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Objective: To investigate the effects of methylphenidate on long-term executive and neuropsychological functioning in children with attention problems following TBI, as well as the relationship between methylphenidate associated changes in lab-based neuropsychological measures of attentional control, processing speed, and executive functioning and parent- or self-report measures of everyday executive functioning. Method: 26 children aged 6–17 years, who were hospitalized for moderate-to-severe blunt head trauma 6 or more months previously, were recruited from a large children’s hospital medical center. Participants were randomized into a double-masked, placebo-controlled cross-over clinical trial. Participants completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery and parent- and self-report ratings of everyday executive functioning at baseline, and at 4 weeks and 8 weeks following upward titration of medication to an optimal dose or while administered a placebo. Results: Methylphenidate was associated with significant improvements in processing speed, sustained attention, and both lab-based and everyday executive functioning. Significant treatment-by-period interactions were found on a task of sustained attention. Participants who were randomized to the methylphenidate condition for the first treatment period demonstrated random or erratic responding, with slower and more variable response times when given placebo during the second period. Conclusion: Results indicate that methylphenidate treatment is associated with positive outcomes in processing speed, sustained attention, and both lab-based and everyday measures of executive functioning compared to placebo group. Additionally, results suggest sustained attention worsens when discontinuing medication. (JINS, 2019, 25, 740–749)
It is well know that the determination of the local luminosity function of Seyfert nuclei meets several difficulties produced by: the determination of a suitable sample, the estimation of the nuclear magnitudes biased from the contribution from the host galaxies, which may be dominant if the nucleus is faints and the presumably large errors associated with the estimated magnitudes.
The weak thermal emission from the largest minor planets can be detected in the microwave regime by the Very Large Array (VLA). Signal-to-noise ratios are sufficiently high to permit precise measurement of the positions of these objects at all points in their orbits with respect to background extragalactic sources. We are in the process of obtaining observations of astrometric accuracy for minor planets 1 Ceres, 2 Pallas, 4 Vesta, and 10 Hygeia.
Minor planets have historically served as “test particles” in the solar system, and optical observations of these objects have been valuable in the determination of fundamental astronomical constants. In particular, optical observations of minor planets have played an important role in the establishment of the fundamental optical reference frame by permitting the determination of the orientation of the Earth's orbit relative to the stars defining the frame.
Similarly, radio observations of these bodies can play a corresponding role in the establishment of a fundamental radio reference frame. Our observations will provide a direct link between the dynamical and radio reference frames, and provide important information on the relationship between the radio and optical reference frames.
There is a lack of evidence pointing to the efficacy of any specific psychotherapy for adults with anorexia nervosa (AN). The aim of this study was to compare three psychological treatments for AN: Specialist Supportive Clinical Management, Maudsley Model Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults and Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
A multi-centre randomised controlled trial was conducted with outcomes assessed at pre-, mid- and post-treatment, and 6- and 12-month follow-up by researchers blind to treatment allocation. All analyses were intention-to-treat. One hundred and twenty individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for AN were recruited from outpatient treatment settings in three Australian cities and offered 25–40 sessions over a 10-month period. Primary outcomes were body mass index (BMI) and eating disorder psychopathology. Secondary outcomes included depression, anxiety, stress and psychosocial impairment.
Treatment was completed by 60% of participants and 52.5% of the total sample completed 12-month follow-up. Completion rates did not differ between treatments. There were no significant differences between treatments on continuous outcomes; all resulted in clinically significant improvements in BMI, eating disorder psychopathology, general psychopathology and psychosocial impairment that were maintained over follow-up. There were no significant differences between treatments with regard to the achievement of a healthy weight (mean = 50%) or remission (mean = 28.3%) at 12-month follow-up.
The findings add to the evidence base for these three psychological treatments for adults with AN, but the results underscore the need for continued efforts to improve outpatient treatments for this disorder.
Genetic variation in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is associated with several psychiatric conditions characterized by deficits in executive functioning (EF). A specific OXTR variant, rs2254298, has previously been associated with brain functioning in regions implicated in EF. Moreover, birth weight variation across the entire range is associated with individual differences in cortical structure and function that underlie EF. This is the first study to examine the main and interactive effect between rs2254298 and birth weight on EF in children. The sample consisted of 310 children from an ongoing longitudinal study. EF was measured at age 4.5 using observational tasks indexing working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control. A family-based design that controlled for population admixture, stratification, and nongenomic confounds was employed. A significant genetic association between rs2254298 and EF was observed, with more copies of the major allele (G) associated with higher EF. There was also a significant interaction between rs2254298 and birth weight, such that more copies of the major allele in combination with higher birth weight predicted better EF. Findings suggest that OXTR may be associated with discrete neurocognitive abilities in childhood, and these effects may be modulated by intrauterine conditions related to fetal growth and development.
