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rTMS is an emerging treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) refractory to medications and psychotherapy. The conventional target for rTMS in MDD is the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). However, convergent evidence from lesion, stimulation, and neuroimaging studies suggests that the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC) may play a more central role in emotion regulation. We have recently demonstrated robust and potentially superior antidepressant properties for excitatory rTMS of the DMPFC. However, one of the enduring limitations of rTMS is the long duration of each treatment session under conventional protocols, which require ~40 minutes per day over 20-30 sessions for maximum efficacy using conventional 10 Hz stimulation. More recent studies have suggested that theta-burst stimulation (TBS) protocols can achieve stronger and more durable effects in markedly less time. Intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS) generates robust and long-lasting excitatory effects with 600 pulses over ~3 min. Pilot studies have previously reported antidepressant effects with TBS over the DLPFC. However, TBS over the DMPFC has not previously been studied. Here we report robust antidepressant effects for a 7 min course of iTBS, administered bilaterally over the DMPFC with MRI-guidance at 120% resting motor threshold, over 20-30 sessions, in an open-label series of 40 patients with refractory MDD. Safety, efficacy, and tolerability are comparable to a 10 Hz rTMS protocol requiring 30-40 min of treatment. iTBS of the DMPFC may effectively reduce the duration (and cost) of rTMS >4-fold, thus increasing patient capacity per clinic and improving the overall accessibility of rTMS in refractory MDD.
Salmonella enterica serovar Wangata (S. Wangata) is an important cause of endemic salmonellosis in Australia, with human infections occurring from undefined sources. This investigation sought to examine possible environmental and zoonotic sources for human infections with S. Wangata in north-eastern New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The investigation adopted a One Health approach and was comprised of three complimentary components: a case–control study examining human risk factors; environmental and animal sampling; and genomic analysis of human, animal and environmental isolates. Forty-eight human S. Wangata cases were interviewed during a 6-month period from November 2016 to April 2017, together with 55 Salmonella Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) controls and 130 neighbourhood controls. Indirect contact with bats/flying foxes (S. Typhimurium controls (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–6.48)) (neighbourhood controls (aOR 8.33, 95% CI 2.58–26.83)), wild frogs (aOR 3.65, 95% CI 1.32–10.07) and wild birds (aOR 6.93, 95% CI 2.29–21.00) were statistically associated with illness in multivariable analyses. S. Wangata was detected in dog faeces, wildlife scats and a compost specimen collected from the outdoor environments of cases’ residences. In addition, S. Wangata was detected in the faeces of wild birds and sea turtles in the investigation area. Genomic analysis revealed that S. Wangata isolates were relatively clonal. Our findings suggest that S. Wangata is present in the environment and may have a reservoir in wildlife populations in north-eastern NSW. Further investigation is required to better understand the occurrence of Salmonella in wildlife groups and to identify possible transmission pathways for human infections.
Unhealthy food and drink consumption is associated with a range of physical and mental health concerns. In response, public health policies have been developed targeting a reduction in obesity in particular. In the present commentary we argue that government–industry partnerships have reduced the effectiveness of resultant policies and explore why.
Perspectives of authors.
Populations in the UK; UK Government.
Industry involvement has presented three interrelated challenges for the UK Government: (i) balancing collaboration while maintaining appropriate distance from industry stakeholders; (ii) resultant production of ‘watertight’ and effective legislation or intervention; and (iii) actual or perceived limited sanctioning or bargaining power.
Industry involvement in public health policy making has led to weak action. Support with policy implementation (rather than development) and genuine ‘buy-in’ from industry could accelerate the pace of public health improvement.
An emerging recombinant norovirus GII.P16/GII.4 Sydney 2012 strain caused a gastroenteritis outbreak amongst attendees at a large health function in regional New South Wales, Australia. This was the third outbreak caused by the recombinant GII.P16/GII.4 Sydney 2012 strain in this region in 2017, which appears to be emerging as a common strain in the Hunter New England region.
