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Positive symptoms are a useful predictor of aggression in schizophrenia. Although a similar pattern of abnormal brain structures related to both positive symptoms and aggression has been reported, this observation has not yet been confirmed in a single sample.
To study the association between positive symptoms and aggression in schizophrenia on a neurobiological level, a prospective meta-analytic approach was employed to analyze harmonized structural neuroimaging data from 10 research centers worldwide. We analyzed brain MRI scans from 902 individuals with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia and 952 healthy controls.
The result identified a widespread cortical thickness reduction in schizophrenia compared to their controls. Two separate meta-regression analyses revealed that a common pattern of reduced cortical gray matter thickness within the left lateral temporal lobe and right midcingulate cortex was significantly associated with both positive symptoms and aggression.
These findings suggested that positive symptoms such as formal thought disorder and auditory misperception, combined with cognitive impairments reflecting difficulties in deploying an adaptive control toward perceived threats, could escalate the likelihood of aggression in schizophrenia.
Overweight and obesity may increase risk of disease progression in men with prostate cancer, but there have been few studies of weight loss interventions in this patient group. In this study overweight or obese men treated for prostate cancer were randomised to a self-help diet and activity intervention with telephone-based dietitian support or a wait-list mini-intervention group. The intervention group had an initial group meeting, a supporting letter from their urological consultant, three telephone dietitian consultations at 4-week intervals, a pedometer and access to web-based diet and physical activity resources. At 12 weeks, men in both groups were given digital scales for providing follow-up weight measurements, and the wait-list group received a mini-intervention of the supporting letter, a pedometer and access to the web-based resources. Sixty-two men were randomised; fifty-four completed baseline and 12-week measurements, and fifty-one and twenty-seven provided measurements at 6 and 12 months, respectively. In a repeated-measures model, mean difference in weight change between groups (wait-list mini-intervention minus intervention) at 12 weeks was −2·13 (95 % CI −3·44, −0·82) kg (P = 0·002). At 12 months the corresponding value was −2·43 (95 % CI −4·50, −0·37) kg (P = 0·022). Mean difference in global quality of life score change between groups at 12 weeks was 12·3 (95 % CI 4·93, 19·7) (P = 0·002); at 12 months there were no significant differences between groups. Results suggest the potential of self-help diet and physical activity intervention with trained support for modest but sustained weight loss in this patient group.
Observation of the ion source generated background has been an area of focus during our routine analytical work. It is noted that the results of very-low-ratio samples are dependent upon the particular procedures for measurement using the present-day Cs+ sputter ion sources. When measured without excessive Cs+ fluxes and without interleafing with other higher-ratio samples and references, the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) sensitivity can be somewhat improved. In some cases, it appears possible to assess old radiocarbon (14C) samples to beyond the long-standing 60 kyr limit. A number of observational studies are made for the sole purpose of minimizing the final contamination to the rare isotopes that is generated within the ion source.
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.
Culture-based studies, which focus on individual organisms, have implicated stethoscopes as potential vectors of nosocomial bacterial transmission. However, the full bacterial communities that contaminate in-use stethoscopes have not been investigated.
We used bacterial 16S rRNA gene deep-sequencing, analysis, and quantification to profile entire bacterial populations on stethoscopes in use in an intensive care unit (ICU), including practitioner stethoscopes, individual-use patient-room stethoscopes, and clean unused individual-use stethoscopes. Two additional sets of practitioner stethoscopes were sampled before and after cleaning using standardized or practitioner-preferred methods.
Bacterial contamination levels were highest on practitioner stethoscopes, followed by patient-room stethoscopes, whereas clean stethoscopes were indistinguishable from background controls. Bacterial communities on stethoscopes were complex, and community analysis by weighted UniFrac showed that physician and patient-room stethoscopes were indistinguishable and significantly different from clean stethoscopes and background controls. Genera relevant to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) were common on practitioner stethoscopes, among which Staphylococcus was ubiquitous and had the highest relative abundance (6.8%–14% of contaminating bacterial sequences). Other HAI-related genera were also widespread although lower in abundance. Cleaning of practitioner stethoscopes resulted in a significant reduction in bacterial contamination levels, but these levels reached those of clean stethoscopes in only a few cases with either standardized or practitioner-preferred methods, and bacterial community composition did not significantly change.
Stethoscopes used in an ICU carry bacterial DNA reflecting complex microbial communities that include nosocomially important taxa. Commonly used cleaning practices reduce contamination but are only partially successful at modifying or eliminating these communities.
