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An emerging recombinant norovirus GII.P16/GII.4 Sydney 2012 strain caused a gastroenteritis outbreak amongst attendees at a large health function in regional New South Wales, Australia. This was the third outbreak caused by the recombinant GII.P16/GII.4 Sydney 2012 strain in this region in 2017, which appears to be emerging as a common strain in the Hunter New England region.
Do DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for major depression (MD) in Chinese and Western women perform in a similar manner?
The CONVERGE study included interview-based assessments of women of Han Chinese descent with treated recurrent MD. Using Mplus software, we investigated the overall degree of between-sample measurement invariance (MI) for DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for MD in the CONVERGE sample and samples selected from four major Western studies from the USA and Europe matched to the inclusion criteria of CONVERGE. These analyses were performed one pair at a time. We then compared the results from CONVERGE paired with Western samples to those obtained when examining levels of MI between pairs of the Western samples.
Assuming a single factor model for the nine diagnostic criteria for MD, the level of MI based on global fit indexes observed between the CONVERGE and the four Western samples was very similar to that seen between the Western samples. Comparable results were obtained when using a two-factor structure for MI testing when applied to the 14 diagnostic criteria for MD disaggregated for weight, appetite, sleep, and psychomotor changes.
Despite differences in language, ethnicity and culture, DSM criteria for MD perform similarly in Chinese women with recurrent MD and comparable subjects from the USA and Europe. The DSM criteria for MD may assess depressive symptoms that are relatively insensitive to cultural and ethnic differences. These results support efforts to compare findings from depressed patients in China and Western countries.
The gut microbiota and its metabolic products interact with the host in many different ways, influencing gut homoeostasis and health outcomes. The species composition of the gut microbiota has been shown to respond to dietary change, determined by competition for substrates and by tolerance of gut conditions. Meanwhile, the metabolic outputs of the microbiota, such as SCFA, are influenced both by the supply of dietary components and via diet-mediated changes in microbiota composition. There has been significant progress in identifying the phylogenetic distribution of pathways responsible for formation of particular metabolites among human colonic bacteria, based on combining cultural microbiology and sequence-based approaches. Formation of butyrate and propionate from hexose sugars, for example, can be ascribed to different bacterial groups, although propionate can be formed via alternative pathways from deoxy-sugars and from lactate by a few species. Lactate, which is produced by many gut bacteria in pure culture, can also be utilised by certain Firmicutes to form butyrate, and its consumption may be important for maintaining a stable community. Predicting the impact of diet upon such a complex and interactive system as the human gut microbiota not only requires more information on the component groups involved but, increasingly, the integration of such information through modelling approaches.
Despite substantial research, uncertainty remains about the clinical and etiological heterogeneity of major depression (MD). Can meaningful and valid subtypes be identified and would they be stable cross-culturally?
Symptoms at their lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years, with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed in Mplus.
Using the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria, the 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria and all independently assessed depressive symptoms (n = 27), the best LCA model identified respectively three, four and six classes. A severe and non-suicidal class was seen in all solutions, as was a mild/moderate subtype. An atypical class emerged once bidirectional neurovegetative symptoms were included. The non-suicidal class demonstrated low levels of worthlessness/guilt and hopelessness. Patterns of co-morbidity, family history, personality, environmental precipitants, recurrence and body mass index (BMI) differed meaningfully across subtypes, with the atypical class standing out as particularly distinct.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several detectable subtypes with distinct clinical and demographic correlates. Three subtypes were most consistently identified in our analyses: severe, atypical and non-suicidal. Severe and atypical MD have been identified in multiple prior studies in samples of European ethnicity. Our non-suicidal subtype, with low levels of guilt and hopelessness, may represent a pathoplastic variant reflecting Chinese cultural influences.
The symptoms of major depression (MD) are clinically diverse. Do they form coherent factors that might clarify the underlying nature of this important psychiatric syndrome?
Symptoms at lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatoryfactor analysis (CFA) were performed in Mplus in random split-half samples.
