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Despite established clinical associations among major depression (MD), alcohol dependence (AD), and alcohol consumption (AC), the nature of the causal relationship between them is not completely understood. We leveraged genome-wide data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and UK Biobank to test for the presence of shared genetic mechanisms and causal relationships among MD, AD, and AC.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression and Mendelian randomization (MR) were performed using genome-wide data from the PGC (MD: 135 458 cases and 344 901 controls; AD: 10 206 cases and 28 480 controls) and UK Biobank (AC-frequency: 438 308 individuals; AC-quantity: 307 098 individuals).
Positive genetic correlation was observed between MD and AD (rgMD−AD = + 0.47, P = 6.6 × 10−10). AC-quantity showed positive genetic correlation with both AD (rgAD−AC quantity = + 0.75, P = 1.8 × 10−14) and MD (rgMD−AC quantity = + 0.14, P = 2.9 × 10−7), while there was negative correlation of AC-frequency with MD (rgMD−AC frequency = −0.17, P = 1.5 × 10−10) and a non-significant result with AD. MR analyses confirmed the presence of pleiotropy among these four traits. However, the MD-AD results reflect a mediated-pleiotropy mechanism (i.e. causal relationship) with an effect of MD on AD (beta = 0.28, P = 1.29 × 10−6). There was no evidence for reverse causation.
This study supports a causal role for genetic liability of MD on AD based on genetic datasets including thousands of individuals. Understanding mechanisms underlying MD-AD comorbidity addresses important public health concerns and has the potential to facilitate prevention and intervention efforts.
We present techniques developed to calibrate and correct Murchison Widefield Array low-frequency (72–300 MHz) radio observations for polarimetry. The extremely wide field-of-view, excellent instantaneous (u, v)-coverage and sensitivity to degree-scale structure that the Murchison Widefield Array provides enable instrumental calibration, removal of instrumental artefacts, and correction for ionospheric Faraday rotation through imaging techniques. With the demonstrated polarimetric capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array, we discuss future directions for polarimetric science at low frequencies to answer outstanding questions relating to polarised source counts, source depolarisation, pulsar science, low-mass stars, exoplanets, the nature of the interstellar and intergalactic media, and the solar environment.
Universal screening for postpartum depression is recommended in many countries. Knowledge of whether the disclosure of depressive symptoms in the postpartum period differs across cultures could improve detection and provide new insights into the pathogenesis. Moreover, it is a necessary step to evaluate the universal use of screening instruments in research and clinical practice. In the current study we sought to assess whether the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the most widely used screening tool for postpartum depression, measures the same underlying construct across cultural groups in a large international dataset.
Ordinal regression and measurement invariance were used to explore the association between culture, operationalized as education, ethnicity/race and continent, and endorsement of depressive symptoms using the EPDS on 8209 new mothers from Europe and the USA.
Education, but not ethnicity/race, influenced the reporting of postpartum depression [difference between robust comparative fit indexes (∆*CFI) < 0.01]. The structure of EPDS responses significantly differed between Europe and the USA (∆*CFI > 0.01), but not between European countries (∆*CFI < 0.01).
Investigators and clinicians should be aware of the potential differences in expression of phenotype of postpartum depression that women of different educational backgrounds may manifest. The increasing cultural heterogeneity of societies together with the tendency towards globalization requires a culturally sensitive approach to patients, research and policies, that takes into account, beyond rhetoric, the context of a person's experiences and the context in which the research is conducted.
A review of the MOA (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics) project is presented. MOA is a collaboration of approximately 30 astronomers from New Zealand and Japan established with the aim of finding and detecting microlensing events towards the Magellanic Clouds and the Galactic bulge, which may be indicative of either dark matter or of planetary companions. The observing program commenced in 1995, using very wide band blue and red filters and a nine-chip mosaic CCD camera.
