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The radiocarbon (14C) dating facility at the Centre for Isotope Research, University of Groningen went through a major upgrade in 2017 and this included installation of a MICADAS accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS). In the first 18 months, we performed 4000 sample and 3000 reference measurements. A careful evaluation of those measurement results is presented, to characterize the various sources of uncertainty and to ultimately assign, for every sample measurement, a realistic expanded uncertainty. This analysis was performed on the measurements of secondary references and sample duplicates in various phases of their processing steps. The final expanded uncertainty includes both the 14C measurement uncertainties and uncertainties originating from pretreatment steps. Where the 14C measurement uncertainty includes straightforward uncertainties arising from Poisson statistics, background subtraction, calibration on Oxalic Acid II and δ13C correction, the uncertainties originating from pretreatment steps are based on the spread of actual measurement results for secondary references and sample duplicates. We show that the 14C measurement uncertainty requires expansion, depending on the number of processing steps involved prior to a 14C measurement, by a maximum factor of 1.6 at our laboratory. By using these expansion (multiplication) factors, we make our reported uncertainty both more realistic and reliable.
Four pregnancies in three panic disorder patients are described. In three pregnancies panic symptoms improved initially, but worsened in the second half. One patient developed panic disorder in the second half of her pregnancy. Changes in balance between progesterone and estrogen could explain this clinical course.
Multimorbidity may impose an overwhelming burden on patients with psychosis and is affected by gender and age. Our aim is to study the independent role of familial liability to psychosis as a risk factor for multimorbidity.
We performed the study within the framework of the Genetic Risk and Outcome of Psychosis (GROUP) project. Overall, we compared 1024 psychotic patients, 994 unaffected siblings and 566 controls on the prevalence of 125 lifetime diseases, and 19 self-reported somatic complaints. Multimorbidity was defined as the presence of two or more complaints/diseases in the same individual. Generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) were used to investigate the effects of gender, age (adolescent, young, older) and familial liability (patients, siblings, controls) and their interactions on multimorbidity.
Familial liability had a significant effect on multimorbidity of either complaints or diseases. Patients had a higher prevalence of multimorbidity of complaints compared to siblings (OR 2.20, 95% CI 1.79–2.69, P < 0.001) and to controls (3.05, 2.35–3.96, P < 0.001). In physical health multimorbidity, patients (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.05–1.75, P = 0.018), but not siblings, had significantly higher prevalence than controls. Similar finding were observed for multimorbidity of lifetime diseases, including psychiatric diseases. Significant results were observed for complaints and disease multimorbidity across gender and age groups.
Multimorbidity is a common burden, significantly more prevalent in patients and their unaffected siblings. Familial liability to psychosis showed an independent effect on multimorbidity; gender and age are also important factors determining multimorbidity.
As scholars explore opportunities for democratic renewal, the potential of ballot structures to improve the quality of representation has been largely neglected. We argue that expressive ballots can improve the congruence of political preferences between voters and their vote choice and, subsequently, decrease parliamentary polarization. Recognizing that voters’ political preferences are more complex than a dichotomous party-vote allows, we propose the ‘assembly ballot’, which allows voters to choose their ‘ideal parliament’ by distributing 150 parliamentary seats across all participating parties. To assess the consequences of the assembly ballot for ideological congruence and parliamentary composition, we conducted a survey experiment with over 16,000 respondents around the 2017 Dutch parliamentary elections in which respondents cast a vote in a mock-election using the assembly ballot or a closed-list PR ballot. Results show that ideological congruence is, on average, significantly higher for voters voting with the assembly ballot for both the left–right dimension and the cultural dimension, while also producing a more centripetal, less polarized parliament.
The Centre for Isotope Research (CIO) at the University of Groningen has operated a radiocarbon (14C) dating laboratory for almost 70 years. In 2017, the CIO received a major upgrade, which involved the relocation of the laboratory to new purpose-built premises, and the installation of a MICADAS accelerator mass spectrometer. This period of transition provides an opportunity to update the laboratory’s routine procedures. This article addresses all of the processes and quality checks the CIO has in place for registering, tracking and pretreating samples for radiocarbon dating. Complementary updates relating to radioisotope measurement and uncertainty propagation will be provided in other forthcoming publications. Here, the intention is to relay all the practical information regarding the chemical preparation of samples, and to provide a concise explanation as to why each step is deemed necessary.
