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Children of parents with mood and psychotic disorders are at elevated risk for a range of behavioral and emotional problems. However, as the usual reporter of psychopathology in children is the parent, reports of early problems in children of parents with mood and psychotic disorders may be biased by the parents' own experience of mental illness and their mental state.
Independent observers rated psychopathology using the Test Observation Form in 378 children and youth between the ages of 4 and 24 (mean = 11.01, s.d. = 4.40) who had a parent with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or no history of mood and psychotic disorders.
Observed attentional problems were elevated in offspring of parents with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia (effect sizes ranging between 0.31 and 0.56). Oppositional behavior and language/thought problems showed variable degrees of elevation (effect sizes 0.17 to 0.57) across the three high-risk groups, with the greatest difficulties observed in offspring of parents with bipolar disorder. Observed anxiety was increased in offspring of parents with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder (effect sizes 0.19 and 0.25 respectively) but not in offspring of parents with schizophrenia.
Our results suggest that externalizing problems and cognitive and language difficulties may represent a general manifestation of familial risk for mood and psychotic disorders, while anxiety may be a specific marker of liability for mood disorders. Observer assessment may improve early identification of risk and selection of youth who may benefit from targeted prevention.
A key task of the team leader in a medical emergency is effective information gathering. Studying information gathering patterns is readily accomplished with the use of gaze-tracking glasses. This technology was used to generate hypotheses about the relationship between performance scores and expert-hypothesized visual areas of interest in residents across scenarios in simulated medical resuscitation examinations.
Emergency medicine residents wore gaze-tracking glasses during two simulation-based examinations (n=29 and 13 respectively). Blinded experts assessed video-recorded performances using a simulation performance assessment tool that has validity evidence in this context. The relationships between gaze patterns and performance scores were analyzed and potential hypotheses generated. Four scenarios were assessed in this study: diabetic ketoacidosis, bradycardia secondary to beta-blocker overdose, ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm and metabolic acidosis caused by antifreeze ingestion.
Specific gaze patterns were correlated with objective performance. High performers were more likely to fixate on task-relevant stimuli and appropriately ignore task-irrelevant stimuli compared with lower performers. For example, shorter latency to fixation on the vital signs in a case of diabetic ketoacidosis was positively correlated with performance (r=0.70, p<0.05). Conversely, total time spent fixating on lab values in a case of ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm was negatively correlated with performance (r= −0.50, p<0.05).
There are differences between the visual patterns of high and low-performing residents. These findings may allow for better characterization of expertise development in resuscitation medicine and provide a framework for future study of visual behaviours in resuscitation cases.
The four main findings about the age and abundance structure of the Milky Way bulge based on microlensed dwarf and subgiant stars are: (1) a wide metallicity distribution with distinct peaks at [Fe/H] = -1.09, -0.63, -0.20, +0.12, +0.41; (2) a high fraction of intermediate-age to young stars where at [Fe/H] > 0 more than 35 % are younger than 8 Gyr, (3) several episodes of significant star formation in the bulge 3, 6, 8, and 11 Gyr ago; (4) the ‘knee’ in the α-element abundance trends of the sub-solar metallicity bulge appears to be located at a slightly higher [Fe/H] (about 0.05 to 0.1 dex) than in the local thick disk.
We examined longitudinally the course and predictors of treatment resistance in a large cohort of first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients from initiation of antipsychotic treatment. We hypothesized that antipsychotic treatment resistance is: (a) present at illness onset; and (b) differentially associated with clinical and demographic factors.
The study sample comprised 323 FEP patients who were studied at first contact and at 10-year follow-up. We collated clinical information on severity of symptoms, antipsychotic medication and treatment adherence during the follow-up period to determine the presence, course and predictors of treatment resistance.
From the 23% of the patients, who were treatment resistant, 84% were treatment resistant from illness onset. Multivariable regression analysis revealed that diagnosis of schizophrenia, negative symptoms, younger age at onset, and longer duration of untreated psychosis predicted treatment resistance from illness onset.