As a by-product of these observations a large database of CCD photometry for 1.4 million stars towards both LMC and SMC has been established. In one preliminary analysis 576 bright variable stars were confirmed, nearly half of them being Cepheids. Another analysis has identified large numbers of blue variables, and 205 eclipsing binaries are included in this sample. In addition 351 red variables (AGB stars) have been found. Light curves have been obtained for all these stars. The observations are carried out on a 61-cm f/6.25 telescope at Mt John University Observatory where a new larger CCD camera was installed in 1998 July. From this latitude (44° S) the Magellanic Clouds can be monitored throughout the year.
The variability of CD-24 7599 (V=11.48 mag) was discovered by JCC during observing run XCOV7 of the Whole Earth Telescope (WET, Nather et al. 1990) network in February, 1992. The star was observed as an additional target and 117 hours of high-quality temporal spectroscopic observations were obtained.
Our analysis of these data revealed the presence of 7 independent pulsation modes between 27.0 and 38.1 cycles per day (313 – 441 μHz) with semiamplitudes of 2.1 – 10.2 milli-modulation amplitudes (mma). We showed that peaks at linear combination frequencies detected in the power spectra were not due to eigenmodes excited to visible amplitude by resonant mode coupling.
New cranial and postcranial material of the baenid turtle Neurankylus from the Paleocene Nacimiento Formation (Torrejonian NALMA) of northwestern New Mexico represents a new species, Neurankylus torrejonensis. The material consists of a fragmented but mostly complete skull, a partial carapace and plastron, portions of both humeri, a partial pelvis, a complete right femur, and a distal phalanx. The small, undivided cervical scale, wide vertebrals, complete ring of marginals, and large size (carapace length 520 mm) diagnose the new taxon as belonging to Neurankylus. The narrow fifth vertebral scale and scalloped posterior shell margin reveal affinities with Neurankylus baueri Gilmore, 1916, which is known from Campanian sediments in New Mexico and Utah. The holotype of Neurankylus torrejonensis is the youngest known specimen of the Neurankylus lineage, which is known to reach at least back to the Late Cretaceous (Santonian). A nearly complete species-level analysis of baenids confirms the basal placement of Neurankylus outside of Baenodda and the split of Baenodda into two primary subclades, herein named Palatobaeninae and Eubaeninae.
A randomised controlled trial (RCT) of high-dose v. low-dose fish oil in recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis (RA) demonstrated that the group allocated to high-dose fish oil had increased remission and decreased failure of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy. This study examines the relationships between plasma phospholipid levels of the n-3 fatty acids in fish oil, EPA and DHA, and remission and DMARD use in recent-onset RA. EPA and DHA were measured in blood samples from both groups of the RCT. The data were analysed as a single cohort, and Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine relationships between plasma phospholipid (PL) EPA and DHA and various outcome measures. When analysed as a single cohort, plasma PL EPA was related to time to remission, with a one unit increase in EPA (1 % total fatty acids) associated with a 12 % increase in the probability of remission at any time during the study period (hazard ratio (HR)=1·12; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·23; P=0·02). Adjustment for smoking, anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies and ‘shared epitope’ HLA-DR allele status did not change the HR. Plasma PL EPA, adjusted for the same variables, was negatively related to time to DMARD failure (HR=0·85; 95 % CI 0·72, 0·99; P=0·047). The HR for DHA and time to remission or DMARD failure were similar in magnitude to those for EPA, but not statistically significant. Biomarkers of n-3 status, such as plasma PL EPA, have the potential to predict clinical outcomes relevant to standard drug treatment of RA patients.