Multi-sire mating of a mob of ewes is commonly used in commercial sheep production systems. However, ram mating success (defined as the number of lambs sired by an individual) can vary between rams in the mating group. If this trait was repeatable and heritable, selection of rams capable of siring larger numbers of lambs could reduce the number of rams required for mating and ultimately lead to increased genetic gain. However, genetic correlations with other productive traits, such as growth and female fertility, could influence the potential for ram mating success to be used as a selection trait. In order to investigate this trait, parentage records (including accuracy of sire assignment) from 15 commercial ram breeding flocks of various breeds were utilised to examine the repeatability and heritability of ram mating success in multi-sire mating groups. In addition, genetic and phenotypic correlations with growth and female fertility traits were estimated using ASReml. The final model used for the ram mating success traits included age of the ram and mating group as fixed effects. Older rams (3+years old) had 15% to 20% greater mating success than younger rams (1 or 2 years of age). Increasing the stringency of the criteria for inclusion of both an individual lamb, based on accuracy of sire assignment, or a whole mating group, based on how many lambs had an assigned sire, increased repeatability and heritability estimates of the ram mating success traits examined. With the most stringent criteria employed, where assignment of sire accuracy was >0.95 and the total number of lambs in the progeny group that failed to have a sire assigned was<0.05, repeatability and heritability for loge(number of lambs) was 0.40±0.09 and 0.26±0.12, respectively. For proportion of lambs sired, repeatability and heritability were both 0.30±0.09. The two ram mating traits (loge(nlamb) and proportion) were highly correlated, both phenotypically and genetically (0.88±0.01 and 0.94±0.06, respectively). Both phenotypic and genetic correlations between ram mating success and growth and other female fertility traits were low and non-significant. In conclusion, there is scope to select rams capable of producing high numbers of progeny and thus increase selection pressure on rams to increase genetic gain.
Accurate and reproducible patient positioning is a critical step in radiotherapy for breast cancer. This has seen the use of permanent skin markings becoming standard practice in many centres. Permanent skin markings may have a negative impact on long-term cosmetic outcome, which may in turn, have psychological implications in terms of body image. The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of using a semi-permanent tattooing device for the administration of skin marks for breast radiotherapy set-up.
Materials and methods
This was designed as a phase II double-blinded randomised-controlled study comparing our standard permanent tattoos with the Precision Plus Micropigmentation (PPMS) device method. Patients referred for radical breast radiotherapy were eligible for the study. Each study participant had three marks applied using a randomised combination of the standard permanent and PPMS methods and was blinded to the type of each mark. Follow up was at routine appointments until 24 months post radiotherapy. Participants and a blind assessor were invited to score the visibility of each tattoo at each follow-up using a Visual Analogue Scale. Tattoo scores at each time point and change in tattoo scores at 24 months were analysed by a general linear model using the patient as a fixed effect and the type of tattoo (standard or research) as covariate. A simple questionnaire was used to assess radiographer feedback on using the PPMS.
In total, 60 patients were recruited to the study, of which 55 were available for follow-up at 24 months. Semi-permanent tattoos were more visible at 24 months than the permanent tattoos. Semi-permanent tattoos demonstrated a greater degree of fade than the permanent tattoos at 24 months (final time point) post completion of radiotherapy. This was not statistically significant, although it was more apparent for the patient scores (p=0·071) than the blind assessor scores (p=0·27). No semi-permanent tattoos required re-marking before the end of radiotherapy and no adverse skin reactions were observed.
The PPMS presents a safe and feasible alternative to our permanent tattooing method. An extended period of follow-up is required to fully assess the extent of semi-permanent tattoo fade.
Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder, linked to several structural abnormalities of the brain. More specifically, previous findings have suggested that increased gyrification in frontal and temporal regions are implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
The current study included participants at high familial risk of schizophrenia who remained well (n = 31), who developed sub-diagnostic symptoms (n = 28) and who developed schizophrenia (n = 9) as well as healthy controls (HC) (n = 16). We first tested whether individuals at high familial risk of schizophrenia carried an increased burden of trait-associated alleles using polygenic risk score analysis. We then assessed the extent to which polygenic risk was associated with gyral folding in the frontal and temporal lobes.
We found that individuals at high familial risk of schizophrenia who developed schizophrenia carried a significantly greater burden of risk-conferring variants for the disorder compared to those at high risk (HR) who developed sub-diagnostic symptoms or remained well and HC. Furthermore, within the HR cohort, there was a significant and positive association between schizophrenia polygenic risk score and bilateral frontal gyrification.