The striking majority of treatment-resistant patients do not respond to first-line antipsychotic treatment even at time of FEP. Clinicians must be alert to this subgroup of patients and consider clozapine treatment as early as possible during the first presentation of psychosis.
Out of hours, there is only one on-site junior doctor. First year psychiatry trainees (CT1s) and GP trainees may have no prior experience in psychiatry. On-call shifts are therefore potentially daunting for new trainees.
Expand the resources available for trainees when on-call.
We issued questionnaires to CT1s asking if they would have appreciated more information about on-call scenarios and in what format.
Based on the questionnaire results we implemented some changes. These were:
– a printed “pocket-guide” summarising common on-call scenarios;
– a training video on common on-call scenarios.
The handout was given to new trainees in February 2016 and in August 2016. The video was shown to new trainees in August 2016. Trainees provided feedback on the resources.
Of 24 CT1s, 15 (63%) were “neutral” or “disagreed” that they had felt prepared for on-calls.
CT1s wanted additional resources, especially a paper handout or phone download.
Feedback on the “pocket-guide” from trainees in February 2016 (n = 8) was positive (62.5% reported increased confidence in on-call situations). Feedback is also being collected from trainees who received the guide in August 2016.
Trainees in August 2016 (n = 36) liked the video – no trainees “disagreed” with statements asking if the video had been useful.
The video improved the confidence of trainees about on-call situations by an average of 2.8 points.
We have expanded available resources relating to on-calls and improved confidence. Further improvements would include making resources more easily available in downloadable formats.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Impairments in the attribution of salience are thought to be fundamental to the development of psychotic symptoms and the onset of psychotic disorders. The aim of the present study was to explore longitudinal alterations in salience processing in ultra-high-risk subjects for psychosis.
A total of 23 ultra-high-risk subjects and 13 healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging at two time points (mean interval of 17 months) while performing the Salience Attribution Test to assess neural responses to task-relevant (adaptive salience) and task-irrelevant (aberrant salience) stimulus features.
At presentation, high-risk subjects were less likely than controls to attribute salience to relevant features, and more likely to attribute salience to irrelevant stimulus features. These behavioural differences were no longer evident at follow-up. When attributing salience to relevant cue features, ultra-high-risk subjects showed less activation than controls in the ventral striatum at both baseline and follow-up. Within the high-risk sample, amelioration of abnormal beliefs over the follow-up period was correlated with an increase in right ventral striatum activation during the attribution of salience to relevant cue features.
These findings confirm that salience processing is perturbed in ultra-high-risk subjects for psychosis, that this is linked to alterations in ventral striatum function, and that clinical outcomes are related to longitudinal changes in ventral striatum function during salience processing.
Cannabis is a widely used drug associated with increased risk for psychosis. The dopamine hypothesis of psychosis postulates that altered salience processing leads to psychosis. We therefore tested the hypothesis that cannabis users exhibit aberrant salience and explored the relationship between aberrant salience and dopamine synthesis capacity.
We tested 17 cannabis users and 17 age- and sex-matched non-user controls using the Salience Attribution Test, a probabilistic reward-learning task. Within users, cannabis-induced psychotic symptoms were measured with the Psychotomimetic States Inventory. Dopamine synthesis capacity, indexed as the influx rate constant Kicer, was measured in 10 users and six controls with 3,4-dihydroxy-6-[18F]fluoro-l-phenylalanine positron emission tomography.
There was no significant difference in aberrant salience between the groups [F1,32 = 1.12, p = 0.30 (implicit); F1,32 = 1.09, p = 0.30 (explicit)]. Within users there was a significant positive relationship between cannabis-induced psychotic symptom severity and explicit aberrant salience scores (r = 0.61, p = 0.04) and there was a significant association between cannabis dependency/abuse status and high implicit aberrant salience scores (F1,15 = 5.8, p = 0.03). Within controls, implicit aberrant salience was inversely correlated with whole striatal dopamine synthesis capacity (r = −0.91, p = 0.01), whereas this relationship was non-significant within users (difference between correlations: Z = −2.05, p = 0.04).
