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Familial risk for psychosis may interact with environmental risk factors.
We are studying a large birth cohort of children of mothers with psychotic disorders, themselves at high risk of developing a psychotic illness, to understand the developmental aetiology of psychotic illness.
Our aim is to examine whether exposure to environmental stressors in childhood, including timing of exposure, is a risk factor for psychotic illness, independent of familial liability. Specificity to maternal schizophrenia is explored.
We used record-linkage across state-wide registers (midwives, psychiatric, child protection and mortality, among others) to identify 15,486 offspring born in Western Australia 1980–2001 to mothers with a lifetime history of psychotic illness (case children) and compared them with 452,459 offspring born in the same period to mothers with no known psychiatric history (comparison children).
A total of 4.1% of case children had developed a psychotic illness compared to 1.1% of comparison children. Exposure to environmental risk factors including obstetric complications, aboriginality, lower socioeconomic status, discontinuity in parenting and childhood abuse significantly increased risk of psychotic illness in offspring. Length and age at time of discontinuity in parenting impacted on risk. At the same time, case children were also significantly more likely than comparison children to be at risk of experiencing these adverse life events.
Exposure to environmental stressors is associated with psychotic illness, and timing of exposure is important. However, children already at increased familial risk for psychotic illness are also at increased risk of experiencing these environmental stressors.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Daily use of high-potency cannabis has been reported to carry a high risk for developing a psychotic disorder. However, the evidence is mixed on whether any pattern of cannabis use is associated with a particular symptomatology in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients.
We analysed data from 901 FEP patients and 1235 controls recruited across six countries, as part of the European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks Studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI) study. We used item response modelling to estimate two bifactor models, which included general and specific dimensions of psychotic symptoms in patients and psychotic experiences in controls. The associations between these dimensions and cannabis use were evaluated using linear mixed-effects models analyses.
In patients, there was a linear relationship between the positive symptom dimension and the extent of lifetime exposure to cannabis, with daily users of high-potency cannabis having the highest score (B = 0.35; 95% CI 0.14–0.56). Moreover, negative symptoms were more common among patients who never used cannabis compared with those with any pattern of use (B = −0.22; 95% CI −0.37 to −0.07). In controls, psychotic experiences were associated with current use of cannabis but not with the extent of lifetime use. Neither patients nor controls presented differences in depressive dimension related to cannabis use.
Our findings provide the first large-scale evidence that FEP patients with a history of daily use of high-potency cannabis present with more positive and less negative symptoms, compared with those who never used cannabis or used low-potency types.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
Evidence has accumulated that implicates childhood trauma in the aetiology of psychosis, but our understanding of the putative psychological processes and mechanisms through which childhood trauma impacts on individuals and contributes to the development of psychosis remains limited. We aimed to investigate whether stress sensitivity and threat anticipation underlie the association between childhood abuse and psychosis.
We used the Experience Sampling Method to measure stress, threat anticipation, negative affect, and psychotic experiences in 50 first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients, 44 At-Risk Mental State (ARMS) participants, and 52 controls. Childhood abuse was assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire.
Associations of minor socio-environmental stress in daily life with negative affect and psychotic experiences were modified by sexual abuse and group (all pFWE < 0.05). While there was strong evidence that these associations were greater in FEP exposed to high levels of sexual abuse, and some evidence of greater associations in ARMS exposed to high levels of sexual abuse, controls exposed to high levels of sexual abuse were more resilient and reported less intense negative emotional reactions to socio-environmental stress. A similar pattern was evident for threat anticipation.
Elevated sensitivity and lack of resilience to socio-environmental stress and enhanced threat anticipation in daily life may be important psychological processes underlying the association between childhood sexual abuse and psychosis.
We have compiled a catalogue of H ii regions detected with the Murchison Widefield Array between 72 and 231 MHz. The multiple frequency bands provided by the Murchison Widefield Array allow us identify the characteristic spectrum generated by the thermal Bremsstrahlung process in H ii regions. We detect 306 H ii regions between 260° < l < 340° and report on the positions, sizes, peak, integrated flux density, and spectral indices of these H ii regions. By identifying the point at which H ii regions transition from the optically thin to thick regime, we derive the physical properties including the electron density, ionised gas mass, and ionising photon flux, towards 61 H ii regions. This catalogue of H ii regions represents the most extensive and uniform low frequency survey of H ii regions in the Galaxy to date.