Potential routes to the formation of urea were investigated using electronic structure methods. The most likely pathways involve either the reaction of the formamide and amine radicals or involve protonated isocyanic acid as a starting point.
22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS), one of the most common recurrent copy number variant disorders, is associated with dopaminergic abnormalities and increased risk for psychotic disorders.
Given the elevated prevalence of substance use and dopaminergic abnormalities in non-deleted patients with psychosis, we investigated the prevalence of substance use in 22q11DS, compared with that in non-deleted patients with psychosis and matched healthy controls.
This cross-sectional study involved 434 patients with 22q11DS, 265 non-deleted patients with psychosis and 134 healthy controls. Psychiatric diagnosis, full-scale IQ and COMT Val158Met genotype were determined in the 22q11DS group. Substance use data were collected according to the Composite International Diagnostic Interview.
The prevalence of total substance use (36.9%) and substance use disorders (1.2%), and weekly amounts of alcohol and nicotine use, in patients with 22q11DS was significantly lower than in non-deleted patients with psychosis or controls. Compared with patients with 22q11DS, healthy controls were 20 times more likely to use substances in general (P < 0.001); results were also significant for alcohol and nicotine use separately. Within the 22q11DS group, there was no relationship between the prevalence of substance use and psychosis or COMT genotype. Male patients with 22q11DS were more likely to use substances than female patients with 22q11DS.
The results suggest that patients with 22q11DS are at decreased risk for substance use and substance use disorders despite the increased risk of psychotic disorders. Further research into neurobiological and environmental factors involved in substance use in 22q11DS is necessary to elucidate the mechanisms involved.
Depressive patients can present with complex and different symptom patterns in clinical care. Of these, some may report patterns that are inconsistent with typical patterns of depressive symptoms. This study aimed to evaluate the validity of person-fit statistics to identify inconsistent symptom reports and to assess the clinical usefulness of providing clinicians with person-fit score feedback during depression assessment.
Inconsistent symptom reports on the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Report (IDS-SR) were investigated quantitatively with person-fit statistics for both intake and follow-up measurements in the Groningen University Center of Psychiatry (n = 2036). Subsequently, to investigate the causes and clinical usefulness of on-the-fly person-fit alerts, qualitative follow-up assessments were conducted with three psychiatrists about 20 of their patients that were randomly selected.
Inconsistent symptom reports at intake (12.3%) were predominantly characterized by reporting of severe symptoms (e.g. psychomotor slowing) without mild symptoms (e.g. irritability). Person-fit scores at intake and follow-up were positively correlated (r = 0.45). Qualitative interviews with psychiatrists resulted in an explanation for the inconsistent response behavior (e.g. complex comorbidity, somatic complaints, and neurological abnormalities) for 19 of 20 patients. Psychiatrists indicated that if provided directly after the assessment, a person-fit alert would have led to new insights in 60%, and be reason for discussion with the patient in 75% of the cases.
Providing clinicians with automated feedback when inconsistent symptom reports occur is informative and can be used to support clinical decision-making.
A growing body of neuropsychological and neurobiological research shows a relationship between functioning of the prefrontal cortex and criminal and violent behaviour. The prefrontal cortex is crucial for executive functions such as inhibition, attention, working memory, set-shifting and planning. A deficit in these functions – a prefrontal deficit – may result in antisocial, impulsive or even aggressive behaviour. While several meta-analyses show large effect sizes for the relationship between a prefrontal deficit, executive dysfunction and criminality, there are few studies investigating differences in executive functions between violent and non-violent offenders. Considering the relevance of identifying risk factors for violent offending, the current study explores whether a distinction between violent and non-violent offenders can be made using an extensive neuropsychological test battery.