Aberrant salience is positively associated with cannabis-induced psychotic symptom severity, but is not seen in cannabis users overall. This is consistent with the hypothesis that the link between cannabis use and psychosis involves alterations in salience processing. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether these cognitive abnormalities are pre-existing or caused by long-term cannabis use.
Clozapine remains the only evidence-based antipsychotic for treatment-resistant schizophrenia (TRS). The ability to predict which patients with their first onset of schizophrenia would subsequently meet criteria for treatment resistance (TR) could help to diminish the severe functional disability which may ensue if TR is not recognized and correctly treated.
This is a 5-year longitudinal assessment of clinical outcomes in a cohort of 246 first-episode schizophrenia spectrum patients recruited as part of the NIHR Genetics and Psychosis (GAP) study conducted in South London from 2005 to 2010. We examined the relationship between baseline demographic and clinical measures and the emergence of TR. TR status was determined from a review of electronic case records. We assessed for associations with early-, and late-onset TR, and non-TR, and differences between those TR patients treated with clozapine and those who were not.
Seventy per cent (n = 56) of TR patients, and 23% of the total study population (n = 246) were treatment resistant from illness onset. Those who met criteria for TR during the first 5 years of illness were more likely to have an early age of first contact for psychosis (<20 years) [odds ratio (OR) 2.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.25–4.94] compared to those with non-TR. The relationship between an early age of first contact (<20 years) and TR was significant in patients of Black ethnicity (OR 3.71, 95% CI 1.44–9.56); and patients of male gender (OR 3.13 95% CI 1.35–7.23).
For the majority of the TR group, antipsychotic TR is present from illness onset, necessitating increased consideration for the earlier use of clozapine.
Cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of developing a psychotic disorder but the temporal relationship between cannabis use and onset of illness is unclear. The objective of this study was to assess prospectively the influence of cannabis use on transition to psychosis in people at ultra-high risk (UHR) for the disorder.
Lifetime and continued cannabis use was assessed in a consecutively ascertained sample of 182 people (104 male, 78 female) at UHR for psychosis. Individuals were then followed clinically for 2 years to determine their clinical outcomes.
Lifetime cannabis use was reported by 134 individuals (73.6%). However, most of these individuals had stopped using cannabis before clinical presentation (n = 98, 73.1%), usually because of adverse effects. Among lifetime users, frequent use, early-onset use and continued use after presentation were all associated with an increase in transition to psychosis. Transition to psychosis was highest among those who started using cannabis before the age of 15 years and went on to use frequently (frequent early-onset use: 25%; infrequent or late-onset use: 5%; χ21 = 10.971, p = 0.001). However, within the whole sample, cannabis users were no more likely to develop psychosis than those who had never used cannabis (cannabis use: 12.7%; no use: 18.8%; χ21 = 1.061, p = 0.303).
In people at UHR for psychosis, lifetime cannabis use was common but not related to outcome. Among cannabis users, frequent use, early-onset use and continued use after clinical presentation were associated with transition to psychosis.
Polyurethanes are widely used, from medical devices to electrical materials to consumer goods. These materials have chemical stability issues which impact the mechanical stability. Infrared micro spectroscopy has been used to study polyurethane degradation, but due to experimental limitations, samples examined were no smaller than approximately 15 microns on a side. Because of the complex chemistry of urethanes, chemical examination of the material on a much higher spatial resolution scale would be valuable.
A relatively new technique, Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrochemical MicroImaging has been used to examine degraded polyester urethanes. Rather than using a single-element detector, a two dimensional array detector generates thousands of spectra simultaneously. In addition, a germanium prism generates a magnification effect; resulting in a significantly higher spatial resolution. The net output of the analysis is a hypercube of high resolution infrared spectra showing urethane degradation progression on a much smaller spatial scale than was previously possible.