The preliminary EFA results were consistently supported by the findings from CFA. Analyses of the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria revealed two factors loading on: (i) general depressive symptoms; and (ii) guilt/suicidal ideation. Examining 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria revealed three factors reflecting: (i) weight/appetite disturbance; (ii) general depressive symptoms; and (iii) sleep disturbance. Using all symptoms (n = 27), we identified five factors that reflected: (i) weight/appetite symptoms; (ii) general retarded depressive symptoms; (iii) atypical vegetative symptoms; (iv) suicidality/hopelessness; and (v) symptoms of agitation and anxiety.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several underlying correlated symptom dimensions. In addition to a general depressive symptom factor, a complete picture must include factors reflecting typical/atypical vegetative symptoms, cognitive symptoms (hopelessness/suicidal ideation), and an agitated symptom factor characterized by anxiety, guilt, helplessness and irritability. Prior cross-cultural studies, factor analyses of MD in Western populations and empirical findings in this sample showing risk factor profiles similar to those seen in Western populations suggest that our results are likely to be broadly representative of the human depressive syndrome.
Previous studies support Beck's cognitive model of vulnerability to depression. However, the relationship between his cognitive triad and other clinical features and risk factors among those with major depression (MD) has rarely been systematically studied.
The three key cognitive symptoms of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness were assessed during their lifetime worst episode in 1970 Han Chinese women with recurrent MD. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression.
Compared to patients who did not endorse the cognitive trio, those who did had a greater number of DSM-IV A criteria, more individual depressive symptoms, an earlier age at onset, a greater number of episodes, and were more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for melancholia, postnatal depression, dysthymia and anxiety disorders. Hopelessness was highly related to all the suicidal symptomatology, with ORs ranging from 5.92 to 6.51. Neuroticism, stressful life events (SLEs) and a protective parental rearing style were associated with these cognitive symptoms.
During the worst episode of MD in Han Chinese women, the endorsement of the cognitive trio was associated with a worse course of depression and an increased risk of suicide. Individuals with high levels of neuroticism, many SLEs and high parental protectiveness were at increased risk for these cognitive depressive symptoms. As in Western populations, symptoms of the cognitive trio appear to play a central role in the psychopathology of MD in Chinese women.
Obesity is a critical health concern and although genetic factors may predispose an individual to become obese, changes in diet and lifestyle over the last few decades are likely to be significant contributors. Even so, it has been suggested that the causes of the current obesity crisis are not simply explained by changes in eating and exercise habits. Evidence suggests that the gut microbiota may play an important role in obesity and may be a factor in the development of associated disease including diabetes, CVD, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cancer. There have been tremendous advances in knowledge regarding the composition of human gut microbiota, but less is known about their function and role within the human host. It is becoming widely accepted that the products of microbial metabolism influence human health and disease, particularly with respect to immune response and inflammation. However, in most cases, the products of microbial metabolism are uncharacterised and their mechanism of action remains unknown. This review addresses the role of the metabolites produced by gut microbiota in cancer and obesity. It is clear that only if the link between microbial diversity and metabolic functionality is firmly established, will the mechanism by which gut microbiota maintains health or contributes to disease development be elucidated.
The relationship between recurrent major depression (MD) in women and suicidality is complex. We investigated the extent to which patients who suffered with various forms of suicidal symptomatology can be distinguished from those subjects without such symptoms.
We examined the clinical features of the worst episode in 1970 Han Chinese women with recurrent DSM-IV MD between the ages of 30 and 60 years from across China. Student's t tests, and logistic and multiple logistic regression models were used to determine the association between suicidality and other clinical features of MD.
Suicidal symptomatology is significantly associated with a more severe form of MD, as indexed by both the number of episodes and number of MD symptoms. Patients reporting suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts experienced a significantly greater number of stressful life events. The depressive symptom most strongly associated with lifetime suicide attempt was feelings of worthlessness (odds ratio 4.25, 95% confidence interval 2.9–6.3). Excessive guilt, diminished concentration and impaired decision-making were also significantly associated with a suicide attempt.
This study contributes to the existing literature on risk factors for suicidal symptomatology in depressed women. Identifying specific depressive symptoms and co-morbid psychiatric disorders may help improve the clinical assessment of suicide risk in depressed patients. These findings could be helpful in identifying those who need more intense treatment strategies in order to prevent suicide.
In Western countries, a history of major depression (MD) is associated with reports of received parenting that is low in warmth and caring and high in control and authoritarianism. Does a similar pattern exist in women in China?
Received parenting was assessed by a shortened version of the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) in two groups of Han Chinese women: 1970 clinically ascertained cases with recurrent MD and 2597 matched controls. MD was assessed at personal interview.