Africa is experiencing a rapid increase in adult obesity and associated cardiometabolic diseases (CMDs). The H3Africa AWI-Gen Collaborative Centre was established to examine genomic and environmental factors that influence body composition, body fat distribution and CMD risk, with the aim to provide insights towards effective treatment and intervention strategies. It provides a research platform of over 10 500 participants, 40–60 years old, from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. Following a process that involved community engagement, training of project staff and participant informed consent, participants were administered detailed questionnaires, anthropometric measurements were taken and biospecimens collected. This generated a wealth of demographic, health history, environmental, behavioural and biomarker data. The H3Africa SNP array will be used for genome-wide association studies. AWI-Gen is building capacity to perform large epidemiological, genomic and epigenomic studies across several African counties and strives to become a valuable resource for research collaborations in Africa.
Recent spectropolarimetric surveys of bright, hot stars have found that ~10% of OB-type stars contain strong (mostly dipolar) surface magnetic fields (~kG). The prominent paradigm describing the interaction between the stellar winds and the surface magnetic field is the magnetically confined wind shock (MCWS) model. In this model, the stellar wind plasma is forced to move along the closed field loops of the magnetic field, colliding at the magnetic equator, and creating a shock. As the shocked material cools radiatively it will emit X-rays. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy is a key tool in detecting and characterizing the hot wind material confined by the magnetic fields of these stars. Some B-type stars are found to have very short rotational periods. The effects of the rapid rotation on the X-ray production within the magnetosphere have yet to be explored in detail. The added centrifugal force due to rapid rotation is predicted to cause faster wind outflows along the field lines, leading to higher shock temperatures and harder X-rays. However, this is not observed in all rapidly rotating magnetic B-type stars. In order to address this from a theoretical point of view, we use the X-ray Analytical Dynamical Magnetosphere (XADM) model, originally developed for slow rotators, with an implementation of new rapid rotational physics. Using X-ray spectroscopy from ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope, we observed 5 rapidly rotating B-types stars to add to the previous list of observations. Comparing the observed X-ray luminosity and hardness ratio to that predicted by the XADM allows us to determine the role the added centrifugal force plays in the magnetospheric X-ray emission of these stars.
The Of?p category was introduced more than 40 years ago to gather several Galactic stars with some odd properties. Since 2000, spectropolarimetry, high-resolution spectroscopy, long-term photometry, and X-ray observations have revealed their nature: magnetic oblique rotators - they all have magnetic fields that confine their winds. Several Of?p stars have now been detected in the Magellanic Clouds, likely the prototypes of magnetic massive stars at low metallicity. This contribution will present the most recent photometric, spectroscopic, and spectropolarimetric data, along with the first modeling of these objects.
Objectives: To examine whether apolipoprotein e4 (APOE) status moderates the association of family environment with child functioning following early traumatic brain injury (TBI). Methods: Sixty-five children with moderate to severe TBI and 70 children with orthopedic injury (OI) completed assessments 6, 12, 18 months, and 3.5 and 6.8 years post injury. DNA was extracted from saliva samples and genotyped for APOE e4 status. Linear mixed models examined moderating effects of APOE e4 status on associations between two family environment factors (parenting style, home environment) and three child outcomes (executive functioning, behavioral adjustment, adaptive functioning). Results: Children with TBI who were carriers of the e4 allele showed poorer adaptive functioning relative to non-carriers with TBI and children with OI in the context of low authoritarianism. At high levels of authoritarianism, non-carriers with TBI showed the poorest adaptive functioning among groups. There were no main effects or interactions involving APOE and executive functioning or behavioral adjustment. Conclusions:The APOE e4 allele was detrimental for long-term adaptive functioning in the context of positive parenting, whereas in less optimal parenting contexts, being a non-carrier was detrimental. We provide preliminary evidence for an interaction of APOE e4 status and parenting style in predicting long-term outcomes following early TBI. (JINS, 2016, 22, 859–864)
We present spectroscopic and photometric observational evidence for abundance stratification in stellar atmospheres. Attention is given to chemically peculiar (Ap) stars in which magnetic fields stabilize the atmosphere, allowing diffusion processes to establish abundance stratification during the early stages of star's life. The results of recent empirical modelling of chemically stratified atmospheres are briefly discussed, and a comparison is given with the predictions of self-consistent atmospheric models which include radiative diffusion.
The importance of abundance stratification analysis is demonstrated for rapidly oscillating (roAp) stars in which the amplitudes of the radial velocity pulsations are different for the lines of different elements in different ionization stages. We also demonstrate that chemical stratification has important effects on the Zeeman Stokes IQUV profiles of Ap stars, indicating that stratification must be taken into account in detailed modelling of their magnetic fields.
Zeeman-Doppler Imaging enables one to estimate the short term temporal evolution of surface brightness and magnetic structures, under the effect of differential rotation. We present here spectropolarimetric observations secured between 1998 and 2002 for two evolved active stars: the K1 subgiant of the RS CVn system HR 1099 and the single FK Com giant HD 199178. Differential rotation is detected both from brightness and magnetic images, indicating that the rotational shear, roughly solar in magnitude for the single star, is significantly weaker in the binary system. This result suggests that tidal forces, rather than stellar evolution, could be responsible for the lower rotational shear and thus the longer spot lifetime reported for binary systems.