We compare first-order (refractive) ionospheric effects seen by the MWA with the ionosphere as inferred from GPS data. The first-order ionosphere manifests itself as a bulk position shift of the observed sources across an MWA field of view. These effects can be computed from global ionosphere maps provided by GPS analysis centres, namely the CODE. However, for precision radio astronomy applications, data from local GPS networks needs to be incorporated into ionospheric modelling. For GPS observations, the ionospheric parameters are biased by GPS receiver instrument delays, among other effects, also known as receiver DCBs. The receiver DCBs need to be estimated for any non-CODE GPS station used for ionosphere modelling. In this work, single GPS station-based ionospheric modelling is performed at a time resolution of 10 min. Also the receiver DCBs are estimated for selected Geoscience Australia GPS receivers, located at Murchison Radio Observatory, Yarragadee, Mount Magnet and Wiluna. The ionospheric gradients estimated from GPS are compared with that inferred from MWA. The ionospheric gradients at all the GPS stations show a correlation with the gradients observed with the MWA. The ionosphere estimates obtained using GPS measurements show promise in terms of providing calibration information for the MWA.
GLEAM, the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA survey, is a survey of the entire radio sky south of declination + 25° at frequencies between 72 and 231 MHz, made with the MWA using a drift scan method that makes efficient use of the MWA’s very large field-of-view. We present the observation details, imaging strategies, and theoretical sensitivity for GLEAM. The survey ran for two years, the first year using 40-kHz frequency resolution and 0.5-s time resolution; the second year using 10-kHz frequency resolution and 2 s time resolution. The resulting image resolution and sensitivity depends on observing frequency, sky pointing, and image weighting scheme. At 154 MHz, the image resolution is approximately 2.5 × 2.2/cos (δ + 26.7°) arcmin with sensitivity to structures up to ~ 10° in angular size. We provide tables to calculate the expected thermal noise for GLEAM mosaics depending on pointing and frequency and discuss limitations to achieving theoretical noise in Stokes I images. We discuss challenges, and their solutions, that arise for GLEAM including ionospheric effects on source positions and linearly polarised emission, and the instrumental polarisation effects inherent to the MWA’s primary beam.
Designing materials for performance in high-radiation fields can be accelerated through a carefully chosen combination of advanced multiscale modeling paired with appropriate experimental validation. The studies reported in this work, the combined efforts of six universities working together as the Consortium on Cladding and Structural Materials, use that approach to focus on improving the scientific basis for the response of ferritic–martensitic steels to irradiation. A combination of modern modeling techniques with controlled experimentation has specifically focused on improving the understanding of radiation-induced segregation, precipitate formation and growth under radiation, the stability of oxide nanoclusters, and the development of dislocation networks under radiation. Experimental studies use both model and commercial alloys, irradiated with both ion beams and neutrons. Transmission electron microscopy and atom probe are combined with both first-principles and rate theory approaches to advance the understanding of ferritic–martensitic steels.
A lack of an aetiologically based nosology classification has contributed to instability in psychiatric diagnoses over time. This study aimed to examine the diagnostic stability of psychosis diagnoses using data from an incidence sample of psychosis cases, followed up after 10 years and to examine those baseline variables which were associated with diagnostic change.
Data were examined from the ÆSOP and ÆSOP-10 studies, an incidence and follow-up study, respectively, of a population-based cohort of first-episode psychosis cases from two sites. Diagnosis was assigned using ICD-10 and DSM-IV-TR. Diagnostic change was examined using prospective and retrospective consistency. Baseline variables associated with change were examined using logistic regression and likelihood ratio tests.
Slightly more (59.6%) cases had the same baseline and lifetime ICD-10 diagnosis compared with DSM-IV-TR (55.3%), but prospective and retrospective consistency was similar. Schizophrenia, psychotic bipolar disorder and drug-induced psychosis were more prospectively consistent than other diagnoses. A substantial number of cases with other diagnoses at baseline (ICD-10, n = 61; DSM-IV-TR, n = 76) were classified as having schizophrenia at 10 years. Many variables were associated with change to schizophrenia but few with overall change in diagnosis.
Diagnoses other than schizophrenia should to be regarded as potentially provisional.
The Murchison Widefield Array is a Square Kilometre Array Precursor. The telescope is located at the Murchison Radio–astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The MWA consists of 4 096 dipoles arranged into 128 dual polarisation aperture arrays forming a connected element interferometer that cross-correlates signals from all 256 inputs. A hybrid approach to the correlation task is employed, with some processing stages being performed by bespoke hardware, based on Field Programmable Gate Arrays, and others by Graphics Processing Units housed in general purpose rack mounted servers. The correlation capability required is approximately 8 tera floating point operations per second. The MWA has commenced operations and the correlator is generating 8.3 TB day−1 of correlation products, that are subsequently transferred 700 km from the MRO to Perth (WA) in real-time for storage and offline processing. In this paper, we outline the correlator design, signal path, and processing elements and present the data format for the internal and external interfaces.
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).
The science cases for incorporating high time resolution capabilities into modern radio telescopes are as numerous as they are compelling. Science targets range from exotic sources such as pulsars, to our Sun, to recently detected possible extragalactic bursts of radio emission, the so-called fast radio bursts (FRBs). Originally conceived purely as an imaging telescope, the initial design of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) did not include the ability to access high time and frequency resolution voltage data. However, the flexibility of the MWA’s software correlator allowed an off-the-shelf solution for adding this capability. This paper describes the system that records the 100 μs and 10 kHz resolution voltage data from the MWA. Example science applications, where this capability is critical, are presented, as well as accompanying commissioning results from this mode to demonstrate verification.
