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Enabled by advances in high throughput genomic sequencing and an unprecedented level of global data sharing, molecular genetic research is beginning to unlock the biological basis of eating disorders. This invited review provides an overview of genetic discoveries in eating disorders in the genome-wide era. To date, five genome-wide association studies on eating disorders have been conducted – all on anorexia nervosa (AN). For AN, several risk loci have been detected, and ~11–17% of the heritability has been accounted for by common genetic variants. There is extensive genetic overlap between AN and psychological traits, especially obsessive-compulsive disorder, and intriguingly, with metabolic phenotypes even after adjusting for body mass index (BMI) risk variants. Furthermore, genetic risk variants predisposing to lower BMI may be causal risk factors for AN. Causal genes and biological pathways of eating disorders have yet to be elucidated and will require greater sample sizes and statistical power, and functional follow-up studies. Several studies are underway to recruit individuals with bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder to enable further genome-wide studies. Data collections and research labs focused on the genetics of eating disorders have joined together in a global effort with the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. Molecular genetics research in the genome-wide era is improving knowledge about the biology behind the established heritability of eating disorders. This has the potential to offer new hope for understanding eating disorder etiology and for overcoming the therapeutic challenges that confront the eating disorder field.
We performed a cross-sectional survey of infection preventionists in 60 US community hospitals between April 22 and May 8, 2020. Several differences in hospital preparedness for SARS-CoV-2 emerged with respect to personal protective equipment conservation strategies, protocols related to testing, universal masking, and restarting elective procedures.
Smoking rates in people with depression and anxiety are twice as high as in the general population, even though people with depression and anxiety are motivated to stop smoking. Most healthcare professionals are aware that stopping smoking is one of the greatest changes that people can make to improve their health. However, smoking cessation can be a difficult topic to raise. Evidence suggests that smoking may cause some mental health problems, and that the tobacco withdrawal cycle partly contributes to worse mental health. By stopping smoking, a person's mental health may improve, and the size of this improvement might be equal to taking antidepressants. In this article we outline ways in which healthcare professionals can compassionately and respectfully raise the topic of smoking to encourage smoking cessation. We draw on evidence-based methods such as cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) and outline approaches that healthcare professionals can use to integrate these methods into routine care to help their patients stop smoking.
The medium- to long-term consequences of COVID-19 are not yet known, though an increase in mental health problems are predicted. Multidisciplinary strategies across socio-economic and psychological levels may be needed to mitigate the mental health burden of COVID-19. Preliminary evidence from the rapidly progressing field of psychedelic science shows that psilocybin therapy offers a promising transdiagnostic treatment strategy for a range of disorders with restricted and maladaptive habitual patterns of cognition and behaviour, notably depression, addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder. The COMPASS Pathways (COMPASS) phase 2b double-blind trial of psilocybin therapy in antidepressant-free, treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is underway to determine the safety, efficacy and optimal dose of psilocybin. Results from the Imperial College London Psilodep-RCT comparing the efficacy and mechanisms of action of psilocybin therapy to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) escitalopram will soon be published. However, the efficacy and safety of psilocybin therapy in conjunction with SSRIs in TRD is not yet known. An additional COMPASS study, with a centre in Dublin, will begin to address this question, with potential implications for the future delivery of psilocybin therapy. While at a relatively early stage of clinical development, and notwithstanding the immense challenges of COVID-19, psilocybin therapy has the potential to play an important therapeutic role for various psychiatric disorders in post-COVID-19 clinical psychiatry.
Assessing impact of treatment from the patient perspective provides additional information about treatment efficacy in major depressive disorder (MDD) trials.
Pooled data from three identically designed clinical trials showed aripiprazole adjunctive to antidepressant therapy (ADT) was effective in treating MDD.1
Patients who completed an 8-week prospective ADT phase with inadequate response were randomized double-blind to 6-weeks adjunctive treatment with aripiprazole or placebo. The Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire-Short Form (Q-LES-Q-SF) is a 16-item, self-report measure to evaluate daily functioning, with higher scores indicating better satisfaction. Comparisons of mean change from baseline (Week 8) to Week 14 in Q-LES-Q-SF items and general subscores were performed using ANCOVA (LOCF).
