenetic clock).
Genome-wide DNA methylation and a comprehensive set of psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses were assessed in 179 Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans who completed two assessments over the course of approximately 2 years. Two DNA methylation age indices (Horvath and Hannum), each a weighted index of an array of genome-wide DNA methylation probes, were quantified. The pace of the epigenetic clock was operationalized as change in DNA methylation age as a function of time between assessments.
Analyses revealed that alcohol-use disorders (p = 0.001) and PTSD avoidance and numbing symptoms (p = 0.02) at Time 1 were associated with an increasing pace of the epigenetic clock over time, per the Horvath (but not the Hannum) index of cellular aging.
This is the first study to suggest that posttraumatic psychopathology is longitudinally associated with a quickened pace of the epigenetic clock. Results raise the possibility that accelerated cellular aging is a common biological consequence of stress-related psychopathology, which carries implications for identifying mechanisms of stress-related cellular aging and developing interventions to slow its pace.
Certificates of Confidentiality (“Certificates”) are a federal legal tool designed to protect sensitive, identifiable research data from compelled disclosure. Congress first authorized their use in 1970 to facilitate research on illegal drug use. The scope of their use was later expanded to cover mental health research and then again to apply broadly to identifiable, sensitive research data, regardless of topic. Certificates can be critical to enabling conduct of essential research on sensitive topics, such as effective interventions to curb the opioid epidemic or reduce HIV transmission among minority youth. Nevertheless, there have been criticisms about Certificates and their use on several grounds. For example, researchers and institutional review boards (“IRBs”) may lack sufficient knowledge about them and, therefore, may not consider using them in studies for which they would be appropriate. In contrast to other protections, such as Department of Justice Privacy Certificates, Certificate protections were not automatically extended to these studies, but instead required an application. In addition, the concept of identifiable data had not kept up with technological changes that may allow for reidentification of data previously considered unidentifiable. Although a researcher who obtained a Certificate could use it to resist a legal demand for identifiable data, little was known about the actual effectiveness of the protection provided.
The 21st Century Cures Act substantially revises the Certificates authorizing statute, and many of the changes are directly responsive to the criticisms that have been raised. Significantly, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) must issue Certificate protection to federally funded research involving identifiable, sensitive research data, and the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) will automatically include such protections to research it funds. Non-federally funded researchers can continue to apply for Certificate protection. The definition of identifiable has been expanded to include data “for which there is at least a very small risk” of identification. Certificates will now not only protect against compelled disclosure, but also render protected data inadmissible in legal proceedings without participant consent. In addition, voluntary disclosure is no longer authorized, but there is now a broad exception for disclosure as required by federal, state, and local laws. In this paper, based on our previous research on Certificates, we critically evaluate the 21st Century Cures Act's Certificates revisions and their positive and negative impact on the dual goals of facilitating important, sensitive research while maximally protecting individual research participants.