Human salmonellosis linked to contact with live poultry is an increasing public health concern. In 2012, eight unrelated outbreaks of human salmonellosis linked to live poultry contact resulted in 517 illnesses. In July 2012, PulseNet, a national molecular surveillance network, reported a multistate cluster of a rare strain of Salmonella Braenderup infections which we investigated. We defined a case as infection with the outbreak strain, determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, with illness onset from 25 July 2012–27 February 2013. Ill persons and mail-order hatchery (MOH) owners were interviewed using standardized questionnaires. Traceback and environmental investigations were conducted. We identified 48 cases in 24 states. Twenty-six (81%) of 32 ill persons reported live poultry contact in the week before illness; case-patients named 12 different MOHs from eight states. The investigation identified hatchery D as the ultimate poultry source. Sampling at hatchery D yielded the outbreak strain. Hatchery D improved sanitation procedures and pest control; subsequent sampling failed to yield Salmonella. This outbreak highlights the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the environment and the importance of industry knowledge and involvement in solving complex outbreaks. Preventing these infections requires a ‘One Health’ approach that leverages expertise in human, animal, and environmental health.
To determine whether gowning and gloving for all patient care reduces contamination of healthcare worker (HCW) clothing, compared to usual practice.
Five study sites were recruited from intensive care units (ICUs) randomized to the intervention arm of the Benefits of Universal Gown and Glove (BUGG) study.
All HCWs performing direct patient care in the study ICUs were eligible to participate.
Surveys were performed first during the BUGG intervention study period (July–September 2012) with universal gowning/gloving and again after BUGG study conclusion (October–December 2012), with resumption of usual care. During each phase, HCW clothing was sampled at the beginning and near the end of each shift. Cultures were performed using broth enrichment followed by selective media. Acquisition was defined as having a negative clothing culture for samples taken at the beginning of a shift and positive clothing culture at for samples taken at the end of the shift.
A total of 348 HCWs participated (21–92 per site), including 179 (51%) during the universal gowning/gloving phase. Overall, 51 (15%) HCWs acquired commonly pathogenic bacteria on their clothing: 13 (7.1%) HCWs acquired bacteria during universal gowning/gloving, and 38 (23%) HCWs acquired bacteria during usual care (odds ratio [OR], 0.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.2–0.6). Pathogens identified included S. aureus (25 species, including 7 methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA]), Enterococcus spp. (25, including 1 vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus [VRE]), Pseudomonas spp. (4), Acinetobacter spp. (4), and Klebsiella (2).
Nearly 25% of HCWs practicing usual care (gowning and gloving only for patients with known resistant bacteria) contaminate their clothing during their shift. This contamination was reduced by 70% by gowning and gloving for all patient interactions.
During a 4-year (2007–2010) survey, the presence of Brucella suis infection in domestic pigs in Sardinia was investigated. Serum samples were collected from breeding pigs located on 108 commercial farms with documented reproductive problems and analysed using the Rose Bengal (RBT) and complement fixation (CFT) tests for screening and confirmation of Brucella, respectively. Of the 1251 serum samples analysed by RBT, 406 sera, originating from 36 farms, were positive for B. suis. CFT was positive in 292/748 sera analysed, confirming positivity in all 36 pig herds. Pigs with international complement fixation test units per ml (ICFTU/ml) values ⩾160 were slaughtered, and their organs collected for bacteriological examination and testing by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Brucella spp. strains were isolated in culture from 13/502 organs analysed, and subsequently identified as B. suis biovar 2. PCR detected positivity to Brucella spp. in 19/285 organs analysed. These results confirm the presence and emergence of B. suis infection in domestic pigs in Sardinia.
Avian influenza virus (AIV) is an important zoonotic pathogen, resulting in global human morbidity and mortality and substantial economic losses to the poultry industry. Poultry and wild birds have transmitted AIV to humans, most frequently subtypes H5 and H7, but also different strains and subtypes of H6, H9, and H10. Determining which birds are AIV reservoirs can help identify human populations that have a high risk of infection with these viruses due to occupational or recreational exposure to the reservoir species. To assess the prevalence of AIV in tropical birds, from 2010 to 2014, we sampled 40 099 birds at 32 sites in Central Africa (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon) and West Africa (Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo). In Central Africa, detection rates by real-time RT–PCR were 16·6% in songbirds (eight passerine families, n = 1257), 16·4% in kingfishers (family Alcedinidae, n = 73), 8·2% in ducks (family Anatidae, n = 564), and 3·65% in chickens (family Phasianidae, n = 1042). Public health authorities should educate human cohorts that have high exposure to these bird populations about AIV and assess their adherence to biosecurity practices, including Cameroonian farmers who raise small backyard flocks.