There was significant improvement in the Q-LES-Q-SF Overall-General subscore (total of items 1-14 expressed as a percentage of the maximum possible score) in the aripiprazole-treatment group (9.49% [n=507]) vs placebo (5.71% [n=492] p< 0.001). Placebo was significantly higher than aripiprazole in Physical Ability (placebo 0.13 vs aripiprazole 0.02, p=0.020). Aripiprazole was significantly higher than placebo in all other items except Physical Health and Vision. Aripiprazole also produced significant increases in both the Satisfaction with Medication (Item 15) (aripiprazole 0.36 vs placebo 0.20, p< 0.01) and Overall Satisfaction (Item 16) (aripiprazole 0.61 vs placebo 0.35, p< 0.001) scores.
Results emphasize that assessment of patient functioning and quality of life may have utility both in clinical trials and clinical practice.2
To evaluate the efficacy of aripiprazole adjunctive antidepressant therapy (ADT) with regard to functioning in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who did not achieve an adequate response with standard ADT.
Pooled data were analyzed from three nearly identically designed randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials: CN138-139, CN138-163 and CN138-165. These included patients with MDD, without psychotic features, who had failed at least one ADT treatment in the present episode. Patients completing an 8-week prospective ADT phase with inadequate response were randomized to 6-weeks’ treatment with adjunctive aripiprazole (n=508) or placebo (n=494). Functioning was assessed using the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS). Comparisons of mean change from baseline in total SDS score, and domains of family life, social life and work/school were performed using ANCOVA.
Adjunctive aripiprazole produced significant improvements in total SDS (-1.2 on an adjusted scale of 1-10, with 10=worst level of functioning/1=best) vs adjunctive placebo (-0.7, p< 0.001). Adjunctive aripiprazole produced significant changes in the family life domain (-1.4 for adjunctive aripiprazole vs -0.7 for adjunctive placebo, p< 0.001) and the social life domain (-1.4 for adjunctive aripiprazole vs -0.7 for adjunctive placebo, p< 0.001). No difference between groups was observed on the work/school domain (-0.8 for adjunctive aripiprazole and -0.6 for adjunctive placebo, p=0.34).
Adjunctive aripiprazole showed significant improvements in overall SDS scores, and family and social life domains. Less change was observed in the work/school domain. The results emphasize that assessment of patient functioning may have utility both in clinical trials and clinical practice.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) contribute small increases in risk for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD). LOAD SNPs cluster around genes with similar biological functions (pathways). Polygenic risk scores (PRS) aggregate the effect of SNPs genome-wide. However, this approach has not been widely used for SNPs within specific pathways.
We investigated whether pathway-specific PRS were significant predictors of LOAD case/control status.
We mapped SNPs to genes within 8 pathways implicated in LOAD. For our polygenic analysis, the discovery sample comprised 13,831 LOAD cases and 29,877 controls. LOAD risk alleles for SNPs in our 8 pathways were identified at a P-value threshold of 0.5. Pathway-specific PRS were calculated in a target sample of 3332 cases and 9832 controls. The genetic data were pruned with R2 > 0.2 while retaining the SNPs most significantly associated with AD. We tested whether pathway-specific PRS were associated with LOAD using logistic regression, adjusting for age, sex, country, and principal components. We report the proportion of variance in liability explained by each pathway.
The most strongly associated pathways were the immune response (NSNPs = 9304, = 5.63 × 10−19, R2 = 0.04) and hemostasis (NSNPs = 7832, P = 5.47 × 10−7, R2 = 0.015). Regulation of endocytosis, hematopoietic cell lineage, cholesterol transport, clathrin and protein folding were also significantly associated but accounted for less than 1% of the variance. With APOE excluded, all pathways remained significant except proteasome-ubiquitin activity and protein folding.