These results suggest that polygenic risk for schizophrenia impacts upon early neurodevelopment to confer greater gyral folding in adulthood and an increased risk of developing the disorder.
We present an indentation-scope that interfaces with confocal microscopy, enabling direct observation of the three-dimensional (3D) microstructural response of coatings on substrates. Using this method, we compared microns-thick polymer coatings on glass with and without silica nanoparticle filler. Bulk force data confirmed the >30% modulus difference, while microstructural data further revealed slip at the glass-coating interface. Filled coatings slipped more and about two times faster, as reflected in 3D displacement and von Mises strain fields. Overall, these data indicate that silica-doping of coatings can dramatically alter adhesion. Moreover, this method compliments existing theoretical and modeling approaches for studying indentation in layered systems.
The Yellow Sea region is of high global importance for waterbird populations, but recent systematic bird count data enabling identification of the most important sites are relatively sparse for some areas. Surveys of waterbirds at three sites on the coast of southern Jiangsu Province, China, in 2014 and 2015 produced peak counts of international importance for 24 species, including seven globally threatened and six Near Threatened species. The area is of particular global importance for the ‘Critically Endangered’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea (peak count across all three study sites: 62 in spring  and 225 in autumn  and ‘Endangered’ Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer (peak count across all three study sites: 210 in spring  and 1,110 in autumn ). The southern Jiangsu coast is therefore currently the most important migratory stopover area in the world, in both spring and autumn, for both species. Several serious and acute threats to waterbirds were recorded at these study sites. Paramount is the threat of large-scale land claim which would completely destroy intertidal mudflats of critical importance to waterbirds. Degradation of intertidal mudflat habitats through the spread of invasive Spartina, and mortality of waterbirds by entrapment in nets or deliberate poisoning are also real and present serious threats here. Collisions with, and displacement by, wind turbines and other structures, and industrial chemical pollution may represent additional potential threats. We recommend the rapid establishment of effective protected areas for waterbirds in the study area, maintaining large areas of open intertidal mudflat, and the urgent removal of all serious threats currently faced by waterbirds here.
Contact precautions are a traditional strategy to prevent transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Chlorhexidine bathing is increasingly used to decrease MRSA burden and transmission in intensive care units (ICUs). We sought to evaluate a hospital policy change from routine contact precautions for MRSA compared with universal chlorhexidine bathing, without contact precautions. We measured new MRSA acquisition in ICU patients and surveyed for MRSA environmental contamination in common areas and non-MRSA patient rooms before and after the policy change. During the baseline and chlorhexidine bathing periods, the number of patients (453 vs. 417), ICU days (1999 vs. 1703) and MRSA days/1000 ICU days (109 vs. 102) were similar. MRSA acquisition (2/453 vs. 2/457, P = 0·93) and environmental MRSA contamination (9/474 vs. 7/500, P = 0·53) were not significantly different between time periods. There were 58% fewer contact precaution days in the ICU during the chlorhexidine period (241/1993 vs. 102/1730, P < 0·01). We found no evidence that discontinuation of contact precautions for patients with MRSA in conjunction with adoption of daily chlorhexidine bathing in ICUs is associated with increased MRSA acquisition among ICU patients or increased MRSA contamination of ICU fomites. Although underpowered, our findings suggest this strategy, which has the potential to reduce costs and improve patient safety, should be assessed in similar but larger studies.
Background: Patients who require hospitalization for a mild or moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often discharged home with uncertainty around their full recovery. This study examines the frequency and severity of common post-TBI symptoms, as assessed by the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPCQ). Methods: All adult TBI inpatients discharged home from the Neurosurgery service were interviewed by phone at two weeks by a rehab-based nurse practitioner. RPCQ components (cognitive, emotional, and somatic) were analyzed; findings and management recommendations were communicated to family practitioners and the treating neurosurgeon. Results: In 46 patients, cognitive symptoms were present in 52%, 91% had somatic, and 100% had emotional symptoms. Fatigue was the most common symptom (67%). Double vision was the least common symptom (4%). Recommendations for managing symptoms, return to work, and need for formal clinical assessment were provided for 37% of cases. Conclusions: All patients admitted to neurosurgery with mild or moderate TBI had symptoms at two weeks. The RPCQ is a low-cost structured evaluative tool which highlights needs and provides guidance for patients and care-givers; it also seems effective in identifying those who may require formal clinical assessment.
