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Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) in infants and young children are less explored in Asian populations. The Growing in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) cohort study examined associations between SSB intakes at ages 18 months and 5 years with adiposity measures at age 6 years. We studied Singaporean infants/children with SSB intake assessed by food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) at ages 18 months (n=555) and 5 years (n=767). The median (interquartile range) for SSB intakes is 28(5.5-98) ml at age 18 months and 111 (57-198) ml at age 5 years. Associations between SSB intakes (100 ml/day increments and tertile categories) and adiposity measures (BMI standard deviation scores (s.d. unit), sum of skinfolds (SSFs)) and overweight/obesity status were examined using multivariable linear and Poisson regression models, respectively. After adjusting for confounders and additionally for energy intake, SSB intakes at age 18 months were not significantly associated with later adiposity measures and overweight/obesity outcomes. In contrast, at age 5 years, SSB intakes when modelled as 100ml/day increments were associated with higher BMI by 0.09 (95% CI: 0.02, 0.16) s.d. unit, higher SSF thickness by 0.68 (0.06, 1.44) mm, and increased risk for overweight/obesity by 1.2 times (1.07, 1.23) at age 6 years. Trends were consistent with SSB intakes modelled as categorical tertiles. In summary, SSB intake in young childhood is associated with higher risks of adiposity and risk for overweight/obesity. Public health policies working to reduce SSB consumption need to focus on prevention programs targeted at young children.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
Little is known about long-term employment outcomes for patients with first-episode schizophrenia-spectrum (FES) disorders who received early intervention services.
We compared the 10-year employment trajectory of patients with FES who received early intervention services with those who received standard care. Factors differentiating the employment trajectories were explored.
Patients with FES (N = 145) who received early intervention services in Hong Kong between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2002 were matched with those who entered standard care 1 year previously. We used hierarchical clustering analysis to explore the 10-year employment clusters for both groups. We used the mixed model test to compare cluster memberships and piecewise regression analysis to compare the employment trajectories of the two groups.
There were significantly more patients who received the early intervention service in the good employment cluster (early intervention: N = 98 [67.6%]; standard care: N = 76 [52.4%]; P = 0.009). In the poor employment cluster, there was a significant difference in the longitudinal pattern between early intervention and standard care for years 1–5 (P < 0.0001). The number of relapses during the first 3 years, months of full-time employment during the first year and years of education were significant in differentiating the clusters of the early intervention group.
Results suggest there was an overall long-term benefit of early intervention services on employment. However, the benefit was not sustained for all patients. Personalisation of the duration of the early intervention service with a focus on relapse prevention and early vocational reintegration should be considered for service enhancement.
Declaration of interests
No relevant conflicts of interests reported by C.L.M.H., Y.N.S., P.S., H.H.P. and K.K.Y. S.K.W.C., W.C.C. and E.H.M.L. report that they are members of the working group of the Early Assessment Service for Young People with Psychosis (EASY) programme of the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong. E.Y.H.C. is the convener of the working group of the EASY programme of the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong.
Altered heart rate variability (HRV), an index of autonomic nervous system function, has been reported in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but the results have been mixed. Thus, the present study, using a large sample size and better methodology, aims to examine whether GAD is associated with impaired HRV, both at rest and in response to posture challenges.
In total, 1832 participants were recruited in this study, consisting of 682 patients with GAD (including 326 drug- and comorbidity-free GAD patients) and 1150 healthy controls. Short-term HRV was measured during the supine-standing-supine test (5-min per position). Propensity score matching (PSM), a relatively novel method, was used to control for potential confounders.
After PSM algorithm, drug- and comorbidity-free GAD patients had reductions in resting (baseline) high-frequency power (HF), an index for parasympathetic modulation, and increases in the low-frequency/HF ratio (LF/HF), an index for sympathovagal balance as compared to matched controls. Furthermore, the responses of HF and LF/HF to posture changes were all attenuated when compared with matched controls. Effect sizes, given by Cohen's d, for resting HF and HF reactivity were 0.42 and 0.36–0.42, respectively.
