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Impairments in social cognition contribute significantly to disability in schizophrenia patients (SzP). Perception of facial expressions is critical for social cognition. Intact perception requires an individual to visually scan a complex dynamic social scene for transiently moving facial expressions that may be relevant for understanding the scene. The relationship of visual scanning for these facial expressions and social cognition remains unknown.
In 39 SzP and 27 healthy controls (HC), we used eye-tracking to examine the relationship between performance on The Awareness of Social Inference Test (TASIT), which tests social cognition using naturalistic video clips of social situations, and visual scanning, measuring each individual's relative to the mean of HC. We then examined the relationship of visual scanning to the specific visual features (motion, contrast, luminance, faces) within the video clips.
TASIT performance was significantly impaired in SzP for trials involving sarcasm (p < 10−5). Visual scanning was significantly more variable in SzP than HC (p < 10−6), and predicted TASIT performance in HC (p = 0.02) but not SzP (p = 0.91), differing significantly between groups (p = 0.04). During the visual scanning, SzP were less likely to be viewing faces (p = 0.0001) and less likely to saccade to facial motion in peripheral vision (p = 0.008).
SzP show highly significant deficits in the use of visual scanning of naturalistic social scenes to inform social cognition. Alterations in visual scanning patterns may originate from impaired processing of facial motion within peripheral vision. Overall, these results highlight the utility of naturalistic stimuli in the study of social cognition deficits in schizophrenia.
The increasing evidence that bipolar and unipolar affective disorders have different biological etiologies and courses of illness has been associated with an intensifying interest in specific treatment regimens for both disorders during the last decade. In this context, the question arose whether antidepressants exert similar efficacy in the acute treatment of bipolar compared to unipolar depression. Although the clinical impression does not indicate substantial differences in the efficacy of antidepressants between these groups of patients, empirical databases concerning this topic are rare. The present study compared the efficacy of antidepressants in 50 unipolar and 50 bipolar depressed inpatients (ICD-9 criteria) under naturalistic treatment conditions. Both groups of patients were mahed for age, gender and duration of illness. Clinical assessments of status at the time of admission and at discharge were used to rate response to antidepressant treatment. Analyses of the data revealed that both groups of patients needed the same time for treatment response and did not show any significant differences in ouome measures at discharge. These findings do not concur with the hypothesis formulated by some experts in the field of affective disorders that antidepressants are less effective in the acute treatment of bipolar depressed patients compared to unipolar depressed patients.
The Pisa syndrome is a rare asymmetric axial dystonia characterised by tonic lateral flexion of the trunk, subsequent to prolonged exposure to conventional or atypical antipsychotics. However, the illness has also been reported, although less frequently, in patients with neurodegenerative disorder like Parkinson syndrome. Drug-induced Pisa syndrome develops predominantly in females and older patients with brain disorder. It sometimes occurs after the addition of another antipsychotic drug to an established regimen of antipsychotics. It can also insidiously arise in antipsychotic-treated patients without any apparent reason. Largely unknown to psychiatrists, this condition can be difficult to distinguish from unusual posture appearing in patients with psychiatric disturbance, such as hysterical or catatonic postures. Clinical characteristics suggest that Pisa syndrome has features from acute and tardive dystonia underlying a possible complex pathophysiology. Definitive therapy is the withdrawal or reduction of the daily dose of antipsychotics; treatment with anticholinergics agents has also been proposed.
Up to date, Pisa syndrome has been essentially described with conventional antipsychotics. Nevertheless, it has been rarely mentioned outside Japan with atypical antipsychotics.
We here describe a case of Pisa syndrome during risperidone treatment in a 50-year-old inpatient woman, admitted for schizophrenia. Following the introduction of Risperidone, she has shown a right lateral flexion of the trunk. No organic etiology was found. This abnormal posture has persisted during all the Risperidone treatment and has vanished after the decrease of it.
