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Nested data arise frequently in clinical research. The nesting might be hierarchical, such as patients nested within clinicians, or it might be longitudinal, such as repeated assessments over time nested within individuals. As articulated in this chapter, whenever and however nesting occurs, it is necessary to account for the statistical dependence of observations within units when analyzing the data. Further, it is important to determine the level(s) of the data at which predictors exert their effects. Multilevel models are a particularly popular and useful approach for addressing these issues. We thus describe these models in detail, illustrating the application of multilevel models in clinical research via two examples. The first example considers nesting of siblings within families and demonstrates the importance of separating within- versus between-family effects. The second example focuses on the application of multilevel models with repeated measures to evaluate within-person change over time. Additionally, we provide a brief survey of other approaches to the analysis of nested data (e.g., cluster-robust standard errors, generalized estimating equations, fixed-effects models).
To identify whether picky eating during childhood is associated with dietary intake, weight status and disordered eating behaviour during young adulthood.
A population-based study using data from young adults who responded online or by mail to the third wave of the Project EAT (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults) study in 2008–2009. Participants retrospectively reported the extent to which they were a picky eater in childhood, sociodemographic characteristics, disordered eating behaviours, usual dietary intake, and weight and height.
Participants were initially recruited in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota, USA, in 1998–1999.
The analytic sample included 2275 young adults (55 % female, 48 % non-Hispanic White, mean age 25·3 (sd 1·6) years).
Young adults who reported picky eating in childhood were found to currently have lower intakes of fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and more frequent intakes of snack foods, sugar-sweetened beverages and foods from fast-food restaurants. No associations were observed between picky eating in childhood and young adults’ weight status, use of weight-control strategies or report of binge eating.
While young adults who report picky eating during childhood are not at higher risk for disordered eating, those who were picky eaters tend to have less healthy dietary intake. Food preferences and dietary habits established by picky eaters during childhood may persist into adulthood.
The use of Alzheimer disease medication for the treatment of dementia symptoms has shown significant benefits with regards to functional and cognitive outcomes as well as nursing home placement (NHP) and mortality. Hospitalisations in these patient groups are characterised by extended length of stays (LOS), frequent readmissions, frequent NHP and high-mortality rates. The impact of Alzheimer disease medication on the aforementioned outcomes remains still unknown. This study assessed the association of Alzheimer disease medication with outcomes of hospitalisation among patients with Alzheimer disease and other forms of dementia.
A dynamic retrospective cohort study from 2004 to 2015 was conducted which claims data from a German health insurance company. People with dementia (PWD) were identified using ICD-10 codes and diagnostic measures. The main predictor of interest was the use of Alzheimer disease medication. Hospitalisation outcomes included LOS, readmissions, NHP and mortality during and after hospitalisation across four hospitalisations. Confounding was addressed using a propensity score throughout all analyses.
A total of 1380 users of Alzheimer disease medication and 6730 non-users were identified. The use of Alzheimer disease medication was associated with significantly shorter LOS during the first hospitalisations with estimates for the second, third and fourth showed a tendency towards shorter hospital stays. In addition, current users of Alzheimer disease medication had a lower risk of hospital readmission after the first two hospitalisations. These associations were not significant for the third and fourth hospitalisations. Post-hospitalisation NHP and mortality rates also tended to be lower among current users than among non-users but differences did not reach statistical significance.
Our results indicate that Alzheimer disease medication might contribute to a reduction of the LOS and the number of readmissions in PWD.
This article discusses prospects and challenges related to the use of meta-regression models (MRMs) for ecosystem service benefit transfer, with an emphasis on validity criteria and post-estimation procedures given sparse attention in the ecosystem services literature. We illustrate these topics using a meta-analysis of willingness to pay for water quality changes that support aquatic ecosystem services and the application of this model to estimate water quality benefits under alternative riparian buffer restoration scenarios in New Hampshire's Great Bay Watershed. These illustrations highlight the advantages of MRM benefit transfers, together with the challenges and data needs encountered when quantifying ecosystem service values.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a fast-acting intervention for major depressive disorder. Previous studies indicated neurotrophic effects following ECT that might contribute to changes in white matter brain structure. We investigated the influence of ECT in a non-randomized prospective study focusing on white matter changes over time.