Previous studies have demonstrated that several major psychiatric disorders are influenced by shared genetic factors. This shared liability may influence clinical features of a given disorder (e.g. severity, age at onset). However, findings have largely been limited to European samples; little is known about the consistency of shared genetic liability across ethnicities.
The relationship between polygenic risk for several major psychiatric diagnoses and major depressive disorder (MDD) was examined in a sample of unrelated Han Chinese women. Polygenic risk scores (PRSs) were generated using European discovery samples and tested in the China, Oxford, and VCU Experimental Research on Genetic Epidemiology [CONVERGE (maximum N = 10 502)], a sample ascertained for recurrent MDD. Genetic correlations between discovery phenotypes and MDD were also assessed. In addition, within-case characteristics were examined.
European-based polygenic risk for several major psychiatric disorder phenotypes was significantly associated with the MDD case status in CONVERGE. Risk for clinically significant indicators (neuroticism and subjective well-being) was also associated with case–control status. The variance accounted for by PRS for both psychopathology and for well-being was similar to estimates reported for within-ethnicity comparisons in European samples. However, European-based PRS were largely unassociated with CONVERGE family history, clinical characteristics, or comorbidity.
The shared genetic liability across severe forms of psychopathology is largely consistent across European and Han Chinese ethnicities, with little attenuation of genetic signal relative to within-ethnicity analyses. The overall absence of associations between PRS for other disorders and within-MDD variation suggests that clinical characteristics of MDD may arise due to contributions from ethnicity-specific factors and/or pathoplasticity.
Prior research consistently demonstrates that neuroticism increases risk for suicidal ideation, but the association between neuroticism and suicidal behavior has been inconsistent. Whereas neuroticism is recommended as an endophenotype for suicidality, the association of neuroticism with attempted suicide warrants clarification. In particular, prior research has not distinguished between correlates of attempted suicide, correlates of suicidal ideation, and correlates of comorbid psychopathology.
The present study used the CONVERGE study, a sample of 5864 women with major depressive disorder (MD) and 5783 women without MD throughout China. Diagnoses, suicidal ideation, and attempted suicide were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Neuroticism was assessed with the neuroticism portion of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire.
Results replicate prior findings on the correlates of suicidal ideation, particularly elevated neuroticism among individuals who report prior suicidal ideation. Moreover, as compared with individuals who reported having experienced only suicidal ideation, neuroticism was associated with decreased likelihood of having attempted suicide.
The association of neuroticism with suicidality is more complicated than has been previously described. Whereas neuroticism increases risk for suicidal ideation, neuroticism may decrease risk for a suicide attempt among individuals with suicidal ideation. These results have implications for the assessment of risk for a suicide attempt among individuals who report suicidal ideation and addresses prior discordant findings by clarifying the association between neuroticism and attempted suicide.
The walnut twig beetle (WTB), Pityophthorus juglandis Blackman (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), vectors a fungus, Geosmithia morbida Kolařík, Freeland, Utley, and Tisserat (Ascomycota: Hypocreales), which colonises and kills the phloem of walnut and butternut trees, Juglans Linnaeus (Juglandaceae). Over the past two decades, this condition, known as thousand cankers disease (TCD), has led to the widespread mortality of Juglans species in the United States of America. Recently the beetle and pathogen were discovered on several Juglans species in northern Italy. Little is known about the extra-generic extent of host acceptability and suitability for the WTB. We report the occurrence of both the WTB and G. morbida in three species of wingnut, Pterocarya fraxinifolia Spach, Pterocarya rhoifolia Siebold and Zuccarini, and Pterocarya stenoptera de Candolle (Juglandaceae) growing in the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, National Clonal Germplasm Repository collection in northern California (NCGR) and in the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in southern California, United States of America. In two instances (once in P. stenoptera and once in P. fraxinifolia) teneral (i.e., brood) adult WTB emerged and were collected more than four months after infested branch sections had been collected in the field. Koch’s postulates were satisfied with an isolate of G. morbida from P. stenoptera, confirming this fungus as the causal agent of TCD in this host. A survey of the 37 Pterocarya Kunth accessions at the NCGR revealed that 46% of the trees had WTB attacks and/or symptoms of G. morbida infection. The occurrence of other subcortical Coleoptera associated with Pterocarya and the first occurrence of the polyphagous shot hole borer, a species near Euwallacea fornicatus Eichhoff (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), in Juglans are also documented.