Background: Traditional neurosurgical techniques and/or stereotactic radiotherapy, although effective for solid tumors, can be associated with high morbidity and be relatively ineffective for long-term control of cystic sellar/parasellar tumors. The rationale of our study was to examine the efficacy and safety of stereotactic intracavitary instillation of 90yttrium colloid for the primary treatment of cystic tumors. Methods: As part of a Health Canada approved clinical trial, we have enrolled nine patients (6 females, 3 males; mean age 64, range 43 to 83 years) for treatment of symptomatic and/or enlarging cysts. Ten cystic sellar/parasellar lesions underwent right frontal stereotactic insertion of 90yttrium colloid to deliver a radiation dose of 200 Gy to the cyst wall. Results: Compared with pre-treatment cyst volumes (mean 4.6 cc; range 0.8-16.1 cc), the cysts decreased in size at 3 months (2.6 cc; 0.2-10 cc) with further shrinkage (n=5) at 9 months (1 cc; 0.1-2.7 cc). Of 9 patients with pre-operation visual field defects, 6 showed improvement. The single complication was a delayed (1 month) incomplete CNIII palsy. Conclusions: Our early experience indicates that 90yttrium colloid delivered to a cystic craniopharyngioma provides an efficacious alternative to open surgery for primary treatment of these cystic lesions.
Histopathological anomalies of inner-ear structures in individuals with Down syndrome have been well documented; however, few studies have examined the radiological features.
A retrospective study was conducted of temporal bone computed tomography images in 38 individuals (75 ears) with Down syndrome to evaluate the prevalence of inner-ear abnormalities and assess vestibular aqueduct widths.
Inner-ear anomalies were identified in 20 of the 38 individuals (52.6 per cent). Seven of the 75 temporal bones (9.3 per cent) were found to have higher than previously reported. A dilated internal auditory canal and vestibule were more common among the present study group, while prior studies have demonstrated internal auditory canal stenosis and decreased vestibule size.
Down syndrome patients exhibit a high prevalence of dysplastic inner-ear features that confer substantial risk of sensorineural hearing loss. Computed tomography is a useful screening aid to detect inner-ear abnormalities, particularly enlarged vestibular aqueducts, which cause preventable sensorineural hearing loss in this population.
The objective was to determine the effects of immunization against gonadotropin-releasing hormone on reproductive characteristics in boars. A total of 72 boars were used in a randomized design with three treatments: single immunization (SI) (10 weeks of age) or double immunization (DI) (10 and 15 weeks of age) with Improvest® and intact controls (no Improvest®; CNT) (n=24/group). At 10, 15, 20, 25 and 40 weeks of age, blood was collected and serum harvested to evaluate testosterone concentrations. Testosterone concentrations were less for DI boars compared with CNT boars and SI boars at 20 and 25 weeks (P<0.001), but not at 40 weeks of age. At week 25, 18 pigs (n=6/group) were sacrificed and testes were removed, weighed and measured, and seminiferous tubules were examined and scored using histological slides of testes parenchyma. A sample of neck fat was assessed for boar taint aroma. All testicular measurements and weights and seminiferous tubule scores were less for DI boars compared with SI and CNT boars (P<0.001). More (P<0.05) SI and CNT boars had detectable boar taint aroma than DI boars. Libido was assessed at 32, 36, 47, 60 and 63 weeks of age and semen collected at 60 weeks of age was analyzed for indicators of quality. There were no effects of treatment (P=0.41) or treatment by week (P=0.71) on libido. Semen volume, gel weight and total number of sperm cells, determined in a subset of boars (n=3/treatment), were not different among treatments. Sperm concentration was greater for DI than SI (P=0.01), and tended to be greater for DI compared with CNT (P=0.10). Sperm motility tended to be greater for DI boars compared with CNT boars (P=0.066). In conclusion, our results show that there are no long-term effects of immunocastration on reproductive characteristics in boars.
Without a universal Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system in India, data on the epidemiology of patients who utilize EMS are limited. This retrospective chart review aimed to quantify and describe the burden of disease and patient demographics of patients who arrived by EMS to four Indian emergency departments (EDs) in order to inform a national EMS curriculum.
A retrospective chart review was performed on patients transported by EMS over a three-month period in 2014 to four private EDs in India. A total of 17,541 patient records were sampled from the four sites over the study period. Of these records, 1,723 arrived by EMS and so were included for further review.