Factor analysis of the PBI revealed three factors for both mothers and fathers: warmth, protectiveness, and authoritarianism. Lower warmth and protectiveness and higher authoritarianism from both mother and father were significantly associated with risk for recurrent MD. Parental warmth was positively correlated with parental protectiveness and negatively correlated with parental authoritarianism. When examined together, paternal warmth was more strongly associated with lowered risk for MD than maternal warmth. Furthermore, paternal protectiveness was negatively and maternal protectiveness positively associated with risk for MD.
Although the structure of received parenting is very similar in China and Western countries, the association with MD is not. High parental protectiveness is generally pathogenic in Western countries but protective in China, especially when received from the father. Our results suggest that cultural factors impact on patterns of parenting and their association with MD.
Studies in Western countries have repeatedly shown that women with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) are at increased risk for developing major depression (MD). Would this relationship be found in China?
Three levels of CSA (non-genital, genital, and intercourse) were assessed by self-report in two groups of Han Chinese women: 1970 clinically ascertained with recurrent MD and 2597 matched controls. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression and regression coefficients by linear or Poisson regression.
Any form of CSA was significantly associated with recurrent MD [OR 3.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.95–5.45]. This association strengthened with increasing CSA severity: non-genital (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.17–5.23), genital (OR 2.77, 95% CI 1.32–5.83) and intercourse (OR 13.35, 95% CI 1.83–97.42). The association between any form of CSA and MD remained significant after accounting for parental history of depression, childhood emotional neglect (CEN), childhood physical abuse (CPA) and parent–child relationship. Among the depressed women, those with CSA had an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes and an increased risk for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.39–2.66) and dysthymia (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.52–3.09).
In Chinese women CSA is strongly associated with MD and this association increases with greater severity of CSA. Depressed women with CSA have an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes and increased co-morbidity with GAD and dysthymia. Although reporting biases cannot be ruled out, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that, as in Western countries, CSA substantially increases the risk for MD in China.
We aimed to determine the effects of variations in dietary composition on equine gut microbiota and their fermentation products, and proposed that dietary modifications profoundly affect microbial ecosystems and their metabolites. Bacterial communities within the large intestine of three groups of horses were compared using oligonucleotide-RNA hybridisation methodology. Each group consisting of six horses was maintained on (1) a grass-only diet, (2) a concentrate diet (i.e. supplemented with hydrolysable carbohydrates) and (3) a concentrate diet but horses were affected by simple colonic obstruction and distension (SCOD), a prevalent form of dietary-induced intestinal disease. We show that in response to dietary change and intestinal disease, there is a progressive and significant increase in Lachnospiraceae, the Bacteroidetes assemblage and the lactic acid-producing, Bacillus–Lactobacillus–Streptococcus (BLS) group. In contrast, there is a corresponding decrease in the proportion of obligate fibrolytic, acid-intolerant bacteria, Fibrobacter and Ruminococcaceae. Assessment of monocarboxylic acids indicated that there are significantly higher concentrations of lactic acid in the colonic contents of horses maintained on a concentrate diet and those suffering from SCOD, correlating with the observed increase in the population abundance of the BLS group. However, the population size of the Veillonellaceae (lactate utilisers) remained constant in each study group. The inability of this group to respond to increased lactic acid may be a contributory factor to the build-up of lactic acid observed in horses fed a concentrate diet and those suffering from SCOD.
The γ ray (57Co) and a particle (241Am) detector response of Cd1−xZnxTe crystals grown by vertical Bridgman technique was studied under both positive and negative bias conditions. Postgrowth processing was utilized to produce a high-resistivity material with improved chargecollection properties. Samples of various Zn concentrations were investigated by I–V measurements and thermally stimulated spectroscopies to determine the ionization energies of deep levels in the band gap. When the post-processing conditions were optimized the lowenergy tailing of the γ-ray photopeaks was significantly reduced and an energy resolution of under 5% was achieved for the 122 keV γ-photon line in crystals with x=0.2 Zn content at room temperature. A peak to background ratio of 14:1 for the 122 keV photopeak from 57Co was observed on the best sample, using a standard planar detection geometry. The low-energy 14.4 keV X-ray line could also be observed and distinguished from the noise.