GAD is associated with altered sympathovagal balance, characterized by attenuation in both resting vagal modulation and vagal reactivity, with an almost medium effect size (Cohen's d ≈ 0.4), regardless of medication use or comorbidity status.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is highly heterogeneous and can be classified as treatment-resistant depression (TRD) or antidepressant-responsive depression (non-TRD) based on patients' responses to antidepressant treatment. Methods for distinguishing between TRD and non-TRD are critical clinical concerns. Deficits of cortical inhibition (CI) have been reported to play an influential role in the pathophysiology of MDD. Whether TRD patients' CI is more impaired than that of non-TRD patients remains unclear.
Paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (ppTMS) was used to measure cortical inhibitory function including GABAA- and GABAB-receptor-related CI and cortical excitatory function including glutamate-receptor-related intracortical facilitation (ICF). We recruited 36 healthy controls (HC) and 36 patients with MDD (non-TRD, n = 16; TRD, n = 20). All participants received evaluations for depression severity and ppTMS examinations. Non-TRD patients received an additional ppTMS examination after 3 months of treatment with the SSRI escitalopram.
Patients with TRD exhibited reduced short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) and long-interval intracortical inhibition (LICI), as shown by abnormally higher estimates, than those with non-TRD or HC (F = 11.030, p < 0.001; F = 10.309, p < 0.001, respectively). After an adequate trial of escitalopram treatment, the LICI of non-TRD reduced significantly (t = − 3.628, p < 0.001), whereas the ICF remained lower than that of HC and showed no difference from pretreatment non-TRD.
TRD was characterized by relatively reduced CI, including both GABAA- and GABAB-receptor-mediated neurons while non-TRD preserved partial CI. In non-TRD, SSRIs may mainly modulate GABAB-receptor-related LICI. Our findings revealed distinguishable features of CI in antidepressant-resistant and responsive major depression.
BiCuTeO is a potential thermoelectric material owing to its low thermal conductivity and high carrier concentration. However, the thermoelectric performance of BiCuTeO is still below average and has much scope for improvement. In this study, we manipulated the nominal oxygen content in BiCuTeO and synthesized BiCuTeOx (x = 0.94–1.06) bulks by a solid-state reaction and pelletized them by a cold-press method. The power factor was enhanced by varying the nominal oxygen deficiency due to the increased Seebeck coefficient. The thermal conductivity was also reduced due to the decrease in lattice thermal conductivity owing to the small grain size generated by the optimal nominal oxygen content. Consequently, the ZT value was enhanced by ∼11% at 523 K for stoichiometric BiCuTeO0.94 compared to BiCuTeO. Thus, optimal oxygen manipulation in BiCuTeO can enhance the thermoelectric performance. This study can be applied to developing oxides with high thermoelectric performances.
As a degenerative disease, the progression of dementia needs continued care provision and poses both psychological and financial burden for family caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD). This study seeks to compare predictors of care costs and caregiver burden, and to identify modifiable factors that could alleviate the burden faced by dementia caregivers.
This study interviewed 231 PWD–caregiver dyads in a dementia clinic at a teaching hospital in southern Taiwan in 2013. A follow-up study was conducted a year later, and 167 dyads completed the second interview. Data collected included PWD characteristics, caregiver characteristics, relationship to PWD, and social support to caregivers. Caregiver burden was measured with the Zarit Burden Interview instrument. The association between each predictor variable and cost of care and caregiver burden scores was examined using linear mixed models.
Predictors of care costs were found to be different from predictors of caregiver burden: functional declines measured by Katz’s activities of daily living (ADL) scale were associated with total cost as compared to behavioral disturbance measured by Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), which showed no impact on care costs. However, NPI was a significant predictor of caregiver burden. Caregivers who were better-off financially also reported significantly lower caregiver burden.
Since predictors of care costs were different from the predictors of caregiver burden, providing training to caregivers in addressing PWD’s behavioral disturbance and proving financial assistance to low income caregivers could be effective in reducing caregiver burden.
Although relapse in psychosis is common, a small proportion of patients will not relapse in the long term. We examined the proportion and predictors of patients who never relapsed in the 10 years following complete resolution of positive symptoms from their first psychotic episode.
Patients who previously enrolled in a 12-month randomized controlled trial on medication discontinuation and relapse following first-episode psychosis (FEP) were followed up after 10 years. Relapse of positive symptoms was operationalized as a change from a Clinical Global Impression scale positive score of <3 for at least 3 consecutive months to a score of ⩾3 (mild or more severe). Baseline predictors included basic demographics, premorbid functioning, symptoms, functioning, and neurocognitive functioning.
