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The ‘jumping to conclusions’ (JTC) bias is associated with both psychosis and general cognition but their relationship is unclear. In this study, we set out to clarify the relationship between the JTC bias, IQ, psychosis and polygenic liability to schizophrenia and IQ.
A total of 817 first episode psychosis patients and 1294 population-based controls completed assessments of general intelligence (IQ), and JTC, and provided blood or saliva samples from which we extracted DNA and computed polygenic risk scores for IQ and schizophrenia.
The estimated proportion of the total effect of case/control differences on JTC mediated by IQ was 79%. Schizophrenia polygenic risk score was non-significantly associated with a higher number of beads drawn (B = 0.47, 95% CI −0.21 to 1.16, p = 0.17); whereas IQ PRS (B = 0.51, 95% CI 0.25–0.76, p < 0.001) significantly predicted the number of beads drawn, and was thus associated with reduced JTC bias. The JTC was more strongly associated with the higher level of psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) in controls, including after controlling for IQ (B = −1.7, 95% CI −2.8 to −0.5, p = 0.006), but did not relate to delusions in patients.
Our findings suggest that the JTC reasoning bias in psychosis might not be a specific cognitive deficit but rather a manifestation or consequence, of general cognitive impairment. Whereas, in the general population, the JTC bias is related to PLEs, independent of IQ. The work has the potential to inform interventions targeting cognitive biases in early psychosis.
Daily use of high-potency cannabis has been reported to carry a high risk for developing a psychotic disorder. However, the evidence is mixed on whether any pattern of cannabis use is associated with a particular symptomatology in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients.
We analysed data from 901 FEP patients and 1235 controls recruited across six countries, as part of the European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks Studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. We used item response modelling to estimate two bifactor models, which included general and specific dimensions of psychotic symptoms in patients and psychotic experiences in controls. The associations between these dimensions and cannabis use were evaluated using linear mixed-effects models analyses.
In patients, there was a linear relationship between the positive symptom dimension and the extent of lifetime exposure to cannabis, with daily users of high-potency cannabis having the highest score (B = 0.35; 95% CI 0.14–0.56). Moreover, negative symptoms were more common among patients who never used cannabis compared with those with any pattern of use (B = −0.22; 95% CI −0.37 to −0.07). In controls, psychotic experiences were associated with current use of cannabis but not with the extent of lifetime use. Neither patients nor controls presented differences in depressive dimension related to cannabis use.
Our findings provide the first large-scale evidence that FEP patients with a history of daily use of high-potency cannabis present with more positive and less negative symptoms, compared with those who never used cannabis or used low-potency types.
Psychosocial stressors deriving from socioeconomic disadvantages in adolescents can result in higher metabolic syndrome (MetS) risk. We aimed to examine whether socioeconomic disadvantages were associated with MetS independent of lifestyle and whether there was a dose response relationship between the number of cumulated socioeconomic disadvantages and the risk of MetS.
Materials and Methods:
The present study included 1,037 European adolescents (aged 12.5–17.5) of the 3,528 total HELENA participants. Sociodemographic variables and lifestyle were assessed through self-reported questionnaires. Disadvantaged groups included adolescents with low educated parents, low family affluence, migrant origin, unemployed parents, and from non-traditional families. MetS score was calculated as the sum of sex- and age-specific z-scores of waist circumference, HOMA-IR index, mean of z-scores of diastolic and systolic blood pressure and mean of z-score of HDL-C multiplied by -1 and z-score of TG. A higher score indicates poor metabolic health. Linear mixed-effects models were used to study the association between social disadvantages and MetS risk score. Models were adjusted for sex, age, pubertal status (Tanner stage) and lifestyle (diet quality, physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking status).
Adolescents with low educated mothers showed a higher MetS score (0.54 [0.09–0.98]; β [99% confidence interval]) compared to high-educated mothers. Adolescents who accumulated more than three disadvantages (0.69 [0.08–1.31]) or with missing information on disadvantages (0.72 [0.04–1.40]) had a higher MetS risk compared to non-socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. Stronger associations between socioeconomic disadvantages and MetS were found in male in comparison with female adolescents.
Out of the studied socioeconomic disadvantages, maternal education is the most important determinant of adolescent's MetS risk independently of sex, age, Tanner stage, smoking status, alcohol consumption, diet quality and physical activity. Social vulnerabilities (migrant background, unemployment status and belonging to a non-traditional family) were not associated with a higher MetS risk in European adolescents. However, we found a dose-response relationship between the number of factors related to social disadvantage and adolescents’ MetS risk with adolescents accumulating three or more socioeconomic disadvantages showing the highest risk. Stronger associations between socioeconomic disadvantages and MetS were found in male compared to female adolescents. Policy makers should focus on low educated families to tackle health disparities.