Do DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for major depression (MD) in Chinese and Western women perform in a similar manner?
The CONVERGE study included interview-based assessments of women of Han Chinese descent with treated recurrent MD. Using Mplus software, we investigated the overall degree of between-sample measurement invariance (MI) for DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for MD in the CONVERGE sample and samples selected from four major Western studies from the USA and Europe matched to the inclusion criteria of CONVERGE. These analyses were performed one pair at a time. We then compared the results from CONVERGE paired with Western samples to those obtained when examining levels of MI between pairs of the Western samples.
Assuming a single factor model for the nine diagnostic criteria for MD, the level of MI based on global fit indexes observed between the CONVERGE and the four Western samples was very similar to that seen between the Western samples. Comparable results were obtained when using a two-factor structure for MI testing when applied to the 14 diagnostic criteria for MD disaggregated for weight, appetite, sleep, and psychomotor changes.
Despite differences in language, ethnicity and culture, DSM criteria for MD perform similarly in Chinese women with recurrent MD and comparable subjects from the USA and Europe. The DSM criteria for MD may assess depressive symptoms that are relatively insensitive to cultural and ethnic differences. These results support efforts to compare findings from depressed patients in China and Western countries.
The gut microbiota and its metabolic products interact with the host in many different ways, influencing gut homoeostasis and health outcomes. The species composition of the gut microbiota has been shown to respond to dietary change, determined by competition for substrates and by tolerance of gut conditions. Meanwhile, the metabolic outputs of the microbiota, such as SCFA, are influenced both by the supply of dietary components and via diet-mediated changes in microbiota composition. There has been significant progress in identifying the phylogenetic distribution of pathways responsible for formation of particular metabolites among human colonic bacteria, based on combining cultural microbiology and sequence-based approaches. Formation of butyrate and propionate from hexose sugars, for example, can be ascribed to different bacterial groups, although propionate can be formed via alternative pathways from deoxy-sugars and from lactate by a few species. Lactate, which is produced by many gut bacteria in pure culture, can also be utilised by certain Firmicutes to form butyrate, and its consumption may be important for maintaining a stable community. Predicting the impact of diet upon such a complex and interactive system as the human gut microbiota not only requires more information on the component groups involved but, increasingly, the integration of such information through modelling approaches.
Organic agricultural systems increase the complexity of weed management, leading organic farmers to cite weeds as one of the greatest barriers to organic production. Integrated Weed Management (IWM) systems have been developed to address the ecological implications of weeds and weed management in cropping systems, but adoption is minimal. Organic agriculture offers a favorable context for application of IWM, as both approaches are motivated by concern for environmental quality and agricultural sustainability. However, adoption of IWM on organic farms is poorly understood due to limited data on weed management practices used, absence of an IWM adoption metric, and insufficient consideration given to the unique farming contexts within which weed management decisions are made. Therefore, this study aimed to (1) characterize organic weed management systems; (2) identify motivations for, and barriers to, selection of weed management practices; and (3) generate guiding principles for effective targeting of weed management outreach. We surveyed Midwestern organic growers to determine how specified psychosocial, demographic, and farm structure factors influence selection of weed management practices. Cluster analysis of the data detected three disparate, yet scaled, approaches to organic weed management. Clusters were distinguished by perspective regarding weeds and the number of weed management practices used. Categorization of individual farms within the identified approaches was influenced by primary farm products as well as farmer education, years farming, and information-seeking behavior. The proposed conceptual model allows weed management educators to target outreach for enhanced compatibility of farming contexts and weed management technologies.
Many studies have examined the efficacy of psychotherapy for major depressive disorder (MDD) but publication bias against null results may exist in this literature. However, to date, the presence of an excess of significant findings in this literature has not been explicitly tested.