Male remand prisoners (N = 130) in Penitentiary Institution Amsterdam Over-Amstel were administered an extensive neuropsychological test battery (Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Test Battery; CANTAB) measuring response inhibition, planning, attention, set-shifting, working memory and impulsivity/reward sensitivity.
Violent offenders performed significantly worse on the stop-signal task (partial correlation r = 0.205, p = 0.024), a task measuring response inhibition. No further differences were found between violent and non-violent offenders. Explorative analyses revealed a significant relationship between recidivism and planning (partial correlation r = −0.209, p = 0.016).
Violent offenders show worse response inhibition compared to non-violent offenders, suggesting a more pronounced prefrontal deficit in violent offenders than in non-violent offenders.
Combining atmospheric Δ14CO2 data sets from different networks or laboratories requires secure knowledge on their compatibility. In the present study, we compare Δ14CO2 results from the Heidelberg low-level counting (LLC) laboratory to 12 international accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) laboratories using distributed aliquots of five pure CO2 samples. The averaged result of the LLC laboratory has a measurement bias of –0.3±0.5‰ with respect to the consensus value of the AMS laboratories for the investigated atmospheric Δ14C range of 9.6 to 40.4‰. Thus, the LLC measurements on average are not significantly different from the AMS laboratories, and the most likely measurement bias is smaller than the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) interlaboratory compatibility goal for Δ14CO2 of 0.5‰. The number of intercomparison samples was, however, too small to determine whether the measurement biases of the individual AMS laboratories fulfilled the WMO goal.
In search of empirical classifications of depression and anxiety, most subtyping studies focus solely on symptoms and do so within a single disorder. This study aimed to identify and validate cross-diagnostic subtypes by simultaneously considering symptoms of depression and anxiety, and disability measures.
A large cohort of adults (Lifelines, n = 73 403) had a full assessment of 16 symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders, and measurement of physical, social and occupational disability. The best-fitting subtyping model was identified by comparing different hybrid mixture models with and without disability covariates on fit criteria in an independent test sample. The best model's classes were compared across a range of external variables.
The best-fitting Mixed Measurement Item Response Theory model with disability covariates identified five classes. Accounting for disability improved differentiation between people reporting isolated non-specific symptoms [‘Somatic’ (13.0%), and ‘Worried’ (14.0%)] and psychopathological symptoms [‘Subclinical’ (8.8%), and ‘Clinical’ (3.3%)]. Classes showed distinct associations with clinically relevant external variables [e.g. somatization: odds ratio (OR) 8.1–12.3, and chronic stress: OR 3.7–4.4]. The Subclinical class reported symptomatology at subthreshold levels while experiencing disability. No pure depression or anxiety, but only mixed classes were found.
An empirical classification model, incorporating both symptoms and disability identified clearly distinct cross-diagnostic subtypes, indicating that diagnostic nets should be cast wider than current phenomenology-based categorical systems.
Atmospheric Δ14CO2 measurements are useful to investigate the regional signals of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, despite the currently scarce observational network for Δ14CO2. Plant samples are an easily attainable alternative, which have been shown to work well as a qualitative measure of the atmospheric Δ14CO2 signals integrated over the time a plant has grown. Here, we present the 14C analysis results for 89 individual maize (Zea mays) plant samples from 51 different locations that were gathered in the Netherlands in the years 2010 to 2012, and from western Germany and France in 2012. We describe our sampling strategy and results, and include a comparison to a model simulation of the Δ14CO2 that would be accumulated in each plant over a growing season. Our model simulates the Δ14CO2 signatures in good agreement with observed plant samples, resulting in a root-mean-square deviation (RMSD) of 3.30‰. This value is comparable to the measurement uncertainty, but still relatively large (20–50%) compared to the total signal. It is also comparable to the spread in Δ14CO2 values found across multiple plants from a single site, and to the spread found when averaging across larger regions. We nevertheless find that both measurements and model capture the large-scale (>100 km) regional Δ14CO2 gradients, with significant observation-model correlations in all three countries in which we collected samples. The modeled plant results suggest that the largest gradients found in the Netherlands and Germany are associated with emissions from energy production and road traffic, while in France, the 14CO2 enrichment from nuclear sources dominates in many samples. Overall, the required model-based interpretation of plant samples adds additional uncertainty to the already relatively large measurement uncertainty in Δ14CO2, and we suggest that future fossil fuel monitoring efforts should prioritize other strategies such as direct atmospheric sampling of CO2 and Δ14CO2.
