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Identifying risk factors of individuals in a clinical-high-risk state for psychosis are vital to prevention and early intervention efforts. Among prodromal abnormalities, cognitive functioning has shown intermediate levels of impairment in CHR relative to first-episode psychosis and healthy controls, highlighting a potential role as a risk factor for transition to psychosis and other negative clinical outcomes. The current study used the AX-CPT, a brief 15-min computerized task, to determine whether cognitive control impairments in CHR at baseline could predict clinical status at 12-month follow-up.
Baseline AX-CPT data were obtained from 117 CHR individuals participating in two studies, the Early Detection, Intervention, and Prevention of Psychosis Program (EDIPPP) and the Understanding Early Psychosis Programs (EP) and used to predict clinical status at 12-month follow-up. At 12 months, 19 individuals converted to a first episode of psychosis (CHR-C), 52 remitted (CHR-R), and 46 had persistent sub-threshold symptoms (CHR-P). Binary logistic regression and multinomial logistic regression were used to test prediction models.
Baseline AX-CPT performance (d-prime context) was less impaired in CHR-R compared to CHR-P and CHR-C patient groups. AX-CPT predictive validity was robust (0.723) for discriminating converters v. non-converters, and even greater (0.771) when predicting CHR three subgroups.
These longitudinal outcome data indicate that cognitive control deficits as measured by AX-CPT d-prime context are a strong predictor of clinical outcome in CHR individuals. The AX-CPT is brief, easily implemented and cost-effective measure that may be valuable for large-scale prediction efforts.
We assessed whether paternal demographic, anthropometric and clinical factors influence the risk of an infant being born large-for-gestational-age (LGA). We examined the data on 3659 fathers of term offspring (including 662 LGA infants) born to primiparous women from Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE). LGA was defined as birth weight >90th centile as per INTERGROWTH 21st standards, with reference group being infants ⩽90th centile. Associations between paternal factors and likelihood of an LGA infant were examined using univariable and multivariable models. Men who fathered LGA babies were 180 g heavier at birth (P<0.001) and were more likely to have been born macrosomic (P<0.001) than those whose infants were not LGA. Fathers of LGA infants were 2.1 cm taller (P<0.001), 2.8 kg heavier (P<0.001) and had similar body mass index (BMI). In multivariable models, increasing paternal birth weight and height were independently associated with greater odds of having an LGA infant, irrespective of maternal factors. One unit increase in paternal BMI was associated with 2.9% greater odds of having an LGA boy but not girl; however, this association disappeared after adjustment for maternal BMI. There were no associations between paternal demographic factors or clinical history and infant LGA. In conclusion, fathers who were heavier at birth and were taller were more likely to have an LGA infant, but maternal BMI had a dominant influence on LGA.
Excessive abdominal fat might be associated with more severe metabolic disorders in Holstein cows. Our hypothesis was that there are genetic differences between cows with low and high abdominal fat deposition and a normal cover of subcutaneous adipose tissue. The objective of this study was to assess the genetic basis for variation in visceral adiposity in US Holstein cows. The study included adult Holstein cows sampled from a slaughterhouse (Green Bay, WI, USA) during September 2016. Only animals with a body condition score between 2.75 and 3.25 were considered. The extent of omental fat at the level of the insertion of the lesser omentum over the pylorus area was assessed. A group of 100 Holstein cows with an omental fold <5 mm in thickness and minimum fat deposition throughout the entire omentum, and the second group of 100 cows with an omental fold ⩾20 mm in thickness and with a marked fat deposition observed throughout the entire omentum were sampled. A small piece of muscle from the neck was collected from each cow into a sterile container for DNA extraction. Samples were submitted to a commercial laboratory for interrogation of genome-wide genomic variation using the Illumina BovineHD Beadchip. Genome-Wide association analysis was performed to test potential associations between fat deposition and genomic variation. A univariate mixed linear model analysis was performed using genome-wide efficient mixed model association to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) significantly associated with variation in a visceral fat deposition. The chip heritability was 0.686 and the estimated additive genetic and residual variance components were 0.427 and 0.074, respectively. In total, 11 SNPs defining four quantitative trait locus (QTL) regions were found to be significantly associated with visceral fat deposition (P<0.00001). Among them, two of the QTL were detected with four and five significantly associated SNPs, respectively; whereas, the QTLs detected on BTA12 and BTA19 were each detected with only one significantly associated SNP. No enriched gene ontology terms were found within the gene networks harboring these genes when supplied to DAVID using either the Bos taurus or human gene ontology databases. We conclude that excessive omental fat in Holstein cows with similar body condition scores is not caused by a single Mendelian locus and that the trait appears to be at least moderately heritable; consequently, selection to reduce excessive omental fat is potentially possible, but would require the generation of predicted transmitting abilities from larger and random samples of Holstein cattle.
On 1 December 2011 the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide ice-core project reached its final depth of 3405 m. The WAIS Divide ice core is not only the longest US ice core to date, but is also the highest-quality deep ice core, including ice from the brittle ice zone, that the US has ever recovered. The methods used at WAIS Divide to handle and log the drilled ice, the procedures used to safely retrograde the ice back to the US National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL) and the methods used to process and sample the ice at the NICL are described and discussed.
