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The otoliths (ear stones) of fishes are commonly used to describe the age and growth of marine and freshwater fishes. These non-skeletal structures are fortuitous in their utility by being composed of mostly inorganic carbonate that is inert through the life of the fish. This conserved record functions like an environmental chronometer and bomb-produced radiocarbon (14C)—a 14C signal created by atmospheric testing of thermonuclear devices—can be used as a time-specific marker in validating fish age. However, complications from the hydrogeology of nearshore marine environments can complicate 14C levels, as was the case with gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus) along the Gulf of Mexico coast of Florida. Radiocarbon of these nearshore waters is influenced by freshwater input from the karst topography of the Upper Floridan Aquifer—estuarine waters that are 14C-depleted from surface and groundwater inputs. Some gray snapper likely recruited to this kind of environment where 14C levels were depleted in the earliest otolith growth, although age was validated for individuals that were not exposed to 14C-depleted waters to an age of at least 25 years with support for a 30-year lifespan.
The effects of long-term antipsychotic medication on cognition in schizophrenia are unclear (Husa A.P. et al., Schizophr. Res. 2014).
Understanding how long-term antipsychotic treatment affects cognition is crucial for the development of safe, evidence-based treatment of schizophrenia.
To analyse the association between cumulative lifetime antipsychotic dose and cognition in schizophrenia at age 43 years in a general population sample.
Sixty (33 males) schizophrenia spectrum subjects from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 were assessed at age 43 years by California Verbal Learning Test, Visual Object Learning Test, Abstraction Inhibition and Working Memory task, Verbal fluency, Visual series, Vocabulary, Digit Span and Matrix reasoning. Cumulative lifetime antipsychotic dose-years were collected from treatment records and interviews. A factor analysis based on the cognitive tests resulted in one cognitive factor. The association between this cognitive composite score and antipsychotic dose-years was analysed by linear regression.
Higher lifetime antipsychotic dose-years were statistically significantly associated with poorer cognitive composite score at age 43 years (B=-0.32, p>0.001), also when adjusted for gender, onset age, remission and number of hospital treatment days (B=-0.42, p=0.008).
To our knowledge, this is the first report of an association between cumulative lifetime antipsychotic dose and cognition in midlife in schizophrenia. Based on this data, the use of high antipsychotic doses may relate to poorer cognitive functioning in schizophrenia after twenty years of illness. These results do not support the view that antipsychotics prevent cognitive decline or promote cognitive recovery in schizophrenia.
Cognitive deficits, such as verbal memory dysfunction, are a core feature of schizophrenia. Yet the longitudinal course and associations of cognitive deficits with antipsychotic medication remain unclear.
Our aim was to analyze how lifetime antipsychotic dosage associates with the change of verbal learning and memory in individuals with schizophrenia during a 9-year follow-up.
Forty-two subjects with schizophrenic psychoses (22 males) from the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort went through diagnostic interviews and cognitive assessment including California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) at the ages of 34 and 43 years. Data of the subjects’ lifetime antipsychotic doses in chlorpromazine equivalents were collected from patient history records, interviews and national registers. The association between verbal learning and memory (immediate free recall of trials 1-5 and free recall after long delay) and dose-years of antipsychotics was analyzed by logistic regression model.
Higher dose-years of any and typical antipsychotics, but not atypical antipsychotics, associated statistically significantly to worse verbal learning and memory in cross-sectional analyses at age 34 years, even when onset age, sex, and severity of symptoms were controlled for. However, there was no statistically significant association between lifetime antipsychotic use and verbal learning and memory change between ages 34 and 43 years.
High lifetime antipsychotic dose did not associate to decrease in verbal learning and memory in schizophrenia in 9 years of follow-up. To our knowledge, this is a first report on association between cumulative lifetime antipsychotic use and change in cognition in a long-term naturalistic follow-up.
Higher lifetime antipsychotic exposure has been associated with poorer cognition in schizophrenia. The cognitive effects of adjunctive psychiatric medications and lifetime trends of antipsychotic use remain largely unclear. We aimed to study how lifetime and current benzodiazepine and antidepressant medications, lifetime trends of antipsychotic use and antipsychotic polypharmacy are associated with cognitive performance in midlife schizophrenia.
Sixty participants with DSM-IV schizophrenia from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 were examined at 43 years of age with an extensive cognitive test battery. Cumulative lifetime and current use of psychiatric medications were collected from medical records and interviews. The associations between medication and principal component analysis-based cognitive composite score were analysed using linear regression.