A range of 1.4%-19.4% of ED patients utilized EMS to get to the ED. The majority of EMS patients were male (59%-64%) and adult or geriatric (93%-99%). The most common chief complaints and ED diagnoses were neurological, pulmonary, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, trauma, and infectious disease.
Neurological, pulmonary, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, trauma, and infectious disease are the most common problems found in patients transported by EMS in India. Adult and geriatric male patients are the most common EMS utilizers. Emergency Medical Services curricula should emphasize these knowledge areas and skills.
WijesekeraO, ReedA, ChastainPS, BiggsS, ClarkEG, KoleT, ChakrapaniAT, AshishN, RajhansP, BreaudAH, JacquetGA. Epidemiology of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Utilization in Four Indian Emergency Departments. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016;31(6):675–679.
Introduction: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in Nova Scotia. TBI occurs in approximately 50% of major trauma seen annually in the province. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics and patterns of major TBI seen in Nova Scotia over a 12-year period. Methods: This was a retrospective case series. Data were obtained from the Nova Scotia Trauma Registry for all patients presenting with major TBI (abbreviated injury score [AIS] head ≥3) between 2002 and 2013. Injury rates were calculated on the basis of 100,000 population (all ages) using population estimates from Statistics Canada. Results: Overall, 4152 major TBI patients were seen in Nova Scotia hospitals during the study period. Mean age of TBI patients was 51±25 years; 73% were male. The majority of injuries were the result of blunt trauma (93%), with relatively few major TBIs resulting from penetrating trauma (7%). The most common mechanisms of injury were falls (44%) and motor vehicle crashes (27%). Analysis of census-based subpopulations of the province showed that injury rates varied significantly among counties (from 25 to 63 per 100,000 population). We observed an increase in the number of major TBI patients over twelve years. Conclusion: Our findings suggest significant regional variation in major TBI rates in Nova Scotia. There are ongoing needs for prevention and intervention efforts that focus on unintentional falls and motor vehicle crashes, especially in older adults. These results also suggest that geographically targeted efforts may be warranted.
Introduction: Although alcohol use increases the risk of experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it remains unclear whether outcomes in alcohol-impaired patients are different from those of unimpaired patients. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of alcohol on length of stay (LOS) and mortality in patients with major TBI. Methods: Using data collected from the Nova Scotia Trauma Registry, we performed a retrospective analysis of all patients with major TBI (defined as having an abbreviated injury score (AIS) head ≥3) seen in Nova Scotia hospitals between 2002 and 2013. Patients were compared by blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at time of injury: negative (0-1.9 mmol/L), low (2-21 mmol/L), and moderate/high (≥22 mmol/L). A logistic regression model was constructed to test for outcomes and adjusted for the effects of age, gender, location, injury severity score (ISS), and BAC level. Results: In a twelve-year period, there were 4152 major TBI patients in Nova Scotia. Alcohol testing was performed in 43% of cases (80% male, mean age 44±20 years), with 48% having a positive BAC. Mean acute LOS was similar for all three BAC groups. Increasing age (odds ratio [OR]=1.01; p<0.001), high ISS (OR=4.92; p<0.001), injuries occurring outside of Halifax Regional Municipality (OR=1.72; p<0.001), and having a lower BAC level (OR = 0.99; p<0.001) independently predicted mortality. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that low BAC levels are associated with increased mortality in major TBI patients. Further study is warranted to elucidate alcohol’s mechanism in TBI outcomes.
Acute mastoiditis is a significant cause of morbidity in the paediatric population. This paper reviews our experience with this condition over the last 10 years and compares it with historical data from Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool, UK.
A retrospective case note review of patients who presented between 2003 and 2012 was performed.
Forty-six patients with acute mastoiditis were identified. Imaging with computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging was carried out in 14 cases (30.4 per cent). Intracranial complications were identified in six patients (13.0 per cent), one of whom required neurosurgical intervention. In 27 cases (58.7 per cent), a surgical procedure was performed. Data from 1995 to 2000 revealed similar rates of imaging (30.0 per cent), but significantly lower rates of surgical intervention (23 per cent). A lower rate of intracranial complications (4.8 per cent) in the historical cohort did not prove to be statistically significant (p = 0.419).
The numbers of paediatric patients presenting with acute mastoiditis appears essentially unchanged. Improvement in imaging technology and aids to interpretation may explain the apparent increase of intracranial complications.