The Amsterdam glacial basin was a major sedimentary sink from late Saalian until late Eemian (Picea zone, E6) times. The basin’s exemplary record makes it a potential reference area for the last interglacial stage. The cored Amsterdam-Terminal borehole was drilled in 1997 to provide a record throughout the Eemian interglacial. Integrated facies analysis has resulted in a detailed reconstruction of the sedimentary history.
After the Saalian ice mass had disappeared from the area, a large, deep lake had come into being, fed by the Rhine river. At the end of the glacial, the lake became smaller because it was cut off from the river-water supply, and eventually only a number of shallow pools remained in the Amsterdam basin. During the early Eemian (Betula zone, El), a seepage lake existed at the site. The lake deepened under the influence of a steadily rising sea level and finally evolved into a silled lagoon (late Quercus zone, E3). Initially, the lagoon water had fairly stable stratification, but as the sea level continued to rise the sill lost its significance, the lagoon becoming well mixed by the middle of the Corylus/Taxus zone (E4b). The phase of free exchange with the open sea ended in the early Carpinus zone (E5), when barriers developed in the sill area causing the lagoon to become stratified again. During the Late Eemian (late E5), a more dynamic system developed. The sandy barriers that had obstructed exchange with the open sea were no longer effective, and a tidally-influenced coastal lagoon formed.
The Eemian sedimentary history shown in the Amsterdam-Terminal borehole is intimately connected with the sea-level history. Because the site includes both a high-resolution pollen signal and a record of sea-level change, it has potential for correlation on various scales. Palaeomagnetic results show that the sediments predate the Blake Event, which confirms that this reversal excursion is relatively young. The U/Th age of the uppermost part of the Eemian sequence is 118.2±6.3 ka.
Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) measurements of the radiocarbon content in very old samples are often challenging and carry large relative uncertainties due to possible contaminations acquired during the preparation and storage steps. In case of such old samples, the natural surrounding levels of 14C from gases in the atmosphere, which may well be the source of contamination among others, are 2–3 orders of magnitude higher than the samples themselves. Hence, serious efforts are taken during the preparation steps to have the samples pristine until measurements are performed. As samples often have to be temporarily stored until AMS measurements can be performed, storage conditions also become extremely crucial. Here we describe an assessment of this process of contamination in background AMS samples. Samples, both as pressed graphite (on AMS targets) and graphite powder, were stored in various storage conditions (CO2-spiked air) to investigate the extent of contamination. The experiments clearly show that the pressed targets are more vulnerable to contamination than the unpressed graphite. Experiments conducted with enriched CO2-spiked laboratory air also reveal that the contaminating carbon is not only limited to the target surface but also penetrates into the matrix. A combination of measurements on understanding the chemical nature of the graphitization product, combined with long-available knowledge on “adventitious carbon” from the surface science community, brought us to the conclusion that contamination is to a certain extent inevitable. However, it can be minimized, and should be dealt with by sputter-cleaning the samples individually before the actual measurement.
The epidemiology of seasonal influenza is influenced by age. During the influenza season, the European Influenza Surveillance Network (EISN) reports weekly virological and syndromic surveillance data [mostly influenza-like illness (ILI)] based on national networks of sentinel primary-care providers. Aggregated numbers by age group are available for ILI, but not linked to the virological data. At the end of the influenza season 2012/2013, all EISN laboratories were invited to submit a subset of their virological data for this season, including information on age. The analysis by age group suggests that the overall distribution of circulating (sub)types may mask substantial differences between age groups. Thus, in cases aged 5–14 years, 75% tested positive for influenza B virus whereas all other age groups had an even distribution of influenza A and B viruses. This means that the intepretation of syndromic surveillance data without age group-specific virological data may be misleading. Surveillance at the European level would benefit from the reporting of age-specific influenza data.