The methodological and epistemological challenges that research on ethnopolitical violence faces are examined. This research area is fundamentally important for political reasons and for understanding, as well as subsequent interventions to ameliorate, youths’ responses to ethnopolitical violence. Advances in methods are reviewed that can overcome the obstacles placed by the various challenges. These issues are discussed in the context of the articles that comprise this Special Section.
The reader might get the impression that the four projects described in this Special Section proceeded in a systematic and predictable way. Of course, those of us engaged in each research project encountered pitfalls and challenges along the way. A main goal of this Special Section is to provide pathways and encouragement for those who may be interested in advancing high-quality research on this topic. In this paper, we describe a set of practical and ethical challenges that we encountered in conducting our longitudinal, process-oriented, and translational research with conflict-affected youth, and we illustrate how problems can be solved with the goal of maintaining the internal and external validity of the research designs. We are hopeful that by describing the challenges of our work, and how we overcame them, which are seldom treated in this or any other literature on research on child development in high-risk contexts, we can offer a realistic and encouraging picture of conducting methodologically sound research in conflict-affected contexts.
Over 1 billion children worldwide are exposed to political violence and armed conflict. The current conclusions are qualified by limited longitudinal research testing sophisticated process-oriented explanatory models for child adjustment outcomes. In this study, consistent with a developmental psychopathology perspective emphasizing the value of process-oriented longitudinal study of child adjustment in developmental and social–ecological contexts, we tested emotional insecurity about the community as a dynamic, within-person mediating process for relations between sectarian community violence and child adjustment. Specifically, this study explored children's emotional insecurity at a person-oriented level of analysis assessed over 5 consecutive years, with child gender examined as a moderator of indirect effects between sectarian community violence and child adjustment. In the context of a five-wave longitudinal research design, participants included 928 mother–child dyads in Belfast (453 boys, 475 girls) drawn from socially deprived, ethnically homogenous areas that had experienced political violence. Youth ranged in age from 10 to 20 years and were 13.24 (SD = 1.83) years old on average at the initial time point. Greater insecurity about the community measured over multiple time points mediated relations between sectarian community violence and youth's total adjustment problems. The pathway from sectarian community violence to emotional insecurity about the community was moderated by child gender, with relations to emotional insecurity about the community stronger for girls than for boys. The results suggest that ameliorating children's insecurity about community in contexts of political violence is an important goal toward improving adolescents' well-being and adjustment. These results are discussed in terms of their translational research implications, consistent with a developmental psychopathology model for the interface between basic and intervention research.
Improving children's learning and development in conflict-affected countries is critically important for breaking the intergenerational transmission of violence and poverty. Yet there is currently a stunning lack of rigorous evidence as to whether and how programs to improve learning and development in conflict-affected countries actually work to bolster children's academic learning and socioemotional development. This study tests a theory of change derived from the fields of developmental psychopathology and social ecology about how a school-based universal socioemotional learning program, the International Rescue Committee's Learning to Read in a Healing Classroom (LRHC), impacts children's learning and development. The study was implemented in three conflict-affected provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and employed a cluster-randomized waitlist control design to estimate impact. Using multilevel structural equation modeling techniques, we found support for the central pathways in the LRHC theory of change. Specifically, we found that LRHC differentially impacted dimensions of the quality of the school and classroom environment at the end of the first year of the intervention, and that in turn these dimensions of quality were differentially associated with child academic and socioemotional outcomes. Future implications and directions are discussed.
We examine the hypothesis that children's exposure to ethnic–political conflict and violence over the course of a year stimulates their increased aggression toward their own in-group peers in subsequent years. In addition, we examine what social cognitive and emotional processes mediate these effects and how these effects are moderated by gender, age, and ethnic group. To accomplish these aims, we collected three waves of data from 901 Israeli and 600 Palestinian youths (three age cohorts: 8, 11, and 14 years old) and their parents at 1-year intervals. Exposure to ethnic–political violence was correlated with aggression at in-group peers among all age cohorts. Using a cross-lagged structural equation model from Year 1 to Year 3, we found that the relation between exposure and aggression is more plausibly due to exposure to ethnic–political violence stimulating later aggression at peers than vice versa, and this effect was not moderated significantly by gender, age cohort, or ethnic group. Using three-wave structural equation models, we then showed that this effect was significantly mediated by changes in normative beliefs about aggression, aggressive script rehearsal, and emotional distress produced by the exposure. Again the best fitting model did not allow for moderation by gender, age cohort, or ethnic group. The findings are consistent with recent theorizing that exposure to violence leads to changes both in emotional processes promoting aggression and in the acquisition through observational learning of social cognitions promoting aggression.