Genetic risk for LOAD can be split into contributions from different biological pathways. These offer a means to explore disease mechanisms and to stratify patients.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Glucose intolerance during pregnancy – a major driver of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) – has significant short- and long-term health consequences for both the mother and child. As GDM prevalence continues to escalate, there is growing need for preventative strategies. There is limited but suggestive evidence that myo-inositol (MI) and probiotics (PB) could improve glucose tolerance during pregnancy. The present study tested the hypothesis that MI and/or PB supplementation would reduce the risk of glucose intolerance during pregnancy. Female C57BL/6 mice were randomised to receive either no treatment, MI, PB (Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis) or both (MIPB) for 5 weeks. They were then provided with a high-fat diet for 1 week before mating commenced and throughout mating/gestation, while remaining on their respective treatments. An oral glucose tolerance test occurred at gestational day (GD) 16·5 and tissue collection at GD 18·5. Neither MI nor PB, separately or combined, improved glucose tolerance. However, MI and PB both independently increased adipose tissue expression of Ir, Irs1, Akt2 and Pck1, and PB also increased Pparγ. MI was associated with reduced gestational weight gain, whilst PB was associated with increased maternal fasting glucose, total cholesterol and pancreas weight. These results suggest that MI and PB may improve insulin intracellular signalling in adipose tissue but this did not translate to meaningful differences in glucose tolerance. The absence of fasting hyperglycaemia or insulin resistance suggests this is a very mild model of GDM, which may have affected our ability to assess the impact of these nutrients.
The psychedelic research renaissance is gaining traction. Preliminary clinical studies of the hallucinogenic fungi, psilocybin, with psychological support, have indicated improvements in mood, anxiety and quality of life. A seminal, open-label study demonstrated marked reductions in depression symptoms in participants with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). The associated neurobiological processes involve alterations in brain connectivity, together with altered amygdala and default mode network activity. At the cellular level, psychedelics promote synaptogenesis and neural plasticity. Prompted by the promising preliminary studies, a randomized, double-blind trial has recently been launched across Europe and North America to investigate the efficacy of psilocybin in TRD. One of these centres is based in Ireland – CHO Area 7 and Tallaght University Hospital. The outcome of this trial will determine whether psilocybin with psychological support will successfully translate into the psychiatric clinic for the benefit of patients.
Medical residents are an important group for antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) to target with interventions aimed at improving antibiotic prescribing. In this study, we compared antimicrobial prescribing practices of 2 academic medical teams receiving different ASP training approaches along with a hospitalist control group.
Retrospective cohort study comparing guideline-concordant antibiotic prescribing for 3 common infections among a family medicine (FM) resident service, an internal medicine (IM) resident service, and hospitalists.
Community teaching hospital.
Adult patients admitted between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, with a discharge diagnosis of pneumonia, cellulitis, and urinary tract infections were reviewed.
All 3 medical teams received identical baseline ASP education and daily antibiotic prescribing audit with feedback via clinical pharmacists. The FM resident service received an additional layer of targeted ASP intervention that included biweekly stewardship-focused rounds with an ASP physician and clinical pharmacist leadership. Guideline-concordant prescribing was assessed based on the institution’s ASP guidelines.
Of 1,572 patients, 295 (18.8%) were eligible for inclusion (FM, 96; IM, 69; hospitalist, 130). The percentage of patients receiving guideline-concordant antibiotic selection empirically was similar between groups for all diagnoses (FM, 87.5%; IM, 87%; hospitalist, 83.8%; P = .702). No differences were observed in appropriate definitive antibiotic selection among groups (FM, 92.4%; IM, 89.1%; hospitalist, 89.9%; P = .746). The FM resident service was more likely to prescribe a guideline-concordant duration of therapy across all diagnoses (FM, 74%; IM, 56.5%; hospitalist, 44.6%; P < .001).
Adding dedicated stewardship-focused rounds into the graduate medical curriculum demonstrated increased guideline adherence specifically to duration of therapy recommendations.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Most current models of nonnative speech perception (e.g., extended perceptual assimilation model, PAM-L2, Best & Tyler, 2007; speech learning model, Flege, 1995; native language magnet model, Kuhl, 1993) base their predictions on the native/nonnative status of individual phonetic/phonological segments. This paper demonstrates that the phonotactic properties of Japanese influence the perception of natively contrasting consonants and suggests that phonotactic influence must be formally incorporated in these models. We first propose that by extending the perceptual categories outlined in PAM-L2 to incorporate sequences of sounds, we can account for the effects of differences in native and nonnative phonotactics on nonnative and cross-language segmental perception. In addition, we test predictions based on such an extension in two perceptual experiments. In Experiment 1, Japanese listeners categorized and rated vowel–consonant–vowel strings in combinations that either obeyed or violated Japanese phonotactics. The participants categorized phonotactically illegal strings to the perceptually nearest (legal) categories. In Experiment 2, participants discriminated the same strings in AXB discrimination tests. Our results show that Japanese listeners are more accurate and have faster response times when discriminating between legal strings than between legal and illegal strings. These findings expose serious shortcomings in currently accepted nonnative perception models, which offer no framework for the influence of native language phonotactics.