Out of 178 first-episode patients, 37 (21%) never relapsed during the 10-year period. Univariate predictors (p ⩽ 0.1) of patients who never relapsed included a duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) ⩽30 days, diagnosed with non-schizophrenia spectrum disorders, having less severe negative symptoms, and performing better in logical memory immediate recall and verbal fluency tests. A multivariate logistic regression analysis further suggested that the absence of any relapsing episodes was significantly related to better short-term verbal memory, shorter DUP, and non-schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
Treatment delay and neurocognitive function are potentially modifiable predictors of good long-term prognosis in FEP. These predictors are informative as they can be incorporated into an optimum risk prediction model in the future, which would help with clinical decision making regarding maintenance treatment in FEP.
Cognitive impairment is a core feature of schizophrenia and has been observed in both familial (FHR) and clinical high-risk (CHR) samples. Nonetheless, there is a paucity of research directly contrasting cognitive profiles in these two high-risk states and first-episode schizophrenia. This study aimed to compare cognitive functions in patients with first-episode schizophrenia-spectrum disorder (FES), their unaffected siblings (FHR), CHR individuals and healthy controls.
A standardized battery of cognitive assessments was administered to 69 FES patients, 71 help-seeking CHR individuals without family history of psychotic disorder, 50 FHR participants and 68 controls. FES and CHR participants were recruited from territory-wide early intervention service for psychosis in Hong Kong. CHR status was ascertained using Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental State.
Among four groups, FES patients displayed the largest global cognitive impairment and had medium-to-large deficits across all cognitive tests relative to controls. CHR and FHR participants significantly underperformed in most cognitive tests than controls. Among various cognitive tests, digit symbol coding demonstrated the greatest magnitude of impairment in FES and CHR groups compared with controls. No significant difference between two high-risk groups was observed in global cognition and all individual cognitive tests except digit symbol coding which showed greater deficits in CHR than in FHR participants.
Clinical and familial risk groups experienced largely comparable cognitive impairment that was intermediate between FES and controls. Digit symbol coding may have the greatest discriminant capacity in distinguishing FES and CHR from healthy controls, and between two high-risk samples.
Owing to lack of a definitive correlation between carbon supports and catalytic activity of single-atom Fe-active sites, rational design and preparation of single-atom Fe catalysts have so far been elusive. Herein we designed and prepared one-dimensional core–shell nanostructured single-atom Fe catalysts, in which carbon nanofibers and carbon nanotubes with different crystallinities and electrical conductivities were used as supports to host single-atom Fe-active sites. It was found that the carbon supports with higher electrical conductivity accelerate charge transfer and enhance the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity of single-atom Fe-active sites as well as the ORR durability of the final catalyst.
The topological insulator/superconductor heterostructure is one of the most promising platforms to create and manipulate Majorana bound states. Here, we used molecular beam epitaxy to grow high-quality (Bi0.5Sb0.5)2Te3 films on Nb surfaces. To promote proper (Bi0.5Sb0.5)2Te3 film nucleation in the early growth stage, we developed a two-step growth method. Bi, Sb, and Te clusters were first evaporated at a low temperature of 180 °C, which is below the typical growth temperature and then annealed to form a crystalized passivation layer. Second, a standard (Bi0.5Sb0.5)2Te3 film was grown under the normal deposition temperature of 280 °C. We used reflection high-energy electron diffraction, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction to further characterize the (Bi0.5Sb0.5)2Te3 film and passivation layer quality. Finally, the top Nb film was laid down by magnetron sputtering at room temperature. The hetero-Nb/epitaxial (Bi0.5Sb0.5)2Te3/Nb stacks were further fabricated into micro-Josephson junctions and showed clear Josephson currents demonstrating an excellent material quality.
We previously reported four heterozygous missense mutations of MYH7, KCNQ1, MYLK2, and TMEM70 in a single three-generation Chinese family with dual Long QT and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy phenotypes for the first time. However, the clinical course among the family members was various, and the potential myocardial dysfunction has not been investigated.
The objective of this study was to investigate the echocardiographic and electrocardiographic characteristics in a genetic positive Chinese family with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and further to explore the association between myocardial dysfunction and electric activity, and the identified mutations.
