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Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Antimicrobial stewardship programs typically use days of therapy to assess antimicrobial use. However, this metric does not account for the antimicrobial spectrum of activity. We applied an antibiotic spectrum index to a population of very-low-birth-weight infants to assess its utility to evaluate the impact of antimicrobial stewardship interventions.
Resonant optical dipole antennas, consisting either of two arms coupled by a small gap or of a single, uncoupled arm only, are fabricated by the application of electron beam lithography and gold evaporation. Using dark-field microscopy, scattering spectra of structures with varied antenna arm length and varied gap size are obtained. The results show not only a spectral redshift for coupled structures compared to single arm structures, but also that the far-field scattering intensity is significantly higher for two arm structures with gap. In addition to the dipole structures, first fabrication results on quadrupole antennas and split-ring antennas are presented, offering novel pathways for an enhancement of the optical response function.
Production electrolytic chromium coatings suffer from cracks, which result from high internal stresses generated during the electrolytic crystallization process. This paper characterizes the anisotropy, texture and residual stress state in high contraction chromium coatings on steel-Strong <111> fiber texture, almost perfect in-plane azimuthal symmetry, and high surface residual stresses were observed. Anisotropy factor and aggregate elastic moduli were calculated from single crystal elastic constants. A matrix inversion method was developed to solve for biaxial residual stress and unstrained lattice parameter in textured chromium coatings. Assuming an isotropic elastic Hill-Neerfeld model, residual stress was also evaluated using the sin2ψ method adapted to multiple families of reflections.
Early institutional rearing is associated with increased risk for subsequent peer relationship difficulties, but the underlying mechanisms have not been identified. Friendship characteristics, social behaviors with peers, normed assessments of social problems, and social cue use were assessed in 142 children (mean age = 10.06, SD = 2.02; range 7–13 years), of whom 67 were previously institutionalized (PI), and 75 were raised by their biological families. Anxiety and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, often elevated among PI children, were examined as potential mediators of PI status and baseline social functioning and longitudinal follow-ups (2 and 4 years later). Twenty-seven percent of PI children fell above the Child Behavior Checklist Social Problems cutoff. An examination of specific social behaviors with peers indicated that PI and comparison children did not differ in empathic concern or peer social approach, though parents were more likely to endorse aggression/overarousal as a reason that PI children might struggle with friendships. Comparison children outperformed PI children in computerized testing of social cue use learning. Finally, across these measures, social difficulties exhibited in the PI group were mediated by ADHD symptoms with predicted social problems assessed 4 years later. These findings show that, when PI children struggle with friendships, mechanisms involving attention and behavior regulation are likely contributors.
A comprehensive analysis of early dinosaur relationships raised the possibility that the group may have originated in Laurasia (Northern Hemisphere), rather than Gondwana (Southern Hemisphere) as often thought. However, that study focused solely on morphology and phylogenetic relationships and did not quantitatively evaluate this issue. Here, we investigate dinosaur origins using a novel Bayesian framework uniting tip-dated phylogenetics with dynamic, time-sliced biogeographic methods, which explicitly account for the age and locality of fossils and the changing interconnections of areas through time due to tectonic and eustatic change. Our analysis finds strong support for a Gondwanan origin of Dinosauria, with 99 % probability for South America (83 % for southern South America). Parsimony analysis gives concordant results. Inclusion of time-sliced biogeographic information affects ancestral state reconstructions (e.g., high connectivity between two regions increases uncertainty over which is the ancestral area) and influences tree topology (disfavouring uniting fossil taxa from localities that were widely separated during the relevant time slice). Our approach directly integrates plate tectonics with phylogenetics and divergence dating, and in doing so reaffirms southern South America as the most likely area for the geographic origin of Dinosauria.
We observed pediatric S. aureus hospitalizations decreased 36% from 26.3 to 16.8 infections per 1,000 admissions from 2009 to 2016, with methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) decreasing by 52% and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus decreasing by 17%, among 39 pediatric hospitals. Similar decreases were observed for days of therapy of anti-MRSA antibiotics.
Planning mental health carer services requires information about the number of carers, their characteristics, service use and unmet support needs. Available Australian estimates vary widely due to different definitions of mental illness and the types of carers included. This study aimed to provide a detailed profile of Australian mental health carers using a nationally representative household survey.