Twenty-nine severely depressed patients receiving ECT in addition to inpatient treatment, 69 severely depressed patients with inpatient treatment (NON-ECT) and 52 healthy controls (HC) took part in a non-randomized prospective study. Participants were scanned twice, approximately 6 weeks apart, using diffusion tensor imaging, applying tract-based spatial statistics. Additional correlational analyses were conducted in the ECT subsample to investigate the effects of seizure duration and therapeutic response.
Mean diffusivity (MD) increased after ECT in the right hemisphere, which was an ECT-group-specific effect. Seizure duration was associated with decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) following ECT. Longitudinal changes in ECT were not associated with therapy response. However, within the ECT group only, baseline FA was positively and MD negatively associated with post-ECT symptomatology.
Our data suggest that ECT changes white matter integrity, possibly reflecting increased permeability of the blood–brain barrier, resulting in disturbed communication of fibers. Further, baseline diffusion metrics were associated with therapy response. Coherent fiber structure could be a prerequisite for a generalized seizure and inhibitory brain signaling necessary to successfully inhibit increased seizure activity.
A core question in the debate about how to organise mental healthcare is whether in- and out-patient treatment should be provided by the same (personal continuity) or different psychiatrists (specialisation). The controversial debate drives costly organisational changes in several European countries, which have gone in opposing directions. The existing evidence is based on small and low-quality studies which tend to favour whatever the new experimental organisation is.
We compared 1-year clinical outcomes of personal continuity and specialisation in routine care in a large scale study across five European countries.
This is a 1-year prospective natural experiment conducted in Belgium, England, Germany, Italy and Poland. In all these countries, both personal continuity and specialisation exist in routine care. Eligible patients were admitted for psychiatric in-patient treatment (18 years of age), and clinically diagnosed with a psychotic, mood or anxiety/somatisation disorder.
Outcomes were assessed 1 year after the index admission. The primary outcome was re-hospitalisation and analysed for the full sample and subgroups defined by country, and different socio-demographic and clinical criteria. Secondary outcomes were total number of inpatient days, involuntary re-admissions, adverse events and patients’ social situation. Outcomes were compared through mixed regression models in intention-to-treat analyses. The study is registered (ISRCTN40256812).
We consecutively recruited 7302 patients; 6369 (87.2%) were followed-up. No statistically significant differences were found in re-hospitalisation, neither overall (adjusted percentages: 38.9% in personal continuity, 37.1% in specialisation; odds ratio = 1.08; confidence interval 0.94–1.25; p = 0.28) nor for any of the considered subgroups. There were no significant differences in any of the secondary outcomes.
Whether the same or different psychiatrists provide in- and out-patient treatment appears to have no substantial impact on patient outcomes over a 1-year period. Initiatives to improve long-term outcomes of psychiatric patients may focus on aspects other than the organisation of personal continuity v. specialisation.
There is evidence for the cost-effectiveness of health visitor (HV) training to assess postnatal depression (PND) and deliver psychological approaches to women at risk of depression. Whether this approach is cost-effective for lower-risk women is unknown. There is a need to know the cost of HV-delivered universal provision, and how much it might cost to improve health-related quality of life for postnatal women. A sub-study of a cluster-randomised controlled trial in the former Trent region (England) previously investigated the effectiveness of PoNDER HV training in mothers at lower risk of PND. We conducted a parallel cost-effectiveness analysis at 6-months postnatal for all mothers with lower-risk status attributed to an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) score <12 at 6-weeks postnatal.
Intervention HVs were trained in assessment and cognitive behavioural or person-centred psychological support techniques to prevent depression. Outcomes examined: quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gains over the period between 6 weeks and 6 months derived from SF-6D (from SF-36); risk-of-depression at 6 months (dichotomising 6-month EPDS scores into lower risk (<12) and at-risk (⩾12).