Articles in this timely Special Section represent an important milestone in the developmental science on children and youth involved in political violence and armed conflict. With millions of children worldwide affected by past and present wars and conflicts, there is an urgent and growing need for research to inform efforts to understand, prevent, and mitigate the possible harm of such violence to individual children, families, communities, and societies, for present as well as future generations. The four programs of research highlighted in this Special Section illustrate key advances and challenges in contemporary development research on young people growing up in the midst or aftermath of political violence. These studies are longitudinal, methodologically sophisticated, and grounded in socioecological systems models that align well with current models of risk and resilience in developmental psychopathology. These studies collectively mark a critically important shift to process-focused research that holds great promise for translational applications. Nonetheless, given the scope of the international crisis of children and youth affected by political violence and its sequelae, there is an urgent global need for greater mobilization of resources to support translational science and effective evidence-based action.
This study explored how coping with war-related traumatic events in Sierra Leone impacted mental health outcomes among 529 youth (aged 10–17 at baseline; 25% female) using longitudinal data from three time points (Time 1 in 2002, Time 2 in 2004, and Time 3 in 2008). We examined two types of coping items (approach and avoidance); used multiple regression models to test their relations with long-term mental health outcomes (internalizing behaviors, externalizing behaviors, adaptive/prosocial behaviors, and posttraumatic stress symptoms); and used mediation analyses to test whether coping explained the relation between previous war exposures (being raped, death of parent(s), or killing/injuring someone during the war) and those outcomes. We found that avoidance coping items were associated with lower internalizing and posttraumatic stress behaviors at Time 3, and provided some evidence of mediating the relation between death of parent(s) during the war and the two outcomes mentioned above. Approach coping was associated with higher Time 3 adaptive/prosocial behaviors, whereas avoidance coping was associated with lower Time 3 adaptive/prosocial behaviors. Avoidance coping may be a protective factor against mental illness, whereas approach coping may be a promotive factor for adaptive/prosocial behaviors in war-affected societies. This study has important implications for designing and implementing mental health interventions for youth in postconflict settings.
An increasing number of researchers and policymakers have been moved to study and intervene in the lives of children affected by violent conflicts (Masten, 2014). According to a United Nations Children's Fund (2009) report, over 1 billion children under the age of 18 are growing up in regions where acts of political violence and armed conflict are, as Ladds and Cairns (1996, p. 15) put it, “a common occurrence—a fact of life.” In recent years, the United Nations Children's Fund, advocacy and human rights groups, journalists, and researchers have drawn public attention to the high rates of child casualties in these regions, and to the plights of those children still caught in the crossfire. It has thus become clear that both the challenges and the stakes are higher than ever to promote the safety and well-being of affected children around the world (Masten & Narayan, 2012; Tol, Jordans, Kohrt, Betancourt, & Komproe, 2012).
Urban slum environments in the tropics are conducive to the proliferation and the spread of rodent-borne zoonotic pathogens to humans. Calodium hepaticum (Brancroft, 1893) is a zoonotic nematode known to infect a variety of mammalian hosts, including humans. Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) are considered the most important mammalian host of C. hepaticum and are therefore a potentially useful species to inform estimates of the risk to humans living in urban slum environments. There is a lack of studies systematically evaluating the role of demographic and environmental factors that influence both carriage and intensity of infection of C. hepaticum in rodents from urban slum areas within tropical regions. Carriage and the intensity of infection of C. hepaticum were studied in 402 Norway rats over a 2-year period in an urban slum in Salvador, Brazil. Overall, prevalence in Norway rats was 83% (337/402). Independent risk factors for C. hepaticum carriage in R. norvegicus were age and valley of capture. Of those infected the proportion with gross liver involvement (i.e. >75% of the liver affected, a proxy for a high level intensity of infection), was low (8%, 26/337). Sixty soil samples were collected from ten locations to estimate levels of environmental contamination and provide information on the potential risk to humans of contracting C. hepaticum from the environment. Sixty percent (6/10) of the sites were contaminated with C. hepaticum. High carriage levels of C. hepaticum within Norway rats and sub-standard living conditions within slum areas may increase the risk to humans of exposure to the infective eggs of C. hepaticum. This study supports the need for further studies to assess whether humans are becoming infected within this community and whether C. hepaticum is posing a significant risk to human health.
New radiocarbon calibration curves, IntCal04 and Marine04, have been constructed and internationally ratified to replace the terrestrial and marine components of IntCal98. The new calibration data sets extend an additional 2000 yr, from 0–26 cal kyr BP (Before Present, 0 cal BP = AD 1950), and provide much higher resolution, greater precision, and more detailed structure than IntCal98. For the Marine04 curve, dendrochronologically-dated tree-ring samples, converted with a box diffusion model to marine mixed-layer ages, cover the period from 0–10.5 cal kyr BP. Beyond 10.5 cal kyr BP, high-resolution marine data become available from foraminifera in varved sediments and U/Th-dated corals. The marine records are corrected with site-specific 14C reservoir age information to provide a single global marine mixed-layer calibration from 10.5–26.0 cal kyr BP. A substantial enhancement relative to IntCal98 is the introduction of a random walk model, which takes into account the uncertainty in both the calendar age and the 14C age to calculate the underlying calibration curve (Buck and Blackwell, this issue). The marine data sets and calibration curve for marine samples from the surface mixed layer (Marine04) are discussed here. The tree-ring data sets, sources of uncertainty, and regional offsets are presented in detail in a companion paper by Reimer et al. (this issue).