Cadmium zinc telluride crystals were grown by vertical Bridgman processes using in situ compounding from high purity elements into pyrolytic boron nitride crucibles within sealed fused quartz ampoules containing cadmium vapor at a pressure of roughly one atmosphere. These conditions produce material having the low etch pit density, low precipitate density, high infrared transmission and high purity required for use as substrates for infrared focal plane detector arrays fabricated in epitaxial mercury cadmium telluride. Similar processes should be satisfactory for producing cadmium zinc telluride for gamma ray detectors.
The γ ray (57Co) and α particle (241Am) detector response of Cdl-xZnxTe crystals grown by vertical Bridgman technique was studied under both positive and negative bias conditions. Postgrowth processing was utilized to produce a high-resistivity material with improved chargecollection properties. Samples of various Zn concentrations were investigated by I-V measurements and thermally stimulated spectroscopies to determine the ionization energies of deep levels in the band gap. When the post-processing conditions were optimized the lowenergy tailing of the γ-ray photopeaks was significantly reduced and an energy resolution of under 5% was achieved for the 122 keV γ-photon line in crystals with x=0.2 Zn content at room temperature. A peak to background ratio of 14:1 for the 122 keV photopeak from 57Co was observed on the best sample, using a standard planar detection geometry. The low-energy 14.4 keV X-ray line could also be observed and distinguished from the noise.
Cadmium zinc telluride crystals were grown by vertical Bridgman processes using in situ compdunding from high purity elements into pyrolytic boron nitride crucibles within sealed fused quartz ampoules containing cadmium vapor at a pressure of roughly one atmosphere. These conditions produce material having the low etch pit density, low precipitate density, high infrared transmission and high purity required for use as substrates for infrared focal plane detector arrays fabricated in epitaxial mercury cadmium telluride. Similar processes should be satisfactory for producing cadmium zinc telluride for gamma ray detectors.
The CZT boule was grown by a modified vertical Bridgman process using in-situ compounding, Cd over-pressure and a pyrolytic boron nitride crucible within a fused ampoule. During growth, the Cd vapor pressure was near 1 atmosphere. These growth conditions tend to give high purity, good stoichiometry, few precipitates, and dislocation densities in the low to mid-104 cm−2 range. The crystals, after polishing, were annealed in a nearly saturated Cd, Zn atmosphere to fill residual Cd-site vacancies and achieve high resistivity in the 1010 γ-cm range. Low temperature photoluminescence study shows very good crystalline quality and a very low concentration of deep level recombinations. Single crystal samples were diced into 1 cm squares for evaluation as gamma ray detectors. The best detector results (4.5% resolution at 60 keV) were achieved for a 2 hour anneal at 850°C.
We sought to ascertain the strength of evidence for association between the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and unipolar depression.
We applied meta-analytic techniques to data from relevant published studies, and obtained an estimate of the likely magnitude of effect of any association. We also tested for possible publication bias, and explored the impact of various study design characteristics on the magnitude of the observed effect size.
Meta-analysis indicated evidence of a small but statistically significant association between the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and unipolar depression [odds ratio (OR) 1.08, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03–1.12]. This remained significant when data from samples of European and East Asian ancestry were analyzed separately. In all cases there was evidence of significant between-study heterogeneity, although the observed associations were robust to the application of a random-effects framework.
Our results support the presence of a small effect of a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter promoter on susceptibility to depression. However, we caution that it is possible that the effect has an artifactual basis, rather than a biological origin.
A phenotypic and genetic decline in dairy cattle fertility has been reported in several countries simultaneous to the increase in genetic merit for production. In addition, an increase in atypical milk progesterone (MP4) patterns, particularly extended luteal phases, has been observed by Royal et al. (2000). One such MP4 parameter; the interval from calving to commencement of luteal activity (CLA), has been studied by Royal et al. (2002a,b; 2003) and is reported to have moderate heritability (h2), an unfavourable genetic correlation (rA)to milk yield (rA; 0.36) and a favourable rA to calving interval and interval to first service, respectively (0.39, 0.53). Although CLA is a good indicator of onset of luteal activity (LA) postpartum (pp), it does not take account of subsequent ovarian activity. The objective of this study was to investigate an alternative MP4 parameter using the proportion of MP4 samples representing LA within the first 60 days pp in both British and Swedish dairy cows.