Lifetime cumulative DDD years of benzodiazepine and antidepressant medications were not significantly associated with global cognition. Being without antipsychotic medication (for minimum 11 months) before the cognitive examination was associated with better cognitive performance (P = 0.007) and higher lifetime cumulative DDD years of antipsychotics with poorer cognition (P = 0.020), when adjusted for gender, onset age and lifetime hospital treatment days. Other lifetime trends of antipsychotic use, such as a long antipsychotic-free period earlier in the treatment history, and antipsychotic polypharmacy, were not significantly associated with cognition.
Based on these naturalistic data, low exposure to adjunctive benzodiazepine and antidepressant medications does not seem to affect cognition nor explain the possible negative effects of high dose long-term antipsychotic medication on cognition in schizophrenia.
To characterise subjective symptoms in patients undergoing surgical repair of superior semicircular canal dehiscence.
Questionnaires assessing symptom severity and impact on function and quality of life were administered to patients before superior semicircular canal dehiscence surgery, between June 2011 and March 2016. Questionnaire sections included general quality of life, internal amplified sounds, dizziness and tinnitus, with scores of 0–100 points.
Twenty-three patients completed the questionnaire before surgery. Section scores (mean±standard deviation) were: 38.2 ± 25.2 for general quality of life, 52.5 ± 23.9 for internal amplified sounds, 35.1 ± 28.8 for dizziness, 33.3 ± 30.7 for tinnitus, and 39.8 ± 22.2 for the composite score. Cronbach's α statistic averaged 0.93 (range, 0.84–0.97) across section scores, and 0.83 for the composite score.
The Gopen–Yang Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence Questionnaire provides a holistic, patient-centred characterisation of superior semicircular canal dehiscence symptoms. Internal consistency analysis validated the questionnaire and provided a quantitative framework for further optimisation in the clinical setting.
A robust biomedical informatics infrastructure is essential for academic health centers engaged in translational research. There are no templates for what such an infrastructure encompasses or how it is funded. An informatics workgroup within the Clinical and Translational Science Awards network conducted an analysis to identify the scope, governance, and funding of this infrastructure. After we identified the essential components of an informatics infrastructure, we surveyed informatics leaders at network institutions about the governance and sustainability of the different components. Results from 42 survey respondents showed significant variations in governance and sustainability; however, some trends also emerged. Core informatics components such as electronic data capture systems, electronic health records data repositories, and related tools had mixed models of funding including, fee-for-service, extramural grants, and institutional support. Several key components such as regulatory systems (e.g., electronic Institutional Review Board [IRB] systems, grants, and contracts), security systems, data warehouses, and clinical trials management systems were overwhelmingly supported as institutional infrastructure. The findings highlighted in this report are worth noting for academic health centers and funding agencies involved in planning current and future informatics infrastructure, which provides the foundation for a robust, data-driven clinical and translational research program.
Recurrent affective problems are predictive of cognitive impairment, but
the timing and directionality, and the nature of the cognitive
impairment, are unclear.
To test prospective associations between life-course affective symptoms
and cognitive function in late middle age.
A total of 1668 men and women were drawn from the Medical Research
Council National Survey of Health and Development (the British 1946 birth
cohort). Longitudinal affective symptoms spanning age 13–53 years served
as predictors; outcomes consisted of self-reported memory problems at
60–64 years and decline in memory and information processing from age 53
to 60–64 years.
Regression analyses revealed no clear pattern of association between
longitudinal affective symptoms and decline in cognitive test scores,
after adjusting for gender, childhood cognitive ability, education and
midlife socioeconomic status. In contrast, affective symptoms were
strongly, diffusely and independently associated with self-reported
Affective symptoms are more clearly associated with self-reported memory
problems in late midlife than with objectively measured cognitive
Large scale, international clinical trials are formidable challenges, but they are the most effective means of answering important clinical questions in a definitive, generalizable manner. They require adequate funding and must be rigorously conducted. Much can be gleaned from such studies, which address the important research questions and provide answers to related questions. Such trials are enormously rewarding and are worth the expense and effort.
Lower cognitive ability in childhood is associated with increased risk of
future schizophrenia, but its relationship with adult psychotic-like
experiences and other psychopathology is less understood.
To investigate whether this childhood risk factor is shared with adult
subclinical psychiatric phenotypes including psychotic-like experiences
and general psychiatric morbidity.
A population-based sample of participants born in Great Britain during 1
week in March 1946 was contacted up to 20 times between ages 6 weeks and
53 years. Cognition was assessed at ages 8, 11 and 15 years using a
composite of age-appropriate verbal and non-verbal cognitive tests. At
age 53 years, psychotic-like experiences were self-reported by 2918
participants using four items from the Psychosis Screening Questionnaire
and general psychiatric morbidity was assessed using the scaled version
of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28).