Plasmon waveguide resonance (PWR) Raman spectroscopy provides chemical content information with interface or thin film selectivity. Near the plasmon waveguide interface, large increases in the interfacial optical energy density are generated at incident angles where plasmon waveguide resonances are excited. When a polymer of sufficient thickness is deposited on a gold film, the interface acts as a plasmon waveguide and large enhancements in the Raman signal can be achieved. This paper presents calculations to show how polymer thickness and excitation wavelength are predicted to influence PWR Raman spectroscopy measurements. The results show the optical energy density (OED) integrated over the entire polymer film using 785 nm excitation are 1.7× (400 nm film), 2.17× (500 nm film), 2.48× (600 nm film), 3.08× (700 nm film) and 3.62× (800 nm film) higher compared to a 300 nm film. Accounting for the integrated OED and frequency to the fourth power dependence of the Raman scatter, a 532 nm excitation wavelength is predicted to generate the largest PWR Raman signal at the polymer waveguide interface. This work develops a foundation for chemical measurements of numerous devices, such as solar energy capturing devices that utilize conducting metals coated with thin polymer films.
Depressive symptoms may increase the risk of progressing from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia. Consumption of n-3 PUFA may alleviate both cognitive decline and depression. The aim of the present study was to investigate the benefits of supplementing a diet with n-3 PUFA, DHA and EPA, for depressive symptoms, quality of life (QOL) and cognition in elderly people with MCI. We conducted a 6-month double-blind, randomised controlled trial. A total of fifty people aged >65 years with MCI were allocated to receive a supplement rich in EPA (1·67 g EPA+0·16 g DHA/d; n 17), DHA (1·55 g DHA+0·40 g EPA/d; n 18) or the n-6 PUFA linoleic acid (LA; 2·2 g/d; n 15). Treatment allocation was by minimisation based on age, sex and depressive symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale, GDS). Physiological and cognitive assessments, questionnaires and fatty acid composition of erythrocytes were obtained at baseline and 6 months (completers: n 40; EPA n 13, DHA n 16, LA n 11). Compared with the LA group, GDS scores improved in the EPA (P = 0·04) and DHA (P = 0·01) groups and verbal fluency (Initial Letter Fluency) in the DHA group (P = 0·04). Improved GDS scores were correlated with increased DHA plus EPA (r 0·39, P = 0·02). Improved self-reported physical health was associated with increased DHA. There were no treatment effects on other cognitive or QOL parameters. Increased intakes of DHA and EPA benefited mental health in older people with MCI. Increasing n-3 PUFA intakes may reduce depressive symptoms and the risk of progressing to dementia. This needs to be investigated in larger, depressed samples with MCI.
We present an X-ray diffraction study of a semiconductor symmetric tilt grain boundary. The theory of crystal truncation rod scattering is extended to bicrystal interfaces and compared with experimental data measured at the Diamond Light Source.
Cognitive models suggest that auditory verbal hallucinations arise through defective self-monitoring and the external attribution of inner speech. We used a paradigm that engages verbal self-monitoring (VSM) to examine whether this process is impaired in people experiencing prodromal symptoms, who have a very high risk of developing psychosis.
We tested 31 individuals with an At-Risk Mental State (ARMS) and 31 healthy volunteers. Participants read single adjectives aloud while the source and pitch of the online auditory verbal feedback was manipulated, then immediately identified the source of the speech they heard (Self/Other/Unsure). Response choice and reaction time were recorded.
When reading aloud with distorted feedback of their own voice, ARMS participants made more errors than controls (misidentifications and unsure responses). ARMS participants misidentified the source of their speech as ‘Other’ when the level of acoustic distortion was severe, and misidentification errors were inversely related to reaction times.
Impaired VSM is evident in people with an ARMS, although the deficit seems to be less marked than in patients with schizophrenia. Follow-up of these participants may clarify the extent to which the severity of this impairment predicts the subsequent onset of psychosis and development of positive symptoms.