To detect eating disorders and risky eating behaviour in early stages, screening tests are used. In order to examine as many adolescents as possible, these tests should be economic, i. e. as short as possible but at the same time they should fulfil the psychometric quality criteria. We compared the German version of the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26D) and the German version of the SCOFF test (which contains only five Yes-no questions) in a sample of 425 twelve year old girls and 382 boys from Thuringia, Germany. Although the EAT-26D reached higher psychometric properties, the SCOFF has been proved as a useful screening tool with a test-retest reliability of rtt = .73 and a maximum accuracy of 82% (area under the ROC curve). In reference to the EAT-26D (20 point cut-off) the sensitivity of the SCOFF was 78%, specificity 75%, positive predictive value 28%, and the negative predictive value, which is more relevant for screenings, was 96%. The construct validity reached r = .52.
The speed of onset of depressive episodes is a clinical aspect of affective disorders that has not been sufficiently investigated. Thus, we aimed to explore whether patients with fast onset of the full-blown depressive symptomatology (≤ 7 days) differ from those with slow onset (> 7 days) with regard to demographic and clinical aspects.
Subjects and methods:
Data were obtained within an observational study conducted in outpatients with major depression who were treated with duloxetine (30–120 mg/day). Onset of depression (without any preceding critical life event) was fast in 416 (less than one week) and slower in 2220 patients.
Compared to patients with slow onset, those with fast onset of depression had more suicide attempts in the previous 12 months (2.7% versus 1.3%, P = 0.046) and less somatic comorbidity (61.7% versus 74.1%, P < 0.0001). In addition, they were slightly younger at onset of depression (mean ± SD 40.2 ± 14.6 versus 42.8 ± 14.2 years, P < 0.001) and used analgesics at baseline significantly less frequently (22.8% versus 33.4%, P < 0.0001).
Discussion and conclusion:
The speed of onset of depression has to be regarded as a relevant clinical characteristic in patients with unipolar depression.
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.
Background: SMA is a neurodegenerative disease caused by biallelic deletion/mutation of SMN1. Copies of a similar gene (SMN2) modify disease severity. In a phase 1 study, SMN GRT onasemnogene abeparvovec (AVXS-101) improved outcomes of symptomatic SMA patients with two SMN2 copies (2xSMN2) dosed ≤6 months. Because motor neuron loss can be insidious and disease progression is rapid, early intervention is critical. This study evaluates AVXS-101 in presymptomatic SMA newborns. Methods: SPR1NT is a multicenter, open-label, phase 3 study enrolling ≥27 SMA patients with 2–3xSMN2. Asymptomatic infants ≤6 weeks receive a one-time intravenous AVXS-101 infusion (1.1x1014 vg/kg). Safety and efficacy are assessed through study end (18 [2xSMN2] or 24 months [3xSMN2]). Primary outcomes: independent sitting for ≥30 seconds (18 months [2xSMN2]) or assisted standing (24 months [3xSMN2]). Results: From April–September 2018, 7 infants received AVXS-101 (4 female; 6 with 2xSMN2) at ages 8–37 days. Mean baseline CHOP-INTEND score was 41.7 (n=6), which increased by 6.8, 11.0, 18.0, and 22.5 points at day 14 (n=4), month 1 (n=3), 2 (n=3), and 3 (n=2). Updated data available at the time of the congress will be presented. Conclusions: Preliminary data from SPR1NT show rapid motor function improvements in presymptomatic SMA patients.
Late Quaternary landscapes of unglaciated Beringia were largely shaped by ice-wedge polygon tundra. Ice Complex (IC) strata preserve such ancient polygon formations. Here we report on the Yukagir IC from Bol'shoy Lyakhovsky Island in northeastern Siberia and suggest that new radioisotope disequilibria (230Th/U) dates of the Yukagir IC peat confirm its formation during the Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 7a–c interglacial period. The preservation of the ice-rich Yukagir IC proves its resilience to last interglacial and late glacial–Holocene warming. This study compares the Yukagir IC to IC strata of MIS 5, MIS 3, and MIS 2 ages exposed on Bol'shoy Lyakhovsky Island. Besides high intrasedimental ice content and syngenetic ice wedges intersecting silts, sandy silts, the Yukagir IC is characterized by high organic matter (OM) accumulation and low OM decomposition of a distinctive Drepanocladus moss-peat. The Yukagir IC pollen data reveal grass-shrub-moss tundra indicating rather wet summer conditions similar to modern ones. The stable isotope composition of Yukagir IC wedge ice is similar to those of the MIS 5 and MIS 3 ICs pointing to similar atmospheric moisture generation and transport patterns in winter. IC data from glacial and interglacial periods provide insights into permafrost and climate dynamics since about 200 ka.