We used a database of 1344 articles on the psychological treatment of depression, identified through systematic search in PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE and the Cochrane database of randomized trials. From these we identified 149 studies eligible for inclusion that provided 212 comparisons. We tested for an excess of significant findings using the method developed by Ioannidis and Trikalinos (2007), and compared the distribution of p values in this literature with the distribution in the antidepressant literature, where publication bias is known to be operating.
The average statistical power to detect the effect size indicated by the meta-analysis was 49%. A total of 123 comparisons (58%) reported a statistically significant difference between treatment and control groups, but on the basis of the average power observed, we would only have expected 104 (i.e. 49%) to do so. There was therefore evidence of an excess of significance in this literature (p = 0.010). Similar results were obtained when these analyses were restricted to studies including a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) arm. Finally, the distribution of p values for psychotherapy studies resembled that for published antidepressant studies, where publication bias against null results has already been established.
The small average size of individual psychotherapy studies is only sufficient to detect large effects. Our results indicate an excess of significant findings relative to what would be expected, given the average statistical power of studies of psychotherapy for major depression.
The straw itch mite, Pyemotes tritici Lagrèze-Fossat and Montané (Acari: Pyemotidae), was discovered parasitising the goldspotted oak borer, Agrilus auroguttatus Schaeffer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), an invasive exotic species to California, United States of America, and the Mexican goldspotted oak borer, Agrilus coxalis Waterhouse (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), during surveys for natural enemies for a classical biological control programme for A. auroguttatus. Pyemotes tritici caused low levels of mortality to each species of flatheaded borer, but it will likely not be a good candidate for a biological control programme because it is a generalist parasitoid with deleterious human health effects.
Despite substantial research, uncertainty remains about the clinical and etiological heterogeneity of major depression (MD). Can meaningful and valid subtypes be identified and would they be stable cross-culturally?
Symptoms at their lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years, with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed in Mplus.
Using the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria, the 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria and all independently assessed depressive symptoms (n = 27), the best LCA model identified respectively three, four and six classes. A severe and non-suicidal class was seen in all solutions, as was a mild/moderate subtype. An atypical class emerged once bidirectional neurovegetative symptoms were included. The non-suicidal class demonstrated low levels of worthlessness/guilt and hopelessness. Patterns of co-morbidity, family history, personality, environmental precipitants, recurrence and body mass index (BMI) differed meaningfully across subtypes, with the atypical class standing out as particularly distinct.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several detectable subtypes with distinct clinical and demographic correlates. Three subtypes were most consistently identified in our analyses: severe, atypical and non-suicidal. Severe and atypical MD have been identified in multiple prior studies in samples of European ethnicity. Our non-suicidal subtype, with low levels of guilt and hopelessness, may represent a pathoplastic variant reflecting Chinese cultural influences.
The symptoms of major depression (MD) are clinically diverse. Do they form coherent factors that might clarify the underlying nature of this important psychiatric syndrome?
Symptoms at lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatoryfactor analysis (CFA) were performed in Mplus in random split-half samples.
The preliminary EFA results were consistently supported by the findings from CFA. Analyses of the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria revealed two factors loading on: (i) general depressive symptoms; and (ii) guilt/suicidal ideation. Examining 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria revealed three factors reflecting: (i) weight/appetite disturbance; (ii) general depressive symptoms; and (iii) sleep disturbance. Using all symptoms (n = 27), we identified five factors that reflected: (i) weight/appetite symptoms; (ii) general retarded depressive symptoms; (iii) atypical vegetative symptoms; (iv) suicidality/hopelessness; and (v) symptoms of agitation and anxiety.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several underlying correlated symptom dimensions. In addition to a general depressive symptom factor, a complete picture must include factors reflecting typical/atypical vegetative symptoms, cognitive symptoms (hopelessness/suicidal ideation), and an agitated symptom factor characterized by anxiety, guilt, helplessness and irritability. Prior cross-cultural studies, factor analyses of MD in Western populations and empirical findings in this sample showing risk factor profiles similar to those seen in Western populations suggest that our results are likely to be broadly representative of the human depressive syndrome.