The American College of Cardiology Quality Network enables national benchmarking and collaborative quality improvement through vetted metrics. We describe here our initial experience with the Quality Network.
Quarterly data for metrics pertaining to chest pain, Kawasaki disease, tetralogy of Fallot, elevated body mass index, and others were shared with the collaboratives for benchmarking. National improvement efforts focussed on counselling for elevated body mass index and 22q11.2 testing in tetralogy of Fallot. Improvement strategies included developing multi-disciplinary workgroups, educational materials, and electronic health record advances.
Chest pain metric performance was high compared with national means: obtaining family history (90–100% versus 51–77%), electrocardiogram (100% versus 89–99%), and echocardiogram for exertional complaints (95–100% versus 74–96%). Kawasaki metric performance was high, including obtaining coronary measurements (100% versus 85–97%), prescribing aspirin (100% versus 86–99%), follow-up with imaging (100% versus 85–98%), and documenting no activity restriction without coronary aneurysms (83–100% versus 64–93%). Counselling for elevated body mass index was variable (25–75% versus 31–50%) throughout quality improvement efforts. Testing for 22q11.2 deletion in tetralogy of Fallot patients was consistently above the national mean (60–85% versus 54–68%) with improved genetics data capture.
The Quality Network promotes meaningful benchmarking and collaborative quality improvement. Our high performance for chest pain and Kawasaki metrics is likely related to previous improvement efforts in chest pain management and a dedicated Kawasaki team. Uptake of counselling for elevated body mass index is variable; stronger engagement among numerous providers is needed. Recommendations for 22q11.2 testing in tetralogy of Fallot were widely recognised and implemented.
To evaluate whole-genome sequencing (WGS) as a molecular typing tool for MRSA outbreak investigation.
Investigation of MRSA colonization/infection in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) over 3 years (2014–2017).
Single-center level IV NICU.
NICU infants and healthcare workers (HCWs).
Infants were screened for MRSA using a swab of the anterior nares, axilla, and groin, initially by targeted (ring) screening, and later by universal weekly screening. Clinical cultures were collected as indicated. HCWs were screened once using swabs of the anterior nares. MRSA isolates were typed using WGS with core-genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST) analysis and by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Colonized and infected infants and HCWs were decolonized. Control strategies included reinforcement of hand hygiene, use of contact precautions, cohorting, enhanced environmental cleaning, and remodeling of the NICU.
We identified 64 MRSA-positive infants: 53 (83%) by screening and 11 (17%) by clinical cultures. Of 85 screened HCWs, 5 (6%) were MRSA positive. WGS of MRSA isolates identified 2 large clusters (WGS groups 1 and 2), 1 small cluster (WGS group 3), and 8 unrelated isolates. PFGE failed to distinguish WGS group 2 and 3 isolates. WGS groups 1 and 2 were codistributed over time. HCW MRSA isolates were primarily in WGS group 1. New infant MRSA cases declined after implementation of the control interventions.
We identified 2 contemporaneous MRSA outbreaks alongside sporadic cases in a NICU. WGS was used to determine strain relatedness at a higher resolution than PFGE and was useful in guiding efforts to control MRSA transmission.