Policies allowing enfranchisement of non-resident citizens (emigrants and their descendants) are now implemented in the majority of states worldwide. A growing number of case studies show that the extension of voting rights to non-resident citizens is often contested among country of origin political parties. However, there is no systematic comparative study of why different political parties support or oppose external voting rights and how this position is framed by the parties. Drawing on a unique data set based on 34 debates across 13 countries, we estimate the extent to which ideology and party family are correlated with the positioning and framing of parties. Among the findings are that the more to the right is a party, the more it tends to support external voting rights, except in the case of radical right parties. The position on emigrant voting rights is largely framed along more pragmatic arguments.
The value of the nosological distinction between non-affective and affective psychosis has frequently been challenged. We aimed to investigate the transdiagnostic dimensional structure and associated characteristics of psychopathology at First Episode Psychosis (FEP). Regardless of diagnostic categories, we expected that positive symptoms occurred more frequently in ethnic minority groups and in more densely populated environments, and that negative symptoms were associated with indices of neurodevelopmental impairment.
This study included 2182 FEP individuals recruited across six countries, as part of the EUropean network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene–Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. Symptom ratings were analysed using multidimensional item response modelling in Mplus to estimate five theory-based models of psychosis. We used multiple regression models to examine demographic and context factors associated with symptom dimensions.
A bifactor model, composed of one general factor and five specific dimensions of positive, negative, disorganization, manic and depressive symptoms, best-represented associations among ratings of psychotic symptoms. Positive symptoms were more common in ethnic minority groups. Urbanicity was associated with a higher score on the general factor. Men presented with more negative and less depressive symptoms than women. Early age-at-first-contact with psychiatric services was associated with higher scores on negative, disorganized, and manic symptom dimensions.
Our results suggest that the bifactor model of psychopathology holds across diagnostic categories of non-affective and affective psychosis at FEP, and demographic and context determinants map onto general and specific symptom dimensions. These findings have implications for tailoring symptom-specific treatments and inform research into the mood-psychosis spectrum.
To describe dietary patterns by applying cluster analysis and to describe the cluster memberships of European children over time and their association with body composition changes.
The analyses included k-means clustering based on the similarities between the relative frequencies of consumption of forty-three food items and regression models were fitted to assess the association between dietary patterns and body composition changes.
Primary schools and pre-schools of selected regions in Italy, Estonia, Cyprus, Belgium, Sweden, Hungary, Germany and Spain.
Participants (n 8341) in the baseline (2–9 years old) and follow-up (4–11 years old) surveys of the IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS) study.
Three persistent clusters were obtained at baseline and follow-up. Children consistently allocated to the ‘processed’ cluster presented increased BMI (β=0·050; 95 % CI 0·006, 0·093), increased waist circumference (β=0·071; 95 % CI 0·001, 0·141) and increased fat mass gain (β=0·052; 95 % CI 0·014, 0·090) over time v. children allocated to the ‘healthy’ cluster. Being in the ‘processed’–‘sweet’ cluster combination was also linked to increased BMI (β=0·079; 95 % CI 0·015, 0·143), increased waist circumference (β=0·172; 95 % CI 0·069, 0·275) and increased fat mass gain (β=0·076; 95 % CI 0·019, 0·133) over time v. the ‘healthy’ cluster.
Children consistently showing a processed dietary pattern or changing from a processed pattern to a sweet pattern presented the most unfavourable changes in fat mass and abdominal fat. These findings support the need to promote overall healthy dietary habits in obesity prevention and health promotion programmes targeting children.
Institutional caregiving is associated with significant deviations from species-expected caregiving, altering the normative sequence of attachment formation and placing children at risk for long-term emotional difficulties. However, little is known about factors that can promote resilience following early institutional caregiving. In the current study, we investigated how adaptations in affective processing (i.e., positive valence bias) and family-level protective factors (i.e., secure parent–child relationships) moderate risk for internalizing symptoms in previously institutionalized (PI) youth. Children and adolescents with and without a history of institutional care performed a laboratory-based affective processing task and self-reported measures of parent–child relationship security. PI youth were more likely than comparison youth to show positive valence biases when interpreting ambiguous facial expressions. Both positive valence bias and parent–child relationship security moderated the association between institutional care and parent-reported internalizing symptoms, such that greater positive valence bias and more secure parent–child relationships predicted fewer symptoms in PI youth. However, when both factors were tested concurrently, parent–child relationship security more strongly moderated the link between PI status and internalizing symptoms. These findings suggest that both individual-level adaptations in affective processing and family-level factors of secure parent–child relationships may ameliorate risk for internalizing psychopathology following early institutional caregiving.