In lower-risk women, 1474 intervention (63 clusters) and 767 control participants (37 clusters) had valid 6-week and 6-month EPDS scores. Costs and outcomes data were available for 1459 participants. 6-month adjusted costs were £82 lower in intervention than control groups, with 0.002 additional QALY gained. The probability of cost-effectiveness at £20 000 was very high (99%).
PoNDER HV training was highly cost-effective in preventing symptoms of PND in a population of lower-risk women and cost-reducing over 6 months.
Research demonstrates the importance of nutrition for early brain development. Few studies have examined the effectiveness of multiple micronutrient powders (MNP) on child development. This study examined the impacts of home fortification with MNP on motor and mental development, executive function and memory of children living in Bihar. This two-arm cluster-randomised effectiveness trial selected seventy health sub-centres to receive either MNP and nutrition counselling (intervention) or nutrition counselling alone (control) for 12 months. Front-line health workers delivered the intervention to all households in study communities with a child aged 6–18 months. Data were collected using cross-sectional surveys at baseline and endline by selecting households from intervention (baseline, n 2184; endline, n 2170) and control (baseline, n 2176; endline, n 2122) communities using a two-stage cluster-randomised sampling strategy. Children in the intervention group had a significantly larger improvement from baseline to endline compared with those in the control group on scores for motor and mental development (Cohen’s d, motor=0·12; 95 % CI 0·03, 0·22; mental=0·15; 95 % CI 0·06, 0·25). Greater impacts of MNP on motor and mental development were observed in children from households with higher stimulation scores at baseline compared with those with lower stimulation (Cohen’s d, motor=0·20 v. 0·09; mental=0·22 v. 0·14; Pinteraction<0·05). No significant treatment differences were seen for executive function or memory. Home fortification with MNP through the existing health infrastructure in Bihar was effective in improving motor and mental development and should be considered in combination with other child development interventions such as stimulation.
Two new species of egg parasitoids, Oobius saimaensis Yao and Mottern new species and Oobius fleischeri Yao and Duan new species (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), are described from eggs of Agrilus fleischeri Obenberger, 1925 (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Agrilus fleischeri is a phloem-feeding woodborer of poplar (Populus Linnaeus; Salicaceae) in northeastern China. These two species can be distinguished morphologically as O. fleischeri has five tarsomeres and O. saimaensis has four tarsomeres. Although O. saimaensis is morphologically similar to its sympatric congener O. agrili Zhang and Hang, 2005, an important natural enemy of the invasive emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, 1888, molecular phylogenetics and morphological data indicate that they are distinct species. Phylogenetic relationships among the new species and other closely related species are also inferred by using DNA sequence data from several ribosomal and mitochondrial genes. In addition, we expand the known distribution of Oobius primorskyensis Yao and Duan, 2016 to include South Korea.
Exercise during pregnancy has beneficial effects on maternal and offspring’s health in humans and mice. The underlying mechanisms remain unclear. This comparative study aimed to determine the long-term effects of an exercise program on metabolism, weight gain, body composition and changes in hormones [insulin, leptin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)]. Pregnant women (n=34) and mouse dams (n=44) were subjected to an exercise program compared with matched controls (period I). Follow-up in the offspring was performed over 6 months in humans, corresponding to postnatal day (P) 21 in mice (period II). Half of the mouse offspring was challenged with a high-fat diet (HFD) for 6 weeks between P70 and P112 (period III). In period I, exercise during pregnancy led to 6% lower fat content, 40% lower leptin levels and an increase of 50% BDNF levels in humans compared with controls, which was not observed in mice. After period II in humans and mice, offspring body weight did not differ from that of the controls. Further differences were observed in period III. Offspring of exercising mouse dams had significantly lower fat mass and leptin levels compared with controls. In addition, at P112, BDNF levels in offspring were significantly higher from exercising mothers while this effect was completely blunted by HFD feeding. In this study, we found comparable effects on maternal and offspring’s weight gain in humans and mice but different effects in insulin, leptin and BDNF. The long-term potential protective effects of exercise on biomarkers should be examined in human studies.