Psychotic-like experiences were reported by 22% of participants, and were
highly comorbid with other psychopathology. Their presence in adults was
significantly associated with poorer childhood cognitive test scores at
ages 8 and 15 years, and marginally so at age 11 years. In contrast, high
GHQ scores were not associated with poorer childhood cognition after
adjustment for the presence of psychotic-like experiences.
Psychotic and non-psychotic psychopathologic symptoms are highly comorbid
in the general population. Lower childhood cognitive ability is a risk
factor for psychotic-like experiences in mid-life; these phenomena may be
one end of a continuum of phenotypic expression driven by variation in
The aim of this study was to estimate the amount of childhood hepatitis B virus transmission in children born in the UK, a very low-prevalence country, that is preventable only by universal hepatitis B immunization of infants. Oral fluid specimens were collected from schoolchildren aged 7–11 years in four inner city multi-ethnic areas and tested for the presence of antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc). Those found positive or indeterminate were followed up with testing on serum to confirm their hepatitis B status. The overall prevalence of anti-HBc in children was low [0·26%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·14–0·44]. The estimated average annual incidence of hepatitis B was estimated to be 29·26/100 000 children (95% CI 16·00–49·08). The total incidence that is preventable only by a universal infant immunization programme in the UK was estimated to be between 5·00 and 12·49/100 000. The study demonstrates that the extent of horizontal childhood hepatitis B virus transmission is low in children born in the UK and suggests that schools in the UK are an uncommon setting for the transmission of the virus. Targeted hepatitis B testing and immunization of migrants from intermediate- and high-prevalence countries is likely to be a more effective measure to reduce childhood transmission than a universal infant immunization programme.
Ventilator-associated pneumonias (VAPs) are a worldwide problem that significantly increases patient morbidity, mortality, and length of stay (LoS), and their effects should be estimated to account for the timing of infection. The purpose of the study was to estimate extra LoS and mortality in an intensive-care unit (ICU) due to a VAP in a cohort of 69 248 admissions followed for 283 069 days in ICUs from 10 countries. Data were arranged according to the multi-state format. Extra LoS and increased risk of death were estimated independently in each country, and their results were combined using a random-effects meta-analysis. VAP prolonged LoS by an average of 2·03 days (95% CI 1·52–2·54 days), and increased the risk of death by 14% (95% CI 2–27). The increased risk of death due to VAP was explained by confounding with patient morbidity.
Some personality characteristics have previously been associated with an increased risk for psychiatric disorder. Longitudinal studies are required in order to tease apart temporary (state) and enduring (trait) differences in personality among individuals with bipolar disorder (BD). This study aimed to determine whether there is a characteristic personality profile in BD, and whether associations between BD and personality are best explained by state or trait effects.
A total of 2247 participants in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder study completed the NEO Five-Factor Inventory administered at study entry, and at 1 and 2 years.
Personality in BD was characterized by high neuroticism (N) and openness (O), and low agreeableness (A), conscientiousness (C) and extraversion (E). This profile was replicated in two independent samples, and openness was found to distinguish BD from major depressive disorder. Latent growth modeling demonstrated that manic symptoms were associated with increased E and decreased A, and depressed symptoms with higher N and lower E, A, C and O. During euthymic phases, high N and low E scores predicted a future depression-prone course.
While there are clear state effects of mood on self-reported personality, personality variables during euthymia predict future course of illness. Personality disturbances in extraversion, neuroticism and openness may be enduring characteristics of patients with BD.
In 1994 a Texas prison containing a population of mentally retarded inmates experienced a large tuberculosis outbreak. Fifteen cases of tuberculosis were identified (8 confirmed by positive cultures for Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and more than 100 inmates became infected. The culture-confirmed patients were infected with an identical strain of tuberculosis as demonstrated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based DNA fingerprinting technique. The prison followed standard tuberculosis infection control policies, but these controls were inadequate to prevent tuberculosis transmission in this special population. Two hundred and thirty inmates (119 inmates showing evidence of new tuberculosis infection or active disease and 111 healthy controls) were enrolled in the investigation. Inmate cell assignments, job duties, and educational classes were identified and medical chart reviews were conducted on all inmates. Tuberculosis transmission was associated with residing on the D Wing of the prison (OR = 25·84, P < 0·01), attending school in Classroom A (OR = 8·34, P = 0·01) and working on the prison utility work crew (OR = 2·52, P < 0·01). The index case in the outbreak had been prescribed 6 months of isoniazid (INH) chemoprophylaxis in 1988.