A comprehensive echocardiogram – standard two-dimensional Doppler echocardiography and three-dimensional speckle tracking echocardiography – and electrocardiogram were obtained for members in this family.
As previously reported, four missense mutations – MYH7-H1717Q, KCNQ1-R190W, MYLK2-K324E, and TMEM70-I147T – were identified in this family. The MYH7-H1717Q mutation carriers had significantly increased left ventricular mass indices, elevated E/e’ ratio, deteriorated global longitudinal stain, but enhanced global circumferential and radial strain compared with those in non-mutation patients (all p<0.05). The KCNQ1-R190W carriers showed significantly prolonged QTc intervals, and the MYLK2-K324E mutation carriers showed inverted T-waves (both p<0.05). However, the TMEM70-I147T mutation carriers had similar echocardiography and electrocardiographic data as non-mutation patients.
Three of the identified four mutations had potential pathogenic effects in this family: MYH7-H1717Q was associated with increased left ventricular thickness, elevated left ventricular filling pressure, and altered myocardial deformation; KCNQ1-R190W and MYLK2-K324E mutations were correlated with electrocardiographic abnormalities reflected in long QT phenotype and inverted T-waves, respectively.
High-quality carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene synthesized by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) have unique one- and two-dimensional structures made up of sp2-hybridized carbon atoms and excellent physical and chemical properties. They have shown potential for use in electronics, optoelectronics, energy-storage devices, composites, and sensors. In this article, we review important milestones in these uses of CNTs and graphene produced by CVD, with special emphasis on the latest advances and remaining challenges. The key characteristics and advantages of CNTs and graphene synthesized by CVD for different applications are compared, and future trends in the use of these nanocarbons are discussed.
In this paper, we outline the use of Raman spectroscopy coupled with scanning confocal optical microscopy for determining the microstructural location of impurities in ice-core specimens. We also demonstrate how the orientations of grains and the misorientations across grain boundaries can be determined to high precision for ice polycrystals using either selected area channeling patterns or electron backscatter patterns in a scanning electron microscope.
Evidence indicates that the positive effects of 2-year early intervention services for psychosis are not maintained after service withdrawal. Optimal duration of early intervention in sustaining initial improved outcomes remains to be determined.
To examine the sustainability of the positive effects of an extended, 3-year, early intervention programme for patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) after transition to standard care.
A total of 160 patients, who had received a 2-year early intervention programme for FEP, were enrolled to a 12-month randomised-controlled trial (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01202357) comparing a 1-year extension of the early intervention (3-year specialised treatment) with step-down care (2-year specialised treatment). Participants were followed up and reassessed 2 and 3 years after inclusion to the trial.
There were no significant differences between the treatment groups in outcomes on functioning, symptom severity and service use during the post-trial follow-up period.
The therapeutic benefits achieved by the extended, 3-year early intervention were not sustainable after termination of the specialised service.
We present the case of a 2-year-old boy with progressive left-sided weakness and a cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan showing a lesion with a cystic component in the right thalamus and basal ganglia. The lesion was subtotally resected and diagnosed as a pilocytic astrocytoma by histopathology. Tumor seeding along the surgical tract was seen on MRI 16 days and 10 weeks after surgery. The patient received vincristine and carboplatin, and MRI performed 4 months after chemotherapy revealed no additional or residual lesions. This case illustrated that a World Health Organization grade I astrocytoma could disseminate along the surgical tract.
Better understanding of the complex interplay among key determinants of functional outcome is crucial to promoting recovery in psychotic disorders. However, this is understudied in the early course of illness. We aimed to examine the relationships among negative symptoms, neurocognition, general self-efficacy and global functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients using structural equation modeling (SEM).
Three hundred and twenty-one Chinese patients aged 26–55 years presenting with FEP to an early intervention program in Hong Kong were recruited. Assessments encompassing symptom profiles, functioning, perceived general self-efficacy and a battery of neurocognitive tests were conducted. Negative symptom measurement was subdivided into amotivation and diminished expression (DE) domain scores based on the ratings in the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms.
An initial SEM model showed no significant association between functioning and DE which was removed from further analysis. A final trimmed model yielded very good model fit (χ2 = 15.48, p = 0.63; comparative fit index = 1.00; root mean square error of approximation <0.001) and demonstrated that amotivation, neurocognition and general self-efficacy had a direct effect on global functioning. Amotivation was also found to mediate a significant indirect effect of neurocognition and general self-efficacy on functioning. Neurocognition was not significantly related to general self-efficacy.