Poor physiological self-regulation has been proposed as a potential biological vulnerability for adolescent suicidality. This study tested this hypothesis by examining the effect of parasympathetic stress responses on future suicide ideation. In addition, drawing from multilevel developmental psychopathology theories, the interplay between parasympathetic regulation and friendship support, conceptualized as an external source of regulation, was examined. At baseline, 132 adolescent females (M age = 14.59, SD = 1.39) with a history of mental health concerns participated in an in vivo interpersonal stressor (a laboratory speech task) and completed self-report measures of depressive symptoms and perceived support within a close same-age female friendship. Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) was measured before and during the speech task. Suicide ideation was assessed at baseline and at 3, 6, and 9 months follow-up. The results revealed that females with greater relative RSA decreases to the laboratory stressor were at higher risk for reporting suicide ideation over the subsequent 9 months. Moreover, parasympathetic responses moderated the effect of friendship support on suicide ideation; among females with mild changes or higher relative increases in RSA, but not more pronounced RSA decreases, friendship support reduced risk for future suicide ideation. Findings highlight the crucial role of physiological and external regulation sources as protective factors for youth suicidality.
Most patients born with CHD nowadays reach adulthood, and thus quality of life, life situation, and state of medical care aspects are gaining importance in the current era. The present study aimed to investigate whether patients’ assessment depends on their means of occupation. The findings are expected to be helpful in optimising care and for developing individual treatment plans.
The present study was based on an online survey conducted in cooperation with patient organisations. Participants were recruited from the database of the German National Register for Congenital Heart Defects. In total, 1828 individuals (777 males, 1051 females) took part. Participants were asked to rate aspects such their state of health on a six-tier scale (1=worst specification). Response behaviour was measured against the background of occupational details.
Training for or pursuing a profession was found to be significantly associated with participants’ rating of five of the six examined aspects (p<0.05). Sex seemed to play an important part in four of the six aspects.
An optimal treatment plan for adults with CHD should always consider aspects such as sex and employment status. To work out such an optimal and individual treatment plan for each adult CHD patient, an objective tool to measure patients’ actual CHD-specific knowledge precluding socially accepted response bias would be very useful.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
First rank symptoms (FRS) of schizophrenia have been used for decades for diagnostic purposes. In the new version of the DSM-5, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has abolished any further reference to FRS of schizophrenia and treats them like any other “criterion A” symptom (e.g. any kind of hallucination or delusion) with regard to their diagnostic implication. The ICD-10 is currently under revision and may follow suit. In this review, we discuss central points of criticism that are directed against the continuous use of first rank symptoms (FRS) to diagnose schizophrenia.
We describe the specific circumstances in which Schneider articulated his approach to schizophrenia diagnosis and discuss the relevance of his approach today. Further, we discuss anthropological and phenomenological aspects of FRS and highlight the importance of self-disorder (as part of FRS) for the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Finally, we will conclude by suggesting that the theory and rationale behind the definition of FRS is still important for psychopathological as well as neurobiological approaches today.
Results of a pivotal meta-analysis and other studies show relatively poor sensitivity, yet relatively high specificity for FRS as diagnostic marker for schizophrenia. Several methodological issues impede a systematic assessment of the usefulness of FRS in the diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, there is good evidence that FRS may still be useful to differentiate schizophrenia from somatic causes of psychotic states. This may be particularly important in countries or situations with little access to other diagnostic tests. FRS may thus still represent a useful aid for clinicians in the diagnostic process.