The number of mental health carers, characteristics of carers and their care recipients, caring hours and tasks provided, service use and unmet service needs were derived from the national 2012 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers. Co-resident carers of adults with a mental illness were compared with those caring for people with physical health and other cognitive/behavioural conditions (e.g., autism, intellectual disability, dementia) on measures of service use, service needs and aspects of their caring role.
In 2012, there were 225 421 co-resident carers of adults with mental illness in Australia, representing 1.0% of the population, and an estimated further 103 813 mental health carers not living with their care recipient. The majority of co-resident carers supported one person with mental illness, usually their partner or adult child. Mental health carers were more likely than physical health carers to provide emotional support (68.1% v. 19.7% of carers) and less likely to assist with practical tasks (64.1% v. 86.6%) and activities of daily living (31.9% v. 48.9%). Of co-resident mental health carers, 22.5% or 50 828 people were confirmed primary carers – the person providing the most support to their care recipient. Many primary mental health carers (37.8%) provided more than 40 h of care per week. Only 23.8% of primary mental health carers received government income support for carers and only 34.4% received formal service assistance in their caring role, while 49.0% wanted more support. Significantly more primary mental health than primary physical health carers were dissatisfied with received services (20.0% v. 3.2%), and 35.0% did not know what services were available to them.
Results reveal a sizable number of mental health carers with unmet needs in the Australian community, particularly with respect to financial assistance and respite care, and that these carers are poorly informed about available supports. The prominence of emotional support and their greater dissatisfaction with services indicate a need to better tailor carer services. If implemented carefully, recent Australian reforms including the Carer Gateway and National Disability Insurance Scheme hold promise for improving mental health carer supports.
In 2016, imported Zika virus (ZIKV) infections and the presence of a potentially competent mosquito vector (Aedes albopictus) implied that ZIKV transmission in New York City (NYC) was possible. The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene developed contingency plans for a urosurvey to rule out ongoing local transmission as quickly as possible if a locally acquired case of confirmed ZIKV infection was suspected. We identified tools to (1) rapidly estimate the population living in any given 150-m radius (i.e. within the typical flight distance of an Aedes mosquito) and (2) calculate the sample size needed to test and rule out the further local transmission. As we expected near-zero ZIKV prevalence, methods relying on the normal approximation to the binomial distribution were inappropriate. Instead, we assumed a hypergeometric distribution, 10 missed cases at maximum, a urine assay sensitivity of 92.6% and 100% specificity. Three suspected example risk areas were evaluated with estimated population sizes of 479–4,453, corresponding to a minimum of 133–1244 urine samples. This planning exercise improved our capacity for ruling out local transmission of an emerging infection in a dense, urban environment where all residents in a suspected risk area cannot be feasibly sampled.
BACKGROUND: Meningiomas are the most common primary benign brain tumors in adults. Given the extended life expectancy of most meningiomas, consideration of quality of life (QOL) is important when selecting the optimal management strategy. There is currently a dearth of meningioma-specific QOL tools in the literature. OBJECTIVE: In this systematic review, we analyze the prevailing themes and propose toward building a meningioma-specific QOL assessment tool. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted, and only original studies based on adult patients were considered. QOL tools used in the various studies were analyzed for identification of prevailing themes in the qualitative analysis. The quality of the studies was also assessed. RESULTS: Sixteen articles met all inclusion criteria. Fifteen different QOL assessment tools assessed social and physical functioning, psychological, and emotional well-being. Patient perceptions and support networks had a major impact on QOL scores. Surgery negatively affected social functioning in younger patients, while radiation therapy had a variable impact. Any intervention appeared to have a greater negative impact on physical functioning compared to observation. CONCLUSION: Younger patients with meningiomas appear to be more vulnerable within social and physical functioning domains. All of these findings must be interpreted with great caution due to great clinical heterogeneity, limited generalizability, and risk of bias. For meningioma patients, the ideal QOL questionnaire would present outcomes that can be easily measured, presented, and compared across studies. Existing scales can be the foundation upon which a comprehensive, standard, and simple meningioma-specific survey can be prospectively developed and validated.