Small perturbations to a steady uniform granular chute flow can grow as the material moves downslope and develop into a series of surface waves that travel faster than the bulk flow. This roll wave instability has important implications for the mitigation of hazards due to geophysical mass flows, such as snow avalanches, debris flows and landslides, because the resulting waves tend to merge and become much deeper and more destructive than the uniform flow from which they form. Natural flows are usually highly polydisperse and their dynamics is significantly complicated by the particle size segregation that occurs within them. This study investigates the kinematics of such flows theoretically and through small-scale experiments that use a mixture of large and small glass spheres. It is shown that large particles, which segregate to the surface of the flow, are always concentrated near the crests of roll waves. There are different mechanisms for this depending on the relative speed of the waves, compared to the speed of particles at the free surface, as well as on the particle concentration. If all particles at the surface travel more slowly than the waves, the large particles become concentrated as the shock-like wavefronts pass them. This is due to a concertina-like effect in the frame of the moving wave, in which large particles move slowly backwards through the crest, but travel quickly in the troughs between the crests. If, instead, some particles on the surface travel more quickly than the wave and some move slower, then, at low concentrations, large particles can move towards the wave crest from both the forward and rearward sides. This results in isolated regions of large particles that are trapped at the crest of each wave, separated by regions where the flow is thinner and free of large particles. There is also a third regime arising when all surface particles travel faster than the waves, which has large particles present everywhere but with a sharp increase in their concentration towards the wave fronts. In all cases, the significantly enhanced large particle concentration at wave crests means that such flows in nature can be especially destructive and thus particularly hazardous.
The mental and physical health of individuals with a psychotic illness are typically poor. Access to psychosocial interventions is important but currently limited. Telephone-delivered interventions may assist. In the current systematic review, we aim to summarise and critically analyse evidence for telephone-delivered psychosocial interventions targeting key health priorities in adults with a psychotic disorder, including (i) relapse, (ii) adherence to psychiatric medication and/or (iii) modifiable cardiovascular disease risk behaviours.
Ten peer-reviewed and four grey literature databases were searched for English-language studies examining psychosocial telephone-delivered interventions targeting relapse, medication adherence and/or health behaviours in adults with a psychotic disorder. Study heterogeneity precluded meta-analyses.
Twenty trials [13 randomised controlled trials (RCTs)] were included, involving 2473 participants (relapse prevention = 867; medication adherence = 1273; and health behaviour = 333). Five of eight RCTs targeting relapse prevention and one of three targeting medication adherence reported at least 50% of outcomes in favour of the telephone-delivered intervention. The two health-behaviour RCTs found comparable levels of improvement across treatment conditions.
Although most interventions combined telephone and face-to-face delivery, there was evidence to support the benefit of entirely telephone-delivered interventions. Telephone interventions represent a potentially feasible and effective option for improving key health priorities among people with psychotic disorders. Further methodologically rigorous evaluations are warranted.
Gary P. Baker, Research Associate at the University of East Anglia, and a Researcher at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.,
Craig L. Lambert, Lecturer in Maritime History at the University of Southampton.,
David Simpkin, Teacher of History at Birkenhead Sixth-Form College.,
J. J. N. Palmer
Given the contribution Andrew Ayton has made to the study of late medieval military history we hope he is not surprised by the production of a Festschrift in his honour. All the editors of this volume were supervised by Andrew for their doctoral studies, and all no doubt thrashed out the general outlines to their theses in one of the infamous ‘Ayton’ meetings that regularly ran into the late evening. Andrew's enthusiasm for his subject was infectious and it is to his credit that many of his former students have gone on to publish contributions on late medieval military and naval history. The papers featured in the present volume highlight the important international impact Andrew's work has had on his students and academic colleagues.
Andrew, a native of Dorset, is in his own words ‘a country dweller at heart’ but has spent much of his working life in the big city. He studied as an undergraduate at the University of Hull in the early 1980s, during which time he undertook several modules taught by Professor John Palmer. John's module on the Hundred Years’ War in particular seems to have kindled Andrew's interest in medieval military history and military communities; it certainly began a fruitful association between two like-minded scholars which was to span some three decades until John's retirement in 2002. Andrew often visited John's home to discuss their latest research and he will be pleased to know he is remembered with some affection by John's children.
After graduating, Andrew spent a brief spell in a ‘real’ job, before returning to Hull to study for his Ph.D. under John Palmer – ‘The Warhorse and Military Service under Edward III’ – and from 1985 to 1987 Andrew was employed, alongside Virginia Davis, on John's Domesday Project. This was a role for which Andrew was particularly well equipped. He had taken John Palmer's special subject on the Domesday Book as an undergraduate, which had provided him with the essential background plus the basic computing skills – in particular related to databases – needed for the research: rare qualifications in the mid-1980s. This period, of course, included the 900th anniversary of Domesday Book, which for Andrew and Virginia entailed a frenetic year, giving lectures and demonstrations around the UK while trying to keep to a research schedule and do some work on their own account.