The association between childhood trauma and psychotic and depressive symptomatology is well established. However, less is known about the specificity and course of these symptoms in relation to childhood trauma.
In a large sample (n = 2765) of patients with psychosis (n = 1119), their siblings (n = 1057) and controls (n = 589), multivariate (mixed-effects) regression analyses with multiple outcomes were performed to examine the association between childhood trauma and psychotic and depressive symptomatology over a 3-year period.
A dose–response relationship was found between childhood trauma and psychosis. Abuse was more strongly associated with positive symptoms than with negative symptoms whereas the strength of the associations between neglect and positive and negative symptoms was comparable. In patients, similar associations between childhood trauma and psychotic or depressive symptoms were found, and in siblings and controls, stronger associations were found between trauma and depressive symptomatology. Childhood trauma was not related to a differential course of symptoms over a 3-year time period.
In congruence with earlier work, our findings suggest that childhood trauma, and abuse in particular, is associated with (subthreshold) psychosis. However, childhood trauma does not seem to be associated with a differential course of symptoms, nor does it uniquely heighten the chance of developing (subthreshold) psychotic symptomatology. Our results indicate that trauma may instead contribute to a shared vulnerability for psychotic and depressive symptoms.
There is an increasing interest in cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) interventions targeting negative symptoms in schizophrenia. To date, CBT trials primarily focused on positive symptoms and investigated change in negative symptoms only as a secondary outcome. To enhance insight into factors contributing to improvement of negative symptoms, and to identify subgroups of patients that may benefit most from CBT directed at ameliorating negative symptoms, we reviewed all available evidence on these outcomes.
A systematic search of the literature was conducted in PsychInfo, PubMed and the Cochrane register to identify randomized controlled trials reporting on the impact of CBT interventions on negative symptoms in schizophrenia. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed on end-of-treatment, short-term and long-term changes in negative symptoms.
A total of 35 publications covering 30 trials in 2312 patients, published between 1993 and 2013, were included. Our results showed studies’ pooled effect on symptom alleviation to be small [Hedges’ g = 0.093, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.028 to 0.214, p = 0.130] and heterogeneous (Q = 73.067, degrees of freedom = 29, p < 0.001, τ2 = 0.081, I2 = 60.31) in studies with negative symptoms as a secondary outcome. Similar results were found for studies focused on negative symptom reduction (Hedges’ g = 0.157, 95% CI −0.10 to 0.409, p = 0.225). Meta-regression revealed that stronger treatment effects were associated with earlier year of publication, lower study quality and with CBT provided individually (as compared with group-based).
The co-occurring beneficial effect of conventional CBT on negative symptoms found in older studies was not supported by more recent studies. It is now necessary to further disentangle effective treatment ingredients of older studies in order to guide the development of future CBT interventions aimed at negative symptom reduction.
This study investigates the accuracy of the radiocarbon-based calculation of the biogenic carbon fraction for different biogas and biofossil gas mixtures. The focus is on the uncertainty in the 14C reference values for 100% biogenic carbon and on the 13C-based isotope fractionation correction of the measured 14C values. The separately (AMS) measured CO2 and CH4 fractions of 8 different biogas samples showed 14C values between 102‰ and 116% (pMC). The δ13C values of these samples varied between –6‰ and +31‰ for the CO2 fraction and between –28‰ and –62‰ for the CH4 fraction. The uncertainty in calculated biogenic carbon fractions due to uncertainty in the 14C reference values depends on the available information about the origin of the used biogenic materials. It varies between ±0.5% and ±3.5% (absolute) depending on the type of biogas. A method is proposed to minimize this uncertainty for different groups of biogases. The calculated biogenic carbon fraction deviates up to ±2.5% for biofossil gas mixtures, if the applied isotope fractionation correction is based on the δ13C value of the mixed biofossil sample instead of the biogenic δ13C value. Combination of both error sources shows that the uncertainty in the calculated biogenic carbon fraction varies between ±0.7% and ±4.5%, depending on the type of biogas in the sample.