Although behavioral and experimental studies have shown links between victimization and antisocial behavior, the neural correlates explaining this link are relatively unknown. In the current study, we recruited adolescent girls from a longitudinal study that tracked youths’ reports of peer victimization experiences annually from the second through eighth grades. Based on these reports, 46 adolescents were recruited: 25 chronically victimized and 21 nonvictimized. During a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan, participants completed a risk-taking task. Chronic peer victimization was associated with greater risk-taking behavior during the task and higher levels of self-reported antisocial behavior in everyday life. At the neural level, chronically victimized girls showed greater activation in regions involved in affective sensitivity, social cognition, and cognitive control, which significantly mediated victimization group differences in self-reported antisocial behavior.
We deal with the problem of determining an unknown part of the boundary of an electrical conductor that is inaccessible for external observation and where a corrosion process is going on. We obtain estimates of the size of this damaged region from above and below.
Determinants of cross-national differences in the prevalence of mental illness are poorly understood.
To test whether national post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates can be explained by (a) rates of exposure to trauma and (b) countries' overall cultural and socioeconomic vulnerability to adversity.
We collected general population studies on lifetime PTSD and trauma exposure, measured using the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (DSM-IV). PTSD prevalence was identified for 24 countries (86 687 respondents) and exposure for 16 countries (53 038 respondents). PTSD was predicted using exposure and vulnerability data.
PTSD is related positively to exposure but negatively to country vulnerability. Together, exposure, vulnerability and their interaction explain approximately 75% of variance in the national prevalence of PTSD.
Contrary to expectations based on individual risk factors, we identified a paradox whereby greater country vulnerability is associated with a decreased, rather than increased, risk of PTSD for its citizens.
Computerisation facilitates instantaneous and direct links between all of us in our work and social lives. At the same time, and counter-intuitively so, securities are increasingly held indirectly through chains of custodians that operate between issuers and investors. This disconnects investors from issuers and can significantly reduce the value of assets. The regulatory framework does not prevent this effect. UK-regulated holders of client securities should be required to hold these directly in the name of the investor. At an international level, it is worth asking whether the technology underlying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be used to create an un-intermediated securities ledger connecting investors and issuers directly.
Intracranial volume (ICV) has been proposed as a measure of maximum lifetime brain size. Accurate ICV measures require neuroimaging which is not always feasible for epidemiologic investigations. We examined head circumference as a useful surrogate for ICV in older adults.
99 older adults underwent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). ICV was measured by Statistical Parametric Mapping 8 (SPM8) software or Functional MRI of the Brain Software Library (FSL) extraction with manual editing, typically considered the gold standard. Head circumferences were determined using standardized tape measurement. We examined estimated correlation coefficients between head circumference and the two MRI-based ICV measurements.
Head circumference and ICV by SPM8 were moderately correlated (overall r = 0.73, men r = 0.67, women r = 0.63). Head circumference and ICV by FSL were also moderately correlated (overall r = 0.69, men r = 0.63, women r = 0.49).
Head circumference measurement was strongly correlated with MRI-derived ICV. Our study presents a simple method to approximate ICV among older patients, which may prove useful as a surrogate for cognitive reserve in large scale epidemiologic studies of cognitive outcomes. This study also suggests the stability of head circumference correlation with ICV throughout the lifespan.
It is unclear whether there is a direct link between economic crises and changes in suicide rates.
The Lopez-Ibor Foundation launched an initiative to study the possible impact of the economic crisis on European suicide rates.
Data was gathered and analysed from 29 European countries and included the number of deaths by suicide in men and women, the unemployment rate, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, the annual economic growth rate and inflation.
There was a strong correlation between suicide rates and all economic indices except GPD per capita in men but only a correlation with unemployment in women. However, the increase in suicide rates occurred several months before the economic crisis emerged.
Overall, this study confirms a general relationship between the economic environment and suicide rates; however, it does not support there being a clear causal relationship between the current economic crisis and an increase in the suicide rate.
This article puts forward the idea that the creation of an online review facility where all market participants are able to review and rate all companies listed in a particular market would solve a number of problems that currently prevent shareholders, in particular institutional investors and the ultimate beneficiaries of investment vehicles such as pension funds, from engaging with companies. It would also allow shareholders and stakeholders with a long-term focus to engage with companies. It is suggested that all listed companies should be required to have a link to this review and rating facility on their website. Listed companies should have the ability to respond to the reviews and ratings on the site. Furthermore, the review facility should be regulated. The arrangement currently used for appointing and overseeing the operator of the UK securities settlement system could serve as a model.