In conclusion, we suggest to continue a tradition of careful clinical observation and fine-grained psychopathological assessment, including a focus on symptoms regarding self-disorders, which reflects a key aspect of psychosis. We suggest that the importance of FRS may indeed be scaled down to a degree that the occurrence of a single FRS alone should not suffice to diagnose schizophrenia, but, on the other hand, absence of FRS should be regarded as a warning sign that the diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder is not warranted and requires specific care to rule out other causes, particularly neurological and other somatic disorders. With respect to the current stage of the development of ICD-11, we appreciate the fact that self-disorders are explicitly mentioned (and distinguished from delusions) in the list of mandatory symptoms but still feel that delusional perceptions and complex hallucinations as defined by Schneider should be distinguished from delusions or hallucinations of “any kind”. Finally, we encourage future research to explore the psychopathological context and the neurobiological correlates of self-disorders as a potential phenotypic trait marker of schizophrenia.
Ketamine and non-ketamine N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonists (NMDAR antagonists) recently demonstrated antidepressant efficacy for the treatment of refractory depression, but effect sizes, trajectories and possible class effects are unclear.
We searched PubMed/PsycINFO/Web of Science/clinicaltrials.gov until 25 August 2015. Parallel-group or cross-over randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing single intravenous infusion of ketamine or a non-ketamine NMDAR antagonist v. placebo/pseudo-placebo in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and/or bipolar depression (BD) were included in the analyses. Hedges’ g and risk ratios and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using a random-effects model. The primary outcome was depressive symptom change. Secondary outcomes included response, remission, all-cause discontinuation and adverse effects.
A total of 14 RCTs (nine ketamine studies: n = 234; five non-ketamine NMDAR antagonist studies: n = 354; MDD = 554, BD = 34), lasting 10.0 ± 8.8 days, were meta-analysed. Ketamine reduced depression significantly more than placebo/pseudo-placebo beginning at 40 min, peaking at day 1 (Hedges' g = −1.00, 95% CI −1.28 to −0.73, p < 0.001), and loosing superiority by days 10–12. Non-ketamine NMDAR antagonists were superior to placebo only on days 5–8 (Hedges' g = −0.37, 95% CI −0.66 to −0.09, p = 0.01). Compared with placebo/pseudo-placebo, ketamine led to significantly greater response (40 min to day 7) and remission (80 min to days 3–5). Non-ketamine NMDAR antagonists achieved greater response at day 2 and days 3–5. All-cause discontinuation was similar between ketamine (p = 0.34) or non-ketamine NMDAR antagonists (p = 0.94) and placebo. Although some adverse effects were more common with ketamine/NMDAR antagonists than placebo, these were transient and clinically insignificant.
A single infusion of ketamine, but less so of non-ketamine NMDAR antagonists, has ultra-rapid efficacy for MDD and BD, lasting for up to 1 week. Development of easy-to-administer, repeatedly given NMDAR antagonists without risk of brain toxicity is of critical importance.
To investigate natural enemies of emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), in northeastern China, we conducted field surveys of ash (Fraxinus Linnaeus (Oleaceae)) trees in semi-natural forests and plantations at variable EAB densities from 2008 to 2013. Our surveys revealed a complex of natural enemies including eight hymenopteran parasitoids and two apparently parasitic Coleoptera, woodpeckers, and several undetermined mortality factors. Parasitoid complex abundance and its contribution to EAB mortality varied with the time of year, type of ash stands, and geographic regions. The egg parasitoid Oobius agrili Zhang and Huang (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) and the larval parasitoid Tetrastichus planipennisi Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) were frequently observed in Jilin, Liaoning, and Heilongjiang provinces and in Beijing, but not in Tianjin. Spathius agrili Yang (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), however, was more prevalent near Beijing and further south in Tianjin. Larvae of two species of apparently parasitic beetle, Tenerus Laporte (Coleoptera: Cleridae) species and Xenoglena quadrisignata Mannerheim (Coleoptera: Trogossitidae), were also recovered attacking overwintering EAB in Liaoning Province, with Tenerus species being a dominant mortality agent (~13%). Our findings support the need to consider the geographic origin of insect natural enemies for EAB biocontrol, as well as an expanded foreign exploration for EAB natural enemies throughout its native range in Asia.