Heart rate (HR) variability and large arterial compliance can be improved using fish oils. DHA, a component of fish oil, has cardiovascular health benefits, but its effect on HR variability (HRV) and arterial compliance is yet to be quantified. Sixty-seven overweight or obese adults (thirty-six males and thirty-one females; 53 (sem 2) year; BMI 31·7 (sem 1·1) kg/m2) were randomly allocated to consume either 6 g/d sunola oil (control; n 17), fish oil (260 mg DHA+60 mg EPA per g) at doses of 2 g/d (n 16), 4 g/d (n 17) or 6 g/d (n 17). Blood pressure, HR and compliance of large and small arteries were measured while supine at baseline and after 12 weeks in all participants, and HRV was assessed in a subgroup of forty-six participants. There was no effect of fish oil on blood pressure, small artery compliance or HR. However, the low frequency:high frequency ratio of HRV decreased with increasing doses of fish oil (r − 0·34, P = 0·02), while large artery compliance increased (r 0·34, P = 0·006). Moreover, the changes in these biomarkers were significantly correlated (r − 0·31, P = 0·04) and may reflect fish oil-induced improvements in arterial function and cardiac autonomic regulation.
CVD is associated with a cellular inflammatory/immune response. n-3 PUFA and moderate aerobic exercise independently alter cytokine production and leucocyte function. There is limited evidence for the combined effect of these treatments on immune function, particularly in patients with risk factors for CVD. We hypothesised that exercise would enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of n-3 PUFA. In a randomised, placebo-controlled study, fifty volunteers were allocated double-blind to consume either sunflower oil (6 g/d, placebo) or DHA-rich fish oil (6 g/d; about 2 g n-3 PUFA; 1·6 g DHA /d) for 12 weeks. Volunteers were further randomised to undertake regular exercise (walking 3 d/week for 45 min at 75 % of maximum heart rate) or maintain their usual physical activity for 12 weeks. Immune functions were assessed in blood taken initially and after 12 weeks. There was no effect on cytokine production by T cells and monocytes. Superoxide anion production from stimulated blood neutrophils was decreased by fish oil (19·5 (sem 8·5) %, P = 0·016) but not by exercise, and this change was negatively correlated with the incorporation of DHA into erythrocytes (r–0·385, P = 0·047). Participation in regular exercise maintained neutrophil bactericidal activity, which decreased in non-exercising subjects (2·9 (sem 0·7) %, P = 0·013). Neutrophil chemotaxis and adherence were not significantly affected by exercise, oil, or the combination of the two. Thus the combination of moderate exercise and fish-oil supplementation, which reduces cardiovascular risk, may also help to counteract inflammation.
Consumption of fish or fish oils rich in the n-3 long chain PUFA EPA and DHA may improve multiple risk factors for CVD. The objective of this study was to determine whether regular consumption of foods enriched with n-3 long-chain PUFA can improve n-3 long-chain PUFA status (erythrocytes) and cardiovascular health. Overweight volunteers with high levels of triacylglycerols (TG; >1·6 mmol/l) were enrolled in a 6-month dietary intervention trial conducted in Adelaide (n 47) and Perth (n 39), and randomised to consume control foods or n-3-enriched foods to achieve an EPA + DHA intake of 1 g/d. Test foods were substituted for equivalent foods in their regular diet. Erythrocyte fatty acids, plasma TG and other CVD risk factors were monitored at 0, 3 and 6 months. There were no significant differences between groups for blood pressure, arterial compliance, glucose, insulin, lipids, C-reactive protein (CRP) or urinary 11-dehydro-thromboxane B2 (TXB2) over 6 months, even though regular consumption of n-3-enriched foods increased EPA + DHA intake from 0·2 to 1·0 g/d. However, the n-3 long-chain PUFA content of erythrocytes increased by 35 and 53 % at 3 and 6 months, respectively, in subjects consuming the n-3-enriched foods. These increases were positively associated with measures of arterial compliance and negatively associated with serum CRP and urinary 11-dehydro-TXB2 excretion. Sustainable increases in dietary intakes and erythrocyte levels of n-3 long-chain PUFA can be achieved through regular consumption of suitably enriched processed foods. Such increases may be associated with reduced CV risk.