Background: With advancements in technology, the use of video as a pedagogical method in medical education has gained in popularity, and may aid in teaching clinical skills. In the UBC MD program, videos have been used to assist in teaching the -neurological exam for several decades, but the currently available videos are outdated and not of contemporary quality. Methods: Drawing upon the cognitive theory of multimedia learning from Mayer and Moreno (2003) which describes methods to maximize learning by minimizing cognitive load, we developed a tool to systematically assess pedagogical videos. We inventoried twelve existing neurology videos and analyzed their use of methods such as weeding (removing extraneous information), signalling (visually highlighting important information), and chunking (grouping similar information together). Results: Generally, older videos had poor audiovisual quality that introduced extraneous load, while more current videos had higher production value, albeit inconsistent with the depth of their content. We therefore produced a new three-part neurological exam video series. We wrote storyboards, filmed with a focus on visually depicting the exam and findings, and edited to elucidate relevant physiological concepts. Conclusions: The end product has been adopted by the UBC MD program, and can be shared with other programs who may wish to adopt them.
Childhood obesity rates are higher among Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous Australian children. It has been hypothesized that early-life influences beginning with the intrauterine environment predict the development of obesity in the offspring. The aim of this paper was to assess, in 227 mother–child dyads from the Gomeroi gaaynggal cohort, associations between prematurity, Gestation Related-Optimal Weight (GROW) centiles, maternal adiposity (percentage body fat, visceral fat area), maternal non-fasting plasma glucose levels (measured at mean gestational age of 23.1 weeks) and offspring BMI and adiposity (abdominal circumference, subscapular skinfold thickness) in early childhood (mean age 23.4 months). Maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations were positively associated with infant birth weight (P=0.005) and GROW customized birth weight centiles (P=0.008). There was a significant association between maternal percentage body fat (P=0.02) and visceral fat area (P=0.00) with infant body weight in early childhood. Body mass index (BMI) in early childhood was significantly higher in offspring born preterm compared with those born at term (P=0.03). GROW customized birth weight centiles was significantly associated with body weight (P=0.01), BMI (P=0.007) and abdominal circumference (P=0.039) at early childhood. Our findings suggest that being born preterm, large for gestational age or exposed to an obesogenic intrauterine environment and higher maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations are associated with increased obesity risk in early childhood. Future strategies should aim to reduce the prevalence of overweight/obesity in women of child-bearing age and emphasize the importance of optimal glycemia during pregnancy, particularly in Indigenous women.
The submarine channel-fill system of the Cambrian Spurs Formation exhibits unique metre-scale cycles of breccia and diamictite. The studied sections, Eureka Spurs, are located at the Mariner Glacier in the central-eastern part of northern Victoria Land, Antarctica. A facies analysis of the channel-fill deposit has led to the recognition of four main lithofacies: breccia, diamictite, thin-bedded sandstone and mudstone. The channel-fill deposit consists of two architectural elements: hollow-fill (HF) and sheet-like (SL) elements. The SL has wide convex-up geometry and consists solely of a very thick bed of diamictite, and is interpreted as a submarine channel lobe. The HF has a concave-up erosional base and flat upper surface. The HF consists of nine cyclic alternations of underlying breccia (cohesionless debris flow) and overlying diamictite (cohesive debris flow). The deposition of breccia is interpreted to have been controlled by repeated allogenic processes such as earthquakes. In contrast, the abrupt vertical transition from breccia to diamictite in each cycle is interpreted to have resulted from an autogenic, slope instability-related process. The interaction of the allogenic and autogenic factors recorded in the metre-scale unique cyclic deposits provides new criteria to interpret cycles of submarine debris flow.
For livestock production systems to play a positive role in global food security, the balance between their benefits and disbenefits to society must be appropriately managed. Based on the evidence provided by field-scale randomised controlled trials around the world, this debate has traditionally centred on the concept of economic-environmental trade-offs, of which existence is theoretically assured when resource allocation is perfect on the farm. Recent research conducted on commercial farms indicates, however, that the economic-environmental nexus is not nearly as straightforward in the real world, with environmental performances of enterprises often positively correlated with their economic profitability. Using high-resolution primary data from the North Wyke Farm Platform, an intensively instrumented farm-scale ruminant research facility located in southwest United Kingdom, this paper proposes a novel, information-driven approach to carry out comprehensive assessments of economic-environmental trade-offs inherent within pasture-based cattle and sheep production systems. The results of a data-mining exercise suggest that a potentially systematic interaction exists between ‘soil health’, ecological surroundings and livestock grazing, whereby a higher level of soil organic carbon (SOC) stock is associated with a better animal performance and less nutrient losses into watercourses, and a higher stocking density with greater botanical diversity and elevated SOC. We contend that a combination of farming system-wide trials and environmental instrumentation provides an ideal setting for enrolling scientifically sound and biologically informative metrics for agricultural sustainability, through which agricultural producers could obtain guidance to manage soils, water, pasture and livestock in an economically and environmentally acceptable manner. Priority areas for future farm-scale research to ensure long-term sustainability are also discussed.