The Murchison Widefield Array is a new low-frequency interferometric radio telescope built in Western Australia at one of the locations of the future Square Kilometre Array. We describe the automated radio-frequency interference detection strategy implemented for the Murchison Widefield Array, which is based on the aoflagger platform, and present 72–231 MHz radio-frequency interference statistics from 10 observing nights. Radio-frequency interference detection removes 1.1% of the data. Radio-frequency interference from digital TV is observed 3% of the time due to occasional ionospheric or atmospheric propagation. After radio-frequency interference detection and excision, almost all data can be calibrated and imaged without further radio-frequency interference mitigation efforts, including observations within the FM and digital TV bands. The results are compared to a previously published Low-Frequency Array radio-frequency interference survey. The remote location of the Murchison Widefield Array results in a substantially cleaner radio-frequency interference environment compared to Low-Frequency Array’s radio environment, but adequate detection of radio-frequency interference is still required before data can be analysed. We include specific recommendations designed to make the Square Kilometre Array more robust to radio-frequency interference, including: the availability of sufficient computing power for radio-frequency interference detection; accounting for radio-frequency interference in the receiver design; a smooth band-pass response; and the capability of radio-frequency interference detection at high time and frequency resolution (second and kHz-scale respectively).
Patients with anxiety disorders suffer marked functional impairment in their activities of daily living. Many studies have documented that improvements in anxiety symptom severity predict functioning improvements. However, no studies have investigated how improvements in functioning simultaneously predict symptom reduction. We hypothesized that symptom levels at a given time point will predict functioning at the subsequent time point, and simultaneously that functioning at a given time point will predict symptom levels at a subsequent time point.
Patients were recruited from primary-care centers for the Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management (CALM) study and were randomized to receive either computer-assisted cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or medication management (ITV) or usual care (UC). A cross-lagged panel design examined the relationship between functional impairment and anxiety and depression symptom severity at baseline, 6-, 12-, and 18-month follow-up assessments.
Prospective prediction of functioning from symptoms and symptoms from functioning were both important in modeling these associations. Anxiety and depression predicted functioning as strongly as functioning predicted anxiety and depression. There were some differences in these associations between UC and ITV. Where differences emerged, the UC group was best modeled with prospective paths predicting functioning from symptoms, whereas symptoms and functioning were both important predictors in the ITV group.
Treatment outcome is best captured by measures of functional impairment as well as symptom severity. Implications for treatment are discussed, as well as future directions of research.
Randomised controlled trials (RCT) examining the effects of fish oil supplementation on cardiac outcomes have yielded varying results over time. Although RCT are placed at the top of the evidence hierarchy, this methodology arose in the framework of pharmaceutical development. RCT with pharmaceuticals differ in important ways from RCT involving fish oil interventions. In particular, in pharmaceutical RCT, the test agent is present only in the intervention group and not in the control group, whereas in fish oil RCT, n-3 fats are present in the diet and in the tissues of both groups. Also, early phase studies with pharmaceuticals determine pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to design the dose of the RCT intervention so that it is in a predicted linear dose–response range. None of this happens in fish oil RCT, and there is evidence that both baseline n-3 intake and tissue levels may be sufficiently high in the dose–response range that it is not possible to demonstrate a clinical effect with a RCT. When these issues are considered, it is possible that the changing pattern of fish consumption and fish oil use over time, especially in cardiac patients, can explain the disparity where benefit was observed in the early fish oil trials but not in the more recent trials.
Some data suggest that older adults with anxiety disorders do not respond as well to treatment as do younger adults.
We examined age differences in outcomes from the Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management (CALM) study, an effectiveness trial comparing usual care to a computer-assisted collaborative care intervention for primary care patients with panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and/or social anxiety disorder. This is the first study to examine the efficacy of a collaborative care intervention in a sample that included both younger and older adults with anxiety disorders. We hypothesised that older adults would show a poorer response to the intervention than younger adults.
We examined findings for the overall sample, as well as within each diagnostic category (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00347269).
The CALM intervention was more effective than usual care among younger adults overall and for those with generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder. Among older adults, the intervention was effective overall and for those with social anxiety disorder and PTSD but not for those with panic disorder or generalised anxiety disorder. The effects of the intervention also appeared to erode by the 18-month follow-up, and there were no significant effects on remission among the older adults.
These results are consistent with the findings of other investigators suggesting that medications and psychotherapy for anxiety disorders may not be as effective for older individuals as they are for younger people.