Our results indicate a critical intermediary role of amotivation in linking neurocognitive impairment to functioning in FEP. General self-efficacy may represent a promising treatment target for improvement of motivational deficits and functional outcome in the early illness stage.
A magnesium–lithium (Mg–Li) hybrid battery consists of an Mg metal anode, a Li+ intercalation cathode, and a dual-salt electrolyte with both Mg2+ and Li+ ions. The demonstration of this technology has appeared in literature for few years and great advances have been achieved in terms of electrolytes, various Li cathodes, and cell architectures. Despite excellent battery performances including long cycle life, fast charge/discharge rate, and high Coulombic efficiency, the overall research of Mg–Li hybrid battery technology is still in its early stage, and also raised some debates on its practical applications. In this regard, we focus on a comprehensive overview of Mg–Li hybrid battery technologies developed in recent years. Detailed discussion of Mg–Li hybrid operating mechanism based on experimental results from literature helps to identify the current status and technical challenges for further improving the performance of Mg–Li hybrid batteries. Finally, a perspective for Mg–Li hybrid battery technologies is presented to address strategic approaches for existing technical barriers that need to be overcome in future research direction.
Relapse is distressingly common after the first episode of psychosis, yet it is poorly understood and difficult to predict. Investigating changes in cognitive function preceding relapse may provide new insights into the underlying mechanism of relapse in psychosis. We hypothesized that relapse in fully remitted first-episode psychosis patients was preceded by working memory deterioration.
Visual memory and verbal working memory were monitored prospectively in a 1-year randomized controlled trial of remitted first-episode psychosis patients assigned to medication continuation (quetiapine 400 mg/day) or discontinuation (placebo). Relapse (recurrence of positive symptoms of psychosis), visual (Visual Patterns Test) and verbal (Letter–Number span test) working memory and stressful life events were assessed monthly.
Remitted first-episode patients (n = 102) participated in the study. Relapsers (n = 53) and non-relapsers (n = 49) had similar baseline demographic and clinical profiles. Logistic regression analyses indicated relapse was associated with visual working memory deterioration 2 months before relapse [odds ratio (OR) 3.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19–7.92, P = 0.02], more stressful life events 1 month before relapse (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.20–3.72, P = 0.01) and medication discontinuation (OR 5.52, 95% CI 2.08–14.62, P = 0.001).
Visual working memory deterioration beginning 2 months before relapse in remitted first-episode psychosis patients (not baseline predictor) may reflect early brain dysfunction that heralds a psychotic relapse. The deterioration was found to be unrelated to a worsening of psychotic symptoms preceding relapse. Testable predictors offer insight into the brain processes underlying relapse in psychosis.
The present study aimed to explore the associations between food away-from-home (FAFH) consumption and body weight outcomes among Chinese adults.
FAFH was defined as food prepared at restaurants and the percentage of energy from FAFH was calculated. Measured BMI and waist circumference (WC) were used as body weight outcomes. Quantile regression models for BMI and WC were performed separately by gender.
Information on demographic, socio-economic, diet and health parameters at individual, household and community levels was collected in twelve provinces of China.
A cross-sectional sample of 7738 non-pregnant individuals aged 18–60 years from the China Health and Nutrition Survey 2011 was analysed.
For males, quantile regression models showed that percentage of energy from FAFH was associated with an increase in BMI of 0·01, 0·01, 0·01, 0·02, 0·02 and 0·03 kg/m2 at the 5th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th and 95th quantile, and an increase in WC of 0·04, 0·06, 0·06, 0·04, 0·06, 0·05 and 0·07 cm at the 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th and 95th quantile. For females, percentage of energy from FAFH was associated with 0·01, 0·01, 0·01 and 0·02 kg/m2 increase in BMI at the 10th, 25th, 90th and 95th quantile, and with 0·05, 0·04, 0·03 and 0·03 cm increase in WC at the 5th, 10th, 25th and 75th quantile.
Our findings suggest that FAFH consumption is relatively more important for BMI and WC among males rather than females in China. Public health initiatives are needed to encourage Chinese adults to make healthy food choices when eating out.