To describe the transmission dynamics of the emergence and persistence of vanA vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) in an intensive care unit (ICU) using whole-genome sequencing of patient and environmental isolates.
Retrospective cohort study.
ICU in a tertiary referral center.
Patients admitted to the ICU over an 11-month period.
VanA VRE isolated from patients (n=31) were sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq platform. Environmental samples from bed spaces, equipment, and waste rooms were collected. All vanA VRE-positive environmental samples (n=14) were also sequenced. Data were collected regarding patient ward and bed movements.
The 31 patient vanA VRE isolates were from screening (n=19), urine (n=4), bloodstream (n=3), skin/wound (n=3), and intra-abdominal (n=2) sources. The phylogeny from sequencing data confirmed several VRE clusters, with 1 group accounting for 38 of 45 isolates (84%). Within this cluster, cross-transmission was extensive and complex across the ICU. Directionality indicated that colonized patients contaminated environmental sites. Similarly, environmental sources not only led to patient colonization but also to infection. Notably, shared equipment acted as a conduit for transmission between different ICU areas. Infected patients, however, were not linked to further VRE transmission.
Genomic sequencing confirmed a predominantly clonal outbreak of VRE with complex transmission dynamics. The environmental reservoir, particularly from shared equipment, played a key role in ongoing VRE spread. This study provides evidence to support the use of multifaceted strategies, with an emphasis on measures to reduce bacterial burden in the environment, for successful VRE control.
While previous work showed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention toolkit for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) can reduce spread regionally, these interventions are costly, and decisions makers want to know whether and when economic benefits occur.
Orange County, California
Using our Regional Healthcare Ecosystem Analyst (RHEA)-generated agent-based model of all inpatient healthcare facilities, we simulated the implementation of the CRE toolkit (active screening of interfacility transfers) in different ways and estimated their economic impacts under various circumstances.
Compared to routine control measures, screening generated cost savings by year 1 when hospitals implemented screening after identifying ≤20 CRE cases (saving $2,000–$9,000) and by year 7 if all hospitals implemented in a regional coordinated manner after 1 hospital identified a CRE case (hospital perspective). Cost savings was achieved only if hospitals independently screened after identifying 10 cases (year 1, third-party payer perspective). Cost savings was achieved by year 1 if hospitals independently screened after identifying 1 CRE case and by year 3 if all hospitals coordinated and screened after 1 hospital identified 1 case (societal perspective). After a few years, all strategies cost less and have positive health effects compared to routine control measures; most strategies generate a positive cost-benefit each year.
Active screening of interfacility transfers garnered cost savings in year 1 of implementation when hospitals acted independently and by year 3 if all hospitals collectively implemented the toolkit in a coordinated manner. Despite taking longer to manifest, coordinated regional control resulted in greater savings over time.
Human bocaviruses (HBoVs) have been detected in human gastrointestinal infections worldwide. In 2005, HBoV was also discovered in infants and children with infections of the lower respiratory tract. Recently, several genotypes of this parvovirus, including HBoV genotype 2 (HBoV2), genotype 3 (HBoV3) and genotype 4 (HBoV4), were discovered and found to be closely related to HBoV. HBoV2 was first detected in stool samples from children in Pakistan, followed by detection in other countries. HBoV3 was detected in Australia and HBoV4 was identified in stool samples from Nigeria, Tunisia and the USA. Recently, HBoV infection has been on the rise throughout the world, particularly in countries neighbouring South Korea; however, there have been very few studies on Korean strains. In this study, we characterised the whole genome and determined the phylogenetic position of CUK-BC20, a new clinical HBoV strain isolated in South Korea. The CUK-BC20 genome of 5184 nucleotides (nt) contains three open-reading frames (ORFs). The genotype of CUK-BC20 is HBoV2, and 98.77% of its nt sequence is identical with those of other HBoVs, namely Rus-Nsc10-N386. Especially, the ORF3 amino acid sequences from positions 212–213 and 454 corresponding to a variable region (VR)1 and VR5, respectively, showed genotype-specific substitutions that distinguished the four HBoV genotypes. As the first whole-genome sequence analysis of HBoV in South Korea, this information will provide a valuable reference for the detection of recombination, tracking of epidemics and development of diagnosis methods for HBoV.