To extend evidence on the short-term variability of passive and active suicidal ideation (SI) and the association with suggested proximal risk factors such as interpersonal variables (perceived burdensomeness [PB], thwarted belongingness [TB], hopelessness, and depression) in real-time.
This is an observational study using a prospective design applying ecological momentary assessments (EMA). Eligible for study inclusion were inpatients with unipolar depression, current or lifetime suicidal ideation, and fluent German. Over six days, 74 participants rated their momentary level of passive and active SI, PB, TB, depressiveness, and hopelessness up to 10 times per day on smartphones. Data was collected from August 2015 to July 2017. Compliance was excellent (89.7%).
Mean squared successive differences supported temporal instability for all variables. According intra-class correlations, between 25% and 47% of variance was accounted for by within-person variability. Multilevel analysis demonstrated significant positive associations between hopelessness, depressiveness, PB, and TB with passive SI. Prospectively, hopelessness and PB remained predictors of passive SI. For active SI, hopelessness, depression, PB, and TB were significantly associated cross-sectionally. Prospectively, hopelessness, PB, and the interaction PBxTB predicted active SI. All models were controlled for previous level of SI.
This study provides further evidence on the short-term variability of SI in very short time frames implying the need of assessing SI repeatedly in clinical and research settings. The associations between interpersonal variables and passive and active SI were only partial in line with assumptions of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide. Overall, the effects were small warranting further investigation.
Early Archaic human skeletal remains found in a burial context in Lapa do
Santo in east-central Brazil provide a rare glimpse into the lives of
hunter-gatherer communities in South America, including their rituals for
dealing with the dead. These included the reduction of the body by means of
mutilation, defleshing, tooth removal, exposure to fire and possibly
cannibalism, followed by the secondary burial of the remains according to
strict rules. In a later period, pits were filled with disarticulated bones
of a single individual without signs of body manipulation, demonstrating
that the region was inhabited by dynamic groups in constant transformation
over a period of centuries.
The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH), in collaboration with over 20 subject matter experts, created a competency-based curriculum titled Caring for Older Adults in Disasters: A Curriculum for Health Professionals. Educators and trainers of health professionals are the target audience for this curriculum. The curriculum was designed to provide breadth of content yet flexibility for trainers to tailor lessons, or select particular lessons, for the needs of their learners and organizations. The curriculum covers conditions present in the older adult population that may affect their disaster preparedness, response, and recovery; issues related to specific types of disasters; considerations for the care of older adults throughout the disaster cycle; topics related to specific settings in which older adults receive care; and ethical and legal considerations. An excerpt of the final capstone lesson is included. These capstone activities can be used in conjunction with the curriculum or as part of stand-alone preparedness training. This article describes the development process, elements of each lesson, the content covered, and options for use of the curriculum in education and training for health professionals. The curriculum is freely available online at the NCDMPH website at http://ncdmph.usuhs.edu (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:633–637).
Sedimentary and magmatic rocks and their distinct sulphur isotopic signatures indicate the sources and processes of sulphur cycling, in particular through the analysis of all four stable sulphur isotopes (32S, 33S, 34S and 36S). Research over the past 15 years has substantially advanced our understanding of sulphur cycling on the early Earth, most notably through the discovery of mass-independently fractionated sulphur isotopic signatures. A strong atmospheric influence on the early Archean global sulphur cycle is apparent, much in contrast to the modern world. Diverse microbially driven sulphur cycling is clearly discernible, but its importance for Earth surface environments remains to be quantified.
The objective of the present study was to compare the performance of seven different, widely applied crop models in predicting heat and drought stress effects. The study was part of a recent suite of model inter-comparisons initiated at European level and constitutes a component that has been lacking in the analysis of sources of uncertainties in crop models used to study the impacts of climate change. There was a specific focus on the sensitivity of models for winter wheat and maize to extreme weather conditions (heat and drought) during the short but critical period of 2 weeks after the start of flowering. Two locations in Austria, representing different agro-climatic zones and soil conditions, were included in the simulations over 2 years, 2003 and 2004, exhibiting contrasting weather conditions. In addition, soil management was modified at both sites by following either ploughing or minimum tillage. Since no comprehensive field experimental data sets were available, a relative comparison of simulated grain yields and soil moisture contents under defined weather scenarios with modified temperatures and precipitation was performed for a 2-week period after flowering. The results may help to reduce the uncertainty of simulated crop yields to extreme weather conditions through better understanding of the models’ behaviour. Although the crop models considered (DSSAT, EPIC, WOFOST, AQUACROP, FASSET, HERMES and CROPSYST) mostly showed similar trends in simulated grain yields for the different weather scenarios, it was obvious that heat and drought stress caused by changes in temperature and/or precipitation for a short period of 2 weeks resulted in different grain yields simulated by different models. The present study also revealed that the models responded differently to changes in soil tillage practices, which affected soil water storage capacity.
Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in the centers of massive galaxies are thought to predominantly grow in brief Eddington-rate quasar phases accompanied by starbursts, but on-going starbursts in luminous quasars are difficult to observe. Buried under the natural coronagraph, obscured quasars offer a unique window for direct, robust host-galaxy spectroscopy otherwise virtually inaccessible for luminous quasars. Our pilot study at z ~ 0.5 (Liu et al. 2009) revealed a substantial contribution from very young stellar populations with ages less than ~ 100 Myr in all of the observed host galaxy spectra. More dramatically, in three out of the nine SDSS quasars observed, we have witnessed strong infant starbursts with ages of ~ 5 Myr, clocked by the telltale Wolf–Rayet emission features.
Archean and Proterozoic time scales are currently defined chronometrically, with subdivisions into eras and periods being defined and allocated boundaries in terms of a round number of millions of years before present. Isotope stratigraphy is increasingly used to identify tectonic, chemical, and biological changes. The Neoproterozoic Era is characterized by at least two, and possibly four, severe and extensive glaciogenic events; for this era, chronostratigraphic subdivisions following established Phanerozoic practices are possible.
The “Precambrian” is not a formal stratigraphic term and simply refers to all rocks that formed prior to the beginning of the Cambrian Period. The task of establishing a rigorously defined and globally acceptable time scale for the Precambrian is an exceedingly difficult, and often frustrating, exercise. The reason for this is related to the fact that studying the Earth becomes increasingly difficult and uncertain the further one goes back in geological time.
The lack of a diverse and well-preserved fossil record, the generally decreasing volume of supracrustal rocks, and increasing degree of metamorphism and tectonic disturbance, as well as the uncertainties in the configuration and assembly of the continents, all contribute to making the establishment of a chronostratigraphic time scale beyond the Phanerozoic Eon problematical.
The Phanerozoic Eon broadly coincides with the most recent supercontinent cycle – a relatively well-understood sequence of geological events during which Pangea was assembled and dispersed.
We analyze the properties of quasar variability using repeated SDSS imaging data in five UV-to-far red photometric bands, accurate to 0.02 mag, for ∼13,000 spectroscopically confirmed quasars. The observed time lags span the range from 3 hours to over 3 years, and constrain the quasar variability for rest-frame time lags of up to two years, and at rest-frame wavelengths from 1000Å to 6000Å. We demonstrate that ∼66,000 SDSS measurements of magnitude differences can be described within the measurement noise by a simple function of only three free parameters. The addition of POSS data constrains the long-term behavior of quasar variability and provides evidence for a turn-over in the structure function. This turn-over indicates that the characteristic time scale for optical variability of quasars is of the order 1 year.To search for other articles by the author(s) go to: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html
We summarize the detection rates at wavelengths other than optical for ∼99,000 galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 1 “main” spectroscopic sample. The analysis is based on positional cross-correlation with source catalogs from ROSAT, 2MASS, IRAS, GB6, FIRST, NVSS and WENSS surveys. We find that the rest-frame UV-IR broad-band galaxy SEDs form a remarkably uniform, nearly one parameter, family. As an example, the SDSS u and r band data, supplemented with redshift, can be used to predict K band magnitudes measured by 2MASS with an rms scatter of only 0.2 mag; when measurement uncertainties are taken into account, the astrophysical scatter appears not larger than ∼0.1 mag.To